417 NW 21st Ave., 503-228-6614. 6 pm-2:30 am daily. Happy hour 6-8 pm daily: $4 beer and $3 off wine.
Tucked into what feels like should be the first-floor manager's office of an apartment building on Northwest 21st Avenue, M Bar has managed to retain the feeling of a special discovery—something others would pass by—for nearly 20 years now. The wood-grained, candlelit space is very small, and not even very efficiently laid out—meaning it's hard to imagine even 20 people inside. The banquette seating feels purpose-built for couples and close friends.
Just about everything but liquor flows at this little wine bar, including Momokawa sake, Kopke tawny port and Guinness. But the real treat comes from the extremely reasonably priced wine menu curated by owner Jeremy Campbell, a rare Advanced Sommelier on his way to completing the almost-unheard-of Master Sommelier title.
Glass pours start at $6 for reds and whites, and a glass of deep-purple Aberrant Cellars pinot noir represented the higher end of the price range at $14. The $3 off wine glasses at happy hour not only means there are $3 wine glasses, but that the apple-y Grüner Veltliner you love is only $5.
Bar story: M Bar shares its space with Sterling Coffee Roasters, although the two businesses are totally distinct and have different owners. M Bar patrons are often confused why they can't order a cappuccino when the machine is right in front of them.