written by Julie Lee | featured photo courtesy of McMenamins
Is there anything more romantic than taking a date to a secret restaurant for cocktails and some nosh? To nail that first impression, I’ve amassed some favorite secret restaurants around Oregon that many might not know about … until now.
It doesn’t get more hidden than this. In the new Art House of McMemamins’ freshly renovated Old St. Francis School Hotel in Bend, upstairs on the 3rd floor, behind a door that says “Broom Closet.” Through that door and next to the ice machine is a straw broom. Push that broom and you’ll find a Lilliputian cafe and bar. The McMenamins’ brothers love to surprise guests with quirky hotel features, and this hidden restaurant is a favorite.
700 NW Bond St., Bend | mcmenamins.com
It’s in the name. Atop one of the busiest restaurants in town, Toro Bravo, is a 1907 Victorian-era hall that’s rich in history. It houses a craft cocktail mecca you’ll want to linger in throughout the pending fall and winter months: Secret Society Lounge. With candlelight warming the room, vintage decor and toddies to flame a romantic fire, Secret Society seduces patrons into a relaxed trance. Its menu offers an enticing array of filling snacks, from seared Brussels Sprouts with crispy ham to gumbo with Carlton Farms andouille sausage.
116 NE Russell St., Portland | secretsociety.net
Multnomah Whiskey Library is in an unmarked location in city-center Portland, and to ensure a spot on a comfy sofa and a pour of your favorite whiskey, it helps to be a member. This cocktail phenomenon opened in 2014 and quickly became a favorite cozy, late-night hang. The wall of whiskey and other top-shelf imbibes is awe-inspiring. If not a member, get there really early or really late and put your name in, then visit The Green Room downstairs while you wait.
1124 SW Alder St., Portland | mwlpdx.com
Coffee house by day, fine coastal dining by night. The Irish Table is a hidden gem tucked discreetly behind a coffee shop and next to Cannon Beach Hardware Store and Public House. With Crystal Corbin, a Stephanie Inn Dining Room alum, at the helm, the menu is finite yet inviting, with comfort food favorites like Irish stew, shepherd’s pie, and chicken pastie. The favorite, though, is the seared steak, with curried mussels to start.
1235 S. Hemlock St., Cannon Beach | theirishtable.com
A more recently opened hidden treasure is Bible Club in Portland’s Sellwood neighborhood. While you won’t have to go through a broom closet or a dark hallway to find it, Bible Club has the feel of a prohibition era saloon, with some delicious ‘provisions’ like basil pesto mac & cheese and steak tartare. Something worth checking out soon, as the late summer warm weather lingers, is Revival: a back patio bar with entry through a fence door, showing live music a handful of September nights.
6716 SE 16th Ave., Portland | bibleclubpdx.com
Langbaan, a Thai phenomenon with a six month reservation wait that’s tucked behind the beaded wall of sister restaurant PaaDee, and Roe, moving out of its current locale behind B&T Oyster Bar and rowing itself soon into a yet to be named west side location.