The first thing you notice about Coopers Hall (404 SE 6th Ave., 719-7000, facebook.com/pages/Coopers-Hall) is its mammoth size. The new winepub in the industrial inner east side could double as a hangar for small blimps. Sure, at 9,600 square feet, the Hall is only one-fourth the size of Punch Bowl Social, the massive Drunkie Cheese in Pioneer Place Mall that includes a bowling alley. Still, it’s a winery bar on a scale we’ve not previously seen in Oregon.
Walk through the roll-up door and you’ll find that Kurt Huffman’s ChefStable group has done an admirable job of breaking the Hall into sip-sized spaces. Over by the shiny fermenters, forklift and wood barrels filled with fruit from Oregon’s valleys and the central coast of California, you’ll find wood picnic tables and communal high-tops with stools. Below rows of dangling white bulbs sits a long banquette and more stools. Oh, and there’s another section perched upstairs, too.
The wine program is young, but we were more impressed with the house label’s shapely 2011 pinot noir than a similar pinot from Division Winemaking, and we really loved a light and floral chardonnay. There are also a few novelties, including Alicante Bouschet, a rugged grape prized for its output during Prohibition. Much of the small and evolving menu is cooked by rotisserie. The hand-stretching pulled-pork sandwich ($10) on Texas toast needs a lot more chili vinegar sauce for my taste, while the open-faced “cow and egg” ($12) is slathered in dark-brown gravy made with that Alicante that nonetheless recalls a liquefied bouillon cube.
As a place to sip, though, the Hall is already rounding into form—and there’s still a few thousand square feet of room to grow.