I used to have a drink I'd order as a joke: "I'll have a milk and Coke." Well, at Patton Maryland (5101 N Interstate Ave., 503-841-6176, pattonmaryland.com) a milk and Coke is fucking delicious. At least, it is when those two ingredients are mixed with bourbon and coffee liqueur and an assload of cinnamon. The resulting flavor bomb is called Johnny in Black, and it's the mixological equivalent of a girl from South Jersey. But despite having no interest whatsoever in being classy, it's still pretty awesome.
The bar's sort of the same way—a wood-grained box unadorned except for a map of ancient Portland and a giant light-up crown that looks as if it fell off a fast-food sign. From the same people who made Circa 33 and took over Produce Row, the bar in the former Pause space—complete with that same spacious rear patio—mostly acts as a Southern-tinged diner that, like a lot of things in the South, gets drunker and drunker as the day goes on, with a lot of $3 tallboys next to those $5.50 taps.
The food menu is Southern via Maryland, with smoked brisket and pimiento cheeseburgers prepared—we shit you not—by the great-great-great-grandson of Queen Victoria. Aside from being about 300th in line to the throne of England, chef Wesley Berger has cooked at Laurelhurst Market, Podnah's Pit and Gino's.
And so while the food doesn't knock you out of your shoes, it's a solid two steps above most pub fare, even though the pimiento cheeseburger is a little tame on flavor—trapped cold between lettuce and bun—and the deliciously fatty brisket could use a bit more in the way of smoke and bark.
Still, where you'll find me on a sunny day is on the yuuuge back patio with trashy, spicy housemade pork rinds and a whiskey drink with bacon in it.