"Tavern" made me picture the second location from Smokehouse 21 owner BJ Smith as a small, cramped space.
It's actually huge compared to its sibling, with a wall of mirrors and fancy taxidermy, and a long bar with purse hooks mounted by the stools. This big barbecue hall is filled with blasting club rap, from House of Pain to Fiddy.
The cocktail program is tavernous, though: large and serious, starting with an old fashioned that gets a smoky sweetness from maple syrup and housemade barbecue bitters. If you'd rather your drink contrast with the meaty flavors, the Love Is the Drug is a little like a piña colada with fresh pineapple, Amontillado sherry and celery bitters.
The ribs are still the best in town, and the pulled pork is finely shredded and impossibly rich, perfect in the sandwich when slathered in the house mustard sauce. The brisket is likewise impressive: smoky and well-trimmed, soft enough to tear with a fork while keeping its snap. As far as the sides go, you want mustardy fingerling potato salad and a little bowl of pork-heavy greens.
Pro tip: Deviled eggs with a piece of smoked sausage on top make for an ideal amuse-bouche.
GO: 1401 SE Morrison St., Suite 117, 971-279-4850, smokehouse21.com. 11 am-11 pm Monday-Thursday, 11 am-midnight Friday, 10 am-midnight Saturday,
10 am-11 pm Sunday. $$.