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December 19th, 2012 12:01 am MATTHEW KORFHAGE | Bar Reviews

Cathedral Park Kitchen: Ginned-Up Cafe

clublist_cathedralpark_3907CATHEDRAL PARK KITCHEN - IMAGE: James Rexroad

In a no-frills space designed as a lunchroom for office workers at the old Columbia Sportswear factory in St. Johns, an odd surprise: some of the best cocktails in Portland. Cathedral Park Kitchen (6635 N Baltimore Ave., 946-8426, cathedralparkkitchen.com) owner-bartender Chris Bollenbacher was a bar manager at Serafina and Cicchetti restaurants in Seattle before moving south with the intention of starting a distillery. “We still need to get a new money guy,” Bollenbacher says, after sharing a wisp of his own gin’s test batch, a hot-running number with earthy aromatics. Open late only on weekends, Cathedral Park Kitchen looks less like a bar than the parlor room of a dentist uncle who went a little crazy for highbrow booze, with a cocktail-book library, jars of garnishes and a stacked liquor display boasting obscure modern luxuries such as 12-year Zaya rum and iris-infused gin. Bollenbacher, a liquor history enthusiast, also reaches back into the 1800s with a tart and frothy Ramos Gin Fizz ($9) and perhaps the smoothest—almost pillowy, even—martini I’ve had that doesn’t betray the form, an Old World Martini ($10) with Martin Miller’s Westbourne gin, Noilly Prat vermouth and orange bitters. The balcony has views of the church-gothic St. Johns Bridge, while indoors is a shrine to eloquent inebriation. 

  • Currently 3.5/5 Stars.
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