written by Jen Stevenson
When the holiday euphoria fades and January digs in its dreary heels, it’s best to have a designated grey day den to retreat to, preferably one with Burnt Orange Sherry Cobbler cocktails, soft shell crab sandwiches and a single malt Scotch collection one dreams of getting snowed in with. Enter the Scotch Lodge, a peaty, piquant inner Southeast speakeasy by prized Portland bartender Tommy Klus, who mixed and muddled at Teardrop Lounge, Multnomah Whiskey Library and La Moule before opening the doors of his much-anticipated, instantly revered “cocktail bar for whisky lovers.” Nesting in the cozy, sunken space formerly occupied by beloved Biwa, the bar feels like a secret. Patrons enter via a nondescript door at the corner of SE Ash and 9th Avenue, twist to the right and down, and eventually emerge in a warm, whisky-filled womb of dark wood and gleaming marble, soft forest-green leather and whimsical floral wallpaper. The lighting is dimmed to a “date night” glow, and there are artfully placed barware and books as well as a boggling lineup of bottles, many collected by Klus over the years for his own private collection. Klus’ signature cocktail, a heady blend of scotch, cherry liqueur, sweet vermouth and amaro, perches quietly near the bottom of the cocktail list as the “Namesake,” preceded by fast favorites like the elegant Moneypenny, made with London dry gin, scotch and sea bean-infused dry vermouth. Perpendicular to the bar is chef Tim Artale’s (St. Jack, La Moule) busy open kitchen—stay for Artale’s elevated bar snacks of crispy dark gold bricks of fried brie stacked in a spiral of verjus syrup and tangles of hot dill-pickle-spiced fries with sour cream for dipping, then move on to the exquisitely plated, oft Asian-influenced “modern French” small plates. Sweet seekers are not left hanging—try the popcorn panna cotta with orange caramel or barley semifreddo with huckleberry sauce, or, if you prefer your dessert measured in drams, anything Ardbeg.
215 SE 9TH AVE.