After Suzy Day, Mike Hanson and Patty Earley of Team Evil Inc., all former McMenamins employees, spent nearly a year searching for loungey digs in Portland, they bought a building on North Killingsworth Avenue, just east of Portland Community College's Cascade campus, and several months later opened their retro Florida Keys-themed bar.
"Patty grew up in Clearwater, and I have family in Florida. The whole space is basically thrown together with our combined vintage bar swag that's been gathering dust in our basements," says Day. Well, that swag must smell sweet to a fair few, because the Florida Room is filling its blood-red, shiny booths with bar-hopping couch surfers nightly.
Just before you walk through the doors, a window of busty beercan art greets you, while colorful hanging lamps, two pinball machines and an eclectic jukebox (banning Elton John and James Taylor) paint the scene inside.
The Florida Room has quickly gained a reputation for weekend deliverance with its Church of the Bloody Mary and Hangover Brunch ($3-$4). Here breakfast potatoes are tater tots, fried dough comes à la Voodoo Doughnut, and Bloody Marys ($4-$7.50) are mercifully slaughtered in several styles—spiked with tequila, garnished with smoked oysters, speared with pickled okra—and served in pint glasses with or without salt.
Daily menu items include a slew of sandwiches, salads and finger foods. Sweet and slightly spicy Jamaican jerk wings ($7), salty, dough-wrapped Little Smokies ($5) and deep-fried avocado ($5) are all tasty and popular. In contrast, the insanely sweet slushy drinks, such as blended mojitos and piña coladas, are clearly for those without fillings in their mouths. Unless you regularly down shots of syrup, stick with cocktails on the rocks, beer or wine.
Team Evil's timing is spot-on, since the trio's former employer McMenamins is planning to open its newest venture, a funeral-home-turned brewpub, in the Little Chapel of the Chimes building just across the street later this fall. Now folks can go to the Florida Room and retire—without worrying about a place to rest.
Florida Room, 435 N Killingsworth St., 287-5658. 4 pm-2 am Monday-Friday. Noon-2 am Saturday-Sunday. $