Like chocolate and peanut butter, Mary Kate and Ashley, or Twitter and bad hot takes, Buddy's Lounge has brought another iconic duo to Portland: booze and boba tea.
Located at Southeast Harrison Street and 82nd Avenue in the best little strip mall in town, Buddy's Lounge closed for a portion of the pandemic. But when cocktails to go were finally approved, owners Brian Jiang and Neil Chan built an entire drink menu around the famous Taiwanese treat.
Jiang told Eater Portland that he traveled to Taiwan himself to learn how to make the perfect boba tea, and it shows. Some of the fruity flavors stray a bit sweet, but classic cocktails like the greyhound also get a nod with vodka and rainbow jellies.
The best so far is also the classic: milk tea boba—black tea, milk and chewy tapioca balls—with a kick of whiskey for just $8. Served with its usual wide straw, the typical sealed plastic cup that boba usually comes with makes it the ideal takeout container, and the drink stays cool long enough to make it home without getting watered down. Subtly sugary, with just the right amount of chew to the tapioca, this is the kind of drink that would sneak up on you if you had more than one.
Buddy's sells $3 nachos to make the state liquor commission happy, but the clutch move would be to make a smorgasbord of the strip mall: succulent barbecue duck from Yang Kee BBQ Noodle, pho ga from Teo Bun Bo Hue, and a curry beef shao-bing from Pot & Spicy, with that boozy boba for dessert.
ORDER: Buddy's Lounge, 8220 SE Harrison St., Unit 125, 971-288-5186, buddys-lounge.business.site. 1-11 pm daily.