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March 5th, 2014 MATTHEW SINGER | Bar Reviews
 

Luchador: Breaking Kayfabe

clublist_luchador_4018v2LUCHADOR - IMAGE: Jerek Hollender
There’s an obvious metaphor that applies to Trebol’s rebranding as Luchador (4835 N Albina Ave., 517-9347, luchadorpdx.com). Here, an unspectacular Mexican restaurant dons a mask and transforms into a loungey margarita bar. But anyone familiar with the art of lucha libre will find the comparison flimsy. In Mexico, professional wrestlers, or luchadores, are legitimate folk heroes, and their elaborate masks aren’t just theatrical disguises or gimmicks but representations of an entire identity. Dudes wear them to funerals—sometimes even their own. Luchador doesn’t have nearly that level of commitment. Really, it’s the same place with a new logo. Trebol’s Kenny Hill and new partner Justin King have adjusted the menu toward smaller plates and refocused the emphasis on cocktails. But other than the single row of wall-mounted masks, the décor is largely unchanged, and despite the addition of a maroon-colored pool table and a daily “power hour” offering $1 PBRs and tequila shots, the atmosphere is still more “pretentious dinner spot” than “laid-back watering hole.” The drinks are fine—the blood-orange margarita is fruity without being overpowering, and the chile de árbol-infused Chupacabra burns without leaving a mark—but this can’t help but feel like a missed opportunity. Portland needs a lucha libre bar (don’t ask why—it just does), but Luchador blows its highspot. Look it up, marks.
 
  • Currently 3.5/5 Stars.
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