1451 SE Ankeny St., 503-841-8345, chandelierbarpdx.com. 4-11 pm Tuesday-Thursday, 4 pm-midnight Friday-Saturday, 4-10 pm Sunday. Happy hour 4-6 pm Tuesday-Sunday: $8 rotating sake cocktails, $6 house sake and sake bombs, $14 four-pour educational flights.
In the darkness of a red-curtained room that looks like the Black Lodge in Twin Peaks, Chandelier owner Matthew Ellis, the former Multnomah Whiskey Library bartender, is pouring a junmai genshu sake he says tastes like cheese. Miraculously, it does: a pure distillation of gooey Brie. Meanwhile, an heirloom red-rice sake called "Ine's Full Bloom" tastes like porcini mushrooms and smoked fruit; it's made by one of Japan's first female brewers in the modern age. Another sake is infused with plum, while yet another tastes precisely like cocoa nibs despite containing no chocolate. Ellis has milked connections gained by living in Japan, reverentially telling the story of each esoteric, rarely seen sake as he pours it into mismatched stemware. His menu is devoted to finding bottles at the outer edges of what sake can taste like—magic tricks every bit as surprising as the infinity mirror on the room's back wall, which seems to be a window into a tunneled abyss.