The old-school tiki club is a hall of meat—chicken-liver toast and pineapple pork—a goofballed 1950s party platter of loosely Polynesian junk. And so the new No Bones Beach Club (3928 N Mississippi Ave., nobonesbeachclub.com), which opened in January in the tight-quartered, double-decker space that briefly housed wine restaurant Coppia, would seem to have a lot of strikes against it.
Related: Portland Has Vegan Everything
It's a Seattle-born strip-mall vegan tiki bar opening years after a tiki revival both reopened and reclosed Trader Vic's. But you know what? The world's second vegan tiki bar turns out to be utterly delightful. As much beach bar as geeky tiki, No Bones has ceilings draped in fishnets, a thatched bar, and walls smothered in Waikiki posters and hula-dancer island kitsch.
The beer menu is scrawled on a surfboard in Sharpie. The food is likewise fun-themed—bright and inventive, with crispy-fried Buffalo-sauced cauliflower ($9) that frankly bests most of the local chicken-boned competition. Tack onto that beer-battered avocado tacos ($12) and great Juanita's nachos ($12) coated in a pile of black beans and cashew sauce that doesn't hard-weld to the chips the way cheese does as it cools, and you're in a garbage-food heaven made of nuts and veg.
Among cocktails ($9-$11), the mai tai was sweet treacle, sure, but the multi-rum piña colada was viscous, sweet and lovely, and a coconut-rum Beach Thyme cocktail was pleasantly flavor-intensive. It didn't hurt that our bartender seemed to understand the spirit of the times we live in: "Since when do punks not punch Nazis?" she said, smiling. But sadly, No Bones closes bizarrely early, thatching up its doors at 10 pm on weekdays and 11 pm on weekends. Vegans need to get crunk, too. Now more than ever.