Tomorrow is the 80th anniversary of the repeal of Prohibition. In honor of this day the Mystery Playground team has been visiting modern speak easy bars all over the United States. Today Kerry Hammond tells us about her visit to the Teardrop in Portland.
I just got back from a wonderful visit to Portland, Oregon. While there, my husband and I explored the shops, drank, ate, then drank some more. Portland is known for its micro-breweries, coffee shops, and local wines. With a theme of drinking our way through the city, we decided to check out a speakeasy and see what sort of cocktail scene we could find. As with the city’s beer, coffee, and wine, we were not disappointed.
We stayed in the downtown area, so chose Teardrop Cocktail Lounge for its location in Portland’s trendy Pearl District, also known as The Pearl. As soon as we walked in, we knew we would enjoy it. The bartender stood in the center of the main room, enclosed in a circular bar area with seating all around. Small tables were set in the perimeter, where you could enjoy subdued candlelight while listening to the lounge’s cool jazz blending of modern songs.
We were approached by a soft spoken, well dressed man who inquired what he could get us to drink. My husband chose a drink from the menus he is very fond of rye whiskey. His 23 Skidoo was described on the drinks list as “deep, savory & rich.” It contained James E. Pepper 1776 rye, cherry digestif, demerera, Angustura & orange bitters.
Instead of ordering off the menu, I told the waiter that I liked gin drinks, cucumbers and nothing too sweet. He immediately told me he would take care of it, and returned with a Green Thumb. My drink was a mix of gin, muddled cucumber, lemon, lime, and ginger beer.
Both drinks were not only excellent, but were exactly suited to each of our cocktail tastes. We didn’t order food, but I did notice that the menu, although small, contained enough items on it satisfy any craving. The choices all sounded tasty, and were of the cheese plate variety as opposed to fried cheese sticks.
If you’re in the Portland area, I would highly recommend toasting to the repeal of prohibition this Thursday at the Teardrop.
What are Speakeasies?
Speakeasies were secret bars that sprang up when alcohol was outlawed in the United States in 1919.
Most speakeasies were housed in unmarked locations, many required a password to get in and some may have moved from place to place to stay ahead of the law. Many think the name came from patrons being told to "speakeasy" or to lower their voices so no one suspected they were serving alcohol. Today, there are many modern speakeasy bars that retain some of these traditions. They usually feature fresh ingredients in their food and drink, in discreet locations that lack signage. Some model the decor after the periods and some require passwords. You can read about Mystery Playground's other speakeasy adventures here.