Co-owner Victor Martinez with some natural wine
Co-owner Victor Martinez with some natural wine

(Psst! This is the second part of a short series on Portland's new wine bars.—eds.)

I always liked the idea of Ardor, a natural wine bar run by two enthusiasts who took over the Red E Café in the twilight hours. The space was ill fitting, though. Too large and, well, coffee-shop like, it lacked the right (any?) ambiance.

They left the Red E a while ago and I knew they'd been looking for a permanent home. They’ve got one now, and it’s rather different than what I was expecting. It sits in the back of a women’s clothing store—which is one way to give a place a real secret, speakeasy feel. It probably wins for being the most unusual bar/bottle shop space in Portland.

The small room packs in a lot of wine (200-odd bottles), though the size does mean it’s primarily set up for to-go purchases. There’s a great selection of natural wines from around the world and if you need help, or don’t even know what natural wine is, co-owner Victor Martinez is on hand to explain in layperson’s terms.

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There are a few stools at a counter and the bar should be getting their on-premise license at the beginning of June, but it’s more for tasting rather than rowdy late nighters.

729 SE Morrison, ardornaturalwines.com