Departure now has fierce competition in the swank rooftop lounge category.
Since opening last month on the 16th floor of the Porter Hotel, Xport Bar & Lounge (1355 SW 2nd Ave., 503-306-4800) has given Portlanders a solid backup for a space offering elevated cocktail consumption, both figurative and literal.
To that end, options are citrus-forward updates of modern standards with cheeky names that wink at a wealthy westsider's notion of "Portland." Lost Souls ($12) spikes a mellow gin, mint and cucumber base with green chartreuse and orange bitters, while the Beets Per Minute ($12) blends vodka, aquavit, lemon and beet shrub for a bright red concoction that should soon be essential summer sipping.
The food menu is a confounding blur of bar staples with heavy-handed upgrades. Tots come embellished with seasonal crab meat, but the $12 price tag makes it a hard sell for anyone who's been drinking at street level for as long as they can recall.
Still, the wrap-around patio is well worth the inflated price tag, considering noshes can be shared while lazing about in front of a fire pit or near the balcony offering primo views of Mount Hood on one side and the West Hills on the other. The clientele on a recent Friday night visit was exactly what you'd expect from a place that charges $12 for tots. But even the most diehard dive-bar devotees can appreciate the cooling sensation of a beet-and-vodka cocktail while the sun sets over real estate that's only of your dreams. Most of us will never get the chance to live at the top of the world, but it's certainly nice to be given the chance to visit once in a while.