You know it's a good sign when you go someplace for work and end up staying for hours—that's what happened on my first visit to the perplexingly named Southeast joint North Bar. It looks a bit sterile, as the nondescript storefront and silver-rimmed windows could indicate a doctor's office as easily as a hipster enclave. But walls painted in warm earth tones and primo thrift-store finds like golden fish-shaped planters, a light-up elk and landscape paintings grouped by theme (ocean, mountain, wildlife) make North Bar feel a bit like a Portlandized lodge. There's even worn wooden booths and those quintessential rippled-red-glass candleholders. And the comfort doesn't stop there: The 'tenders are super-friendly (and skilled—the made-to-order Manhattans were some of the best in town); the juke carries classics like Van Morrison and Fleetwood Mac, the usual indie-rock suspects, and local surprises like Sexton Blake's Plays the Hits!; and the menu is nice and cheesy, from nachos and quesadillas to three-cheese panini (get a whiff and just try not to order one). Southeast 50th Avenue just got a little cozier—directional challenges notwithstanding.
Perfect Patron: Laid-back lover of lowbrow art. (AGM)