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December 4th, 2013 MATTHEW KORFHAGE | Bar Reviews
 

Oso Market: Bear Necessities

clublist_oso_4005OSO MARKET - IMAGE: Bethlayne Hansen
Just down the road from Hawks PDX sex club and My Father’s Place, Oso Market + Bar (726 SE Grand Ave., 232-6400, osomarket.com) joins Enso, Clay Pigeon and Sauvage wine bars at the frontier of gentrification in Portland’s Central Eastside Industrial District. But unlike those locally focused wine haunts, former House Spirits distiller Colin Howard takes his bottle bar on a discriminating tour of old Europe, with wine served in the generous stemware favored by home tipplers who down half a bottle with dinner. A well-selected beer case includes the Commons’ black-currant Biere Royale and VanderGhinste oud bruin. The bar’s train-car space is brightly lit, neutral-toned and by-the-numbers upmarket Portland—right down to the ubiquitous interior light-bulby “OSO” sign. Its market shelves are packed with three brands of local salumi, high-end vermouths and raw-milk cheese. The sound system, inexplicably, played KC and the Sunshine Band, and a recent weekend crowd was an interesting mix of early adopters: a blonde clubgoer who slurred that the bartender should tell her about “all the free tastings,” a couple hugging while dressed in identical black puffy North Face jackets, and a suave-looking Indian man in zip-up fleece holding court over a table of well-to-do women in their 50s. Which is to say: It looked a lot like Northwest 23rd Avenue, but with much better taste in drinks. 
 
  • Currently 3.5/5 Stars.
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