Clyde Common's Nate Tilden partied at Bar Casa Vale (215 SE 9th Ave., 503-477-9081, barcasavale.com) a long time before you did.

Way back when the new sherry-happy, brick-walled Spanish bar was the green room for old-guard music venue La Luna, Tilden was apparently there knocking back Peeber from a tub with Everclear's Art Alexakis. But as idyllic as that sounds, Casa Vale is a whole lot better.

(Thomas Teal)
(Thomas Teal)

In the backside of the Biwa building, Tilden and a whole mess of partners have made an intimate, upscale tapas spot tinted with firelight, where chef Louis Martinez (Imperial, Clyde Common) is already making some of the finest wood-fired grill meats in town.

(Thomas Teal)
(Thomas Teal)

Piri piri wings ($9) and a thick tendril of octopus ($12) both come spice-rubbed and charred on the outside with juicy, tender meatiness within and a light whiff of smoke.

(Thomas Teal)
(Thomas Teal)

There are sit-down tables, sure—little third-date tables by the wall-to-wall windows. But the spirit of the place is at the two long bars. One is an elbow wrap of hardwood with a slab of jamón ibérico de bellota perched atop one end, the other a Spanish-style standing bar that Portlanders may or may not figure out how to use.

(Thomas Teal)
(Thomas Teal)

The wine and sherry list is deep, but so's the cocktail list, which includes a $10 Bourbon Reign deepened with both fig and red wine, and a light sherry "cobbler" ($9) mixing medium-dry amontillado with a bit of lemon and sugar. The taps kick out Basque Sarasola Sagardoa sidra and Spanish and Belgian beers alongside a rotating Pfriem of the month (just the wrong side of pricey at $6).

(Thomas Teal)
(Thomas Teal)

Really, Casa Vale is the kind of dim, drunky, comfortably hip tapas and cocktail bar the town's been missing since the day Collosso sank to the bottom of Northeast Broadway.

(Thomas Teal)
(Thomas Teal)