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June 4th, 2014 MATTHEW KORFHAGE | Bar Reviews
 

Jackknife: Reverse Tourist Bar

clublist_4031JACKKNIFE - IMAGE: Emma Browne
     
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“This isn’t L.A.” declaims a svelte, moneyed silver fox at the bar. “Nobody’s gonna give you Portland in L.A.” His date, who is of surgically indeterminate age and culturally indeterminate name, orders dry arugula and cauliflower off-menu. Amid the West End’s new cluster of boutiques and boutique hotels, the retro-luxe stylings of Jackknife (614 SW 11th Ave., 384-2347, jackknifepdx.com), the Sentinel’s new hotel bar by the owners of Dig a Pony and Bye and Bye, seem patently designed for the city-hopping cool chasers of Los Angeles, New York and San Francisco. On weekends the bar brims with the tunnel people of Beaverton, but on a recent Sunday the bar offered an odd opportunity to view tourists as if they were animals in a zoo. Behold the Angeleno with the orange beanie, tortoise-shell glasses, Die Antwoord haircut and walrus mustache, his pressed plaid shirt buttoned up to his Adam’s apple. See, in her unnatural environment, the SoCal metalhead with Enemy Mine side-face ink to complement her eyebrow tattoos. Look out behind her for a man in full London club camo gear and a backward red baseball cap. There is never a dull moment. And the seats are quite comfortable at the cosmopolitan shitshow, with a fireplace hearth, a lovely marble bar that extends for miles, an ornate intra-building skylight and a party lounge in the back. The well drinks are a reasonable $5, while anyone ambitious with mid-to-upper-shelf calls will pay handsomely for their ambition. The snack menu is a polite pleasantry. And the Bonnie Parker cocktail ($10), meanwhile, is one of the best I’ve had in town, a balanced, comfortingly sweet, copper-cupped blend of bourbon, pecan and maple honey that actually made me gasp audibly on the first sip. As the night brings more out-of-towners, a group of hometown Portlanders steps up to the bar to pay. “Be careful,” one of them tells us upon leaving. “It’s getting squirrelly in here.”
 
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