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November 28th, 2012 MATTHEW SINGER | Bar Reviews
 

Whey Bar: Wheyting Room

clublist_wheybar_3904WHEY BAR - IMAGE: rosnaps.com
     
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Waiting is an intrinsic part of Portland life. Drive past either Salt & Straw location, at practically any time of day, in any sort of weather, and there will be a line stretching around the side of the building, full of folks who don’t mind standing in the rain for an hour to sample a cone of the new Deer Blood and Arugula Swirl. Getting up for Sunday brunch means allocating at least 45 minutes for gathering with your party on the sidewalk outside the cafe, clenching in anticipation every time the server grabs the sign-in sheet. It’s hard to tell if Portlanders are just patient people, or if we’re easily fooled into believing the best things are those that take forever to get a seat for. Either way, it was only a matter of time before local restaurateurs opened spin-off establishments where they can send waiting customers. Pok Pok has Whiskey Soda Lounge, and now Ox has Whey Bar (2225 NE Martin Luther King Jr. Blvd., 284-3366, oxpdx.com). Originally meant to be a private dining room, the converted storage shed resembles a rustic hospital lobby, with firewood and Edison lamps lining the walls, and serves as a staging area for patrons who’ve got 90 minutes to kill before going H.A.M. on a ribeye. Unlike Whiskey Soda Lounge, it’s a bit too small and hidden away to stand on its own as a bar, but that doesn’t mean the drinks are an afterthought. There are $9 shots of barrel-aged Fernet and cocktails named the Dirty Agnes (vodka, dry vermouth, pickle juice) and Devil in a New Dress (tequila, red pepper, orange liqueur, lime, mezcal). You don’t need an excuse to drop even more money at Ox—and it’s not like anybody wouldn’t endure the long waits without it—but as a prelude to the headliner, Whey is a worthy opening act. 

 
  • Currently 3.5/5 Stars.
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