Multnomah Whiskey Library1124 SW Alder St Portland, OR 97205 Downtown Portland
(503) 954.1381 - Visit Website - Facebook
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BarFly's Review of Multnomah Whiskey Library
The Multnomah Whiskey Library crowds have thinned since the breathless wave of buzz surrounding their 2013 debut forced unprecedented waits for seating. Yet their particular brand indures, and still attracts curious patrons of a certain age and income bracket otherwise absent midtown watering holes. Midwestern couples gawp the faux-Victoriana bric-a-brac. Florid and overfed in the muted pastels of executive leisurewear, jocular golf buddies poke through a voluminous liquor menu. The MWL, in other words, relies upon a steady stream of affluent newcomers unfamiliar with Multnomah County – and, we suspect, libraries in general.
But, lord, the bar does have whiskey! Housing some 1,500 bottles with special emphasis upon the world's bourbons, scotches, and whiskeys, every facet of the venture augments a taste of the brown: top-notch food ordered around appropriate liquor pairings arrives through hidden wall panels; trays are cut from aging barrels, and even the hanging portraits—commissioned by local artists—depicts patron saints of the favored tipple.
Moreover, despite a legitimately daunting array of possibilities peaking at $1,500-a-glass vintage Macallan, a healthy pour of their Buffalo Trace 'well' only sets you back $7. Still, the line between design flourishes and themed-pub attractions remains slight, and all the manufactured old-world swellegance belies a certain infantilazation of adult pursuits. You can buy a membership to the library and enjoy preferential treatment for $600 (the equivalent of a four-month Comcast bill, for you and me).
The $25 charge for reservations has been dubbed a “Hall Pass” and servers purportedly continue a weekly study group. As with lending libraries the world over, MWL's sheer pomp and enthusiasm may well aid browsers just beginning to cultivate a thirst, but there's surely better places to curl up around a good bottle.
Mon-Thur 4-midnight; Fri-Sat 4-1
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