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April 30th, 2014 MATTHEW KORFHAGE | Bar Reviews
 

Bar Review: River Pig Saloon

River Berkshire Pig

clublist_riverpig_4026RIVER PIG SALOON - IMAGE: Natalie Behring

If Restoration Hardware opened a Western-themed bar, it would look a lot like River Pig Saloon (529 NW 13th Ave., 971-266-8897, riverpigsaloon.com). Billed in its press materials as a gritty throwback to the Pearl District’s blue-collar past, the bar’s a bit more like the self-conscious warehouse gutting and rehabbing of the nearby Wieden+Kennedy office: an airy, hard-wooded, brick-and-wallpaper museum of barroom slate, chainsaw and piano parts, with elk and antelope taxidermy far larger than an eastside bar could afford unless they shot the bucks themselves. Avoid the tedious $10 dry-rubbed Cajun wings in favor of a massive buffalo burger for about the same price, or slum with terrific $4 herbed curly fries or an $8 plate of poor man’s comfort—shit on a shingle–with a $12 single-barrel Four Roses bourbon. The tops are cutely styled after Old West card tables, though the relaxed after-office crowds sitting around them look more likely to shoot Instagrams of the antique cash register than well tequila. But while the bar is nowhere near “gritty,” it is a handsome and immensely useful neutral ground in a neighborhood that can feel like a desert to somebody who just wants a casual drink after work. The bar offers a massive flat-screen TV without being a sports bar, a solid whiskey list, $5 pints of craft beer and very little pretension despite the obvious money that went into working the place over. And who knows? Maybe shoe designers and account managers are Portland’s lumber workers of today. After all, they dress the same.

 
  • Currently 3.5/5 Stars.
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