In attempting to summon cool, Streetcar Bistro and Taproom (1101 NW Northrup St., 227-2988, streetcarbistro.com) might have looked a bit farther than our city's much-loathed covered moving sidewalk. But then again, cool may not be the goal of this Pearl District outpost, which on my visit played soundless infomercials for Carol Burnett DVD sets, and on the stereo switched between smooth jazz and Carly Rae Jepsen. With its padded white vinyl seats, pale exposed wood and brightly lit shelves lined with liquor, Streetcar Bistro recalls an airport bar—the sort of a place you visit out of convenience, boredom and the indiscrimination born of exhaustion. The 30-strong tap list is respectable, but the beer cocktails disappoint. The Apocalypse Now (gin, lemon juice and Aperol, topped with 10 Barrel Apocalypse IPA), designed by local beer cocktail booster Jacob Grier, was watery, and the Stout Sangaree (stout, simple syrup, ruby port, cinnamon and nutmeg) lacked complexity. If you've got 20 minutes to kill before that pokey streetcar arrives, there are worse ways to spend it than inside these polished walls, but otherwise, wait until the next train.
Rebecca Jacobson is a writer from Portland (OK, she was born in Seattle but has been in Oregon since the day after she turned 10) who's also lived in Berlin, Malawi and Rhode Island. While on staff at Willamette Week, she covered theater, film, bikes, drug dealers-turned-barbers and little-known scraps of local history.