Whether the name is meant to acknowledge it or not, Local Celebrity (820 N Russell St., 503-850-8444, thelocalcelebrity.com) exists between some formerly famous walls. When it opened at the dark end of North Russell Street in 2001, previous occupant Mint helped usher in the craft cocktail era through the innovations of Lucy Brennan, one of the true celebrities of Portland bartending.
New owner Daniel Leussler doesn't have quite the same reputation—his claim to any level of fame is the local music performance series Killingsworth House, which he films in his basement—but his aspirations for the place appear far more modest, anyway. While he kept the vinyl booths, curved concrete bar and exposed brick walls, the new vibe is more casual clubhouse than swanky mixology lab, with four pinball machines occupying a sunken nook at the back of the main bar area, a stage in the small adjoining room for weekend concerts and a patio that probably won't get much use for the next eight months.
You can still get cocktails, including a $6 caipirinha, the national drink of Brazil, but beer pairs better with the various rice bowls coming out of the kitchen. It's a fine hangout, if fairly nondescript. With McMenamins' White Eagle Saloon already filling the demand for a half-venue, half-bar under the Fremont Bridge, the best-case scenario for Local Celebrity seems to be as a pre-game MAX stop on the way to Moda Center during Blazer season. But there are certainly worse fates than that. Fame isn't for everyone, after all.