Rarely is a bar so obviously the product of its owner's dreams as Bar Alla Bomba (1101 E Burnside St., 971-266-8756, barallabomba.com). The bar was at a very low simmer during a recent Thursday happy hour—a crowd the bartender says was larger than the entire previous night. The newly minted bar is in a location thought to be cursed, home to four bars in about six years. "I feel like if I stay true to my vision, my customers will find me," he says, staring wistfully across the bar and out the windows. The vision? A night in Venice filled with summery, bittersweet cocktails and cicchetti: little Italian bar snacks and mini-panini. On a cold winter night, the vision seemed distant. The bar's architecture takes its personality mostly from its beautiful rock-cobbled bar top, made with stones culled from demolitioned Northwest Portland streets. But the small-plates menu is surprisingly cheap and faithful to its Venetian model, featuring $2-to-$6 dishes of boar sausage, salt cod or baby octopus in squid ink. The Italian cocktail menu—a world of Aperol, Campari and sweet vermouth—is much more expensive, ranging up to $12. I'd advise arriving for happy hour (4-7 pm), which features a $5 bartender's choice.