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April 9th, 2014 REBECCA JACOBSON | Bar Guide
 

Bar Guide 2014: Pepe Le Moko

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(NEW!) Pepe Le Moko

407 SW 10th Ave., 546-8537, pepelemokopdx.com. 4 pm-2 am daily.

For a bar that barely announces its presence—just a plain storefront, the name in cursive on the window—Pepe Le Moko arrived with a near-cacophonous buzz after a long wait to open. The spot, in the basement of the Ace Hotel and co-owned by Nate Tilden, sports paint-chipped walls hanging with tiny sepia triptychs of alluring women in various states of undress—the most obvious nod to the 1937 French gangster film that is Pepe’s namesake. It was like being in an airplane, lit by the red glow of the exit sign. Be careful about ordering off-menu—it’s $16 for a Plymouth gin and tonic, which comes as a natural double. But big-shot bartender Jeffrey Morgenthaler’s goal here is to revive long-maligned drinks. There’s a $13 Long Island iced tea, an impeccably well-mixed Amaretto sour ($14) and an espresso martini ($11) dressed up with a zingy dash of lemon oil. The Grasshopper ($11) is like an alcoholic Junior Mint, a boozy milkshake of creme de menthe and creme de cacao, ice cream, Fernet and sea salt. REBECCA JACOBSON.

 
  • Currently 3.5/5 Stars.
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