Things are pretty manly at Parts & Service Bar and Grill.
The Michelada is made with Next Level’s Bad Hombre beer. The Man-Mosa—a pint glass of Cava sparkling wine and orange juice—contains a full shot of vodka. During a recent visit, two TVs on the wall played the original Point Break with closed captioning, half-regarded by a chummy group wearing jean vests and Vans.
Presumably, what brings someone to Parts & Service is a love of motorcycles, which form both the theme and décor, from the logo to the classic hog on display in the center of the room. But one need not know about choppers or hogs to fit in. This is a friendly biker bar, and the regulars are down to talk dogs, photography, even a little light politics.
If it’s not the bikes bringing you in, then it must be the smoked brisket. The bar’s chef, Sage Houser, used to work the smoker at Portland’s nationally recognized Texas barbecue cart Matt’s BBQ. That means Parts & Service could be your secret meat connection for the times when Matt’s line stretches for blocks down North Mississippi.
Houser’s brisket certainly stands on its own, though. It’s somehow both fatty and smooth—and deeply juicy. Wrapped in a corn tortilla and lightly dusted with house red and green sauce, the taste is a little piece of beef heaven. The pulled pork is also a delicious, salty mouthful, if a bit difficult to distinguish from the brisket.
By Sunday, the smoked portobellos were sold out. Bar staff on hand said most of the weekend smoking occurs on Thursday, so a visit earlier in the weekend might land some earthy caps. But they did have fried cauliflower wings for the indulgent vegan.
At $5 a taco, Parts & Service is charging finer prices than expected. It makes sense for the smoked fare, but the cocktails—while perfectly serviceable—had a hard time living up to their $10 price tag. There’s not even any vegetables or pickles in the bloody mary. Instead, the garnish is a double citrus of lime and lemon, which just feels curiously wrong. But the pour is as robust as the big salt flakes around the glass’s rim. On a revisit, beer is probably the direction to follow.
At the moment, the Parts & Service floor plan is too open to feel like a secretive dive. Rather, the bar comes off as a friendly, if expensive, neighborhood hang. There’s even a sign, home-printed but laminated, affixed outside: “Dear valued customers,” it reads. “As a courtesy to our neighbors, please refrain from revving, burnouts or speeding.”
DRINK: Parts & Service Bar and Grill, 2940 NE Alberta St., partsandservicepdx.com. 3 pm-midnight Monday-Friday, 11 am-midnight Saturday-Sunday.