At face value, Tiny Bubble Room looks like a craft beer taproom verging on dive-y, but the painstakingly restored bar has so many more layers than that. The name was carried over from the lounge of the previous tenant of 50+ years, Lung Fung Chinese restaurant. The original signage and facade of the restaurant has also been preserved—with some minor tweaks and a fresh coat of paint—paying homage to the building’s history.
Co-owners Jeremy Lewis and Quyen Ly opened Tiny Bubble Room *the new and improved version* in October 2020. The pair also own the Montavilla gem Roscoe’s, and with Bubble Room, they’re wanting to provide the same kind of low key watering hole/beer nerd destination/community meeting point for the Kenton, Arbor Lodge, and Mock’s Crest neighborhoods. This summer, Ly plans to introduce his sushi bar Miyamoto in the adjacent space which housed the original Tiny Bubble Room lounge.
General/bar manager Jeremy Mielen is an industry vet with 30 years of experience; he ran the bar at Cassidy’s back in the day and helped launch Interurban. His most recent position was bar director at Tasty n Alder/Daughters and Toro Bravo. Mielen assisted with the dissolution of the restaurants after the crumble of John Gorham’s once proud empire. In addition to bringing Mielen on board, Tiny Bubble Room purchased the remainder of Tasty’s extensive stock of liquor.
Many of the menu’s cocktail selections are Mielen’s twists on Savoy Cocktail Book (the bible of booze was first published in 1930) recipes. The menu’s anchor is the “Improved Whiskey Cocktail”: on tap, a steal at a mere $7, and a throwback. Like way back—it was published in How to Mix Drinks: Or, the Bon-Vivant’s Companion in 1862. Cocktails change out every couple weeks to keep pace with the beer list, which features a lot of exclusive and limited-run beers. On the wine side, Mielen has curated a selection that are all sustainably farmed or biodynamic.
Keeping on theme with the bar’s name, I was compelled to get a cocktail that contained tiny bubbles. Mielen explains that the original recipe for the “Tantalus Royale” calls for brandy, but here he has swapped it out for Control C pisco, and added sparkling wine. With the addition of combier pamplemousse, lemon, and orange bitters, the cocktail is light, bright, and made for sipping in the sunshine. I didn’t really find any stand out flavors in the “Royale,” but it was an effervescent delight all the same.
On TBR’s sizable patio, patrons are able to space out comfortably, either at picnic tables under a large tent, or in more private pods built out of shipping containers. In a stroke of fortuity, the concept had actually been planned out pre-COVID. Co-owner Jeremy Lewis had been inspired by his visit to a Las Vegas venue that set-up their coffee, wine, and whiskey bars in shipping containers. The bar plans to retrofit one of the containers to use as a pop-up space for tap takeovers.
Contained in a personal metal box, I decided to enjoy my cocktail on-site. Side note: When taken to-go, Tiny Bubble’s cocktails come in cute li'l vessels that resemble hot sauce bottles. The blackened catfish radicchio Caesar salad I had along side my cocktail was radicc-ulously good (I’m not a parent, but I still bring the dad jokes). Another Tasty alum (formerly their chef de cuisine), Jacob Mitchell runs the main kitchen, putting his touch on Southern favorites like jambalaya and po’boys.
Tiny Bubble Room, 2025 N Lombard, (503) 208-2660, tinybubbleroom.com