4057 N Mississippi Ave., 503-284-6669, interurbanpdx.com. 3 pm-2:30 am Monday-Friday, 10 am-2:30 am Saturday-Sunday. Happy hour 3-6 pm Monday-Friday and 3 pm-close Sunday: $4 imperial pints, excellent $5 cocktails and $5 corn dog bites.
Established: December 2011
Interurban has recently come into its own as a roundly excellent gastropub with top-tier draft beer, excellent cocktails and food that pairs well with both. Chef Jonny Henry's small menu at this "publican's table" is mostly the same stuff you find at others like it—roasted bone marrow, crab cakes, steak frites, salad topped with blue cheese and hazelnuts—but it's the first and only place in Portland to do it on the level you find at places like Denver's Euclid Hall. An early-fall visit found the kitchen assembling a simple but exquisite salad from ultra-ripe heirloom tomatoes, a fat dollop of maple-smoked chèvre, tissue-paper-thin slivers of salty fatback and sweet, nutty Banyuls vinegar ($10).
Dinner spot by day, it's a packed meat market and drinker's paradise at night. After all, the rotating beer list is fantastic, and the cocktails are better. Interurban does one of the best Old-Fashioneds ($10) in town and is equally passionate about other classics, like an Applejack Fix made with Laird's and Combier orange ($10) and a version of the storied old gin-and-vermouth cocktail known as the Lone Tree, here made with Hayman's Old Tom and both Dolin dry and Cinzano Rosso ($10). Or just pair rainbow trout with artisanal Jell-O shots ($3, jiggly G&Ts on our visit) and apologize to no one.
Bar story: This premium pub grub spot opened on North Mississippi Avenue at the end of 2011 under the ownership of John Gorham, Kurt Huffman and Dan Hart. Gorham has two Restaurant of the Year plaques; Huffman owns a piece of about a dozen high-profile spots. And yet the place didn't come into its own until Hart took over solo.
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