Tuesday, July 24, 2012


Looking into the Secret Society
Portland, Oregon, July 22, 2012—
ONE DOES NOT LIVE on bread (or lardo) alone; one must from time to time drink. This is a fine eating town, but it is equally fine when it comes to drinking. The kids — I mean by that our grandchildren living here — have a favorite place, and we spent a little time this last evening here.

You go up a flight of stairs to the second floor of what must a century ago have been a local social-club building, now housing a good neighborhood restaurant on the ground floor. At the top of the stairs, a landing big enough for a couple of love-seats and a low table, in case you need to wait for a table in the bar — very likely: it's small, and popular.

The bar is short but well stocked, and there are six or eight tables to sit at, in proper and comfortable wooden chairs: you may want to linger.

From the list of house cocktails it took only a moment to decide on the Hankypanky: Gin (sorry: don't recall the brand), Antica Formula Vermouth, Fernet Branca, with a goodsized twist, served up.

This was truly delicious, with the ingredients in perfect balance, and our conversation was fascinating, so I had another.

• The Secret Society, 116 NE Russell St., Portland; tel. 503-493-3600

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