Paydirt is a bar without a kitchen.
In normal times at the Zipper, the corrugated food hall on Northeast Sandy Boulevard, it provides the beer and whiskey, while such mini-restaurants as Basilisk, Tight Tacos and Boxcar Pizza offer sustenance. But that model doesn't work for to-go cocktails—state liquor regulations require the business slinging drinks to offer a "substantial meal" with every one to two servings of alcohol.
Thus, the "complimentary cheese sandwich."
Paydirt's House Old Fashioned ($9)—Old Taylor bourbon with bitters and sugar, plus an orange twist and "fancy cherry"—is made to order, funneled into 4-ounce brown glass bottles, and accompanied by two pieces of pillowy white bread concealing a single slice of American, with nary a pickle, condiment or vegetable in sight. The cheese is almost certainly "pasteurized processed cheese food," though owner Ezra Ace Caraeff declines to comment on the sourcing.
"A good chef doesn't reveal their secrets," he says, "but it's definitely the whitest of white breads and the yellowest of pre-sliced cheeses."
An old fashioned showcases the whiskey, with subtle differences in how the aromatics and sweetness play with different proofs and mash bills. Paydirt also makes the cocktail with 100-proof Early Times Bottled-in-Bond ($10), Old Overholt rye ($10) or, if you're feeling extra-bougie, Weller Reserve Single Barrel ($16), which was hand-selected by the staff of Paydirt and its sister bar, the Old Gold.
"We figured we might as well do one drink that you can't get anywhere else," Caraeff says. "Also, I'm of the opinion that wheated whiskey like Weller makes the best old fashioneds."
GET IT: Paydirt, 2724 NE Pacific St., 503-908-3217, paydirtbar.com. 4-9 pm Wednesday-Saturday.