1250 NW 9th Ave., Suite 100, 503-342-7416, cooperativapdx.com. 7:30 am-9 pm Wednesday-Saturday.
New to the menu at the Pearl’s Italian market, the World Vermut Tour flight comes with three 3-ounce pours to remind drinkers that—to quote bar manager Joel Schmeck—”really killer vermouths” are made internationally and domestically. Alongside Spanish Lustau vermut rosé and Cnia Mata red vermouth, Cooperativa features Son of Man’s “Someday” vermouth. Made with the Basque-style Sagardo cider, brewed in Cascade Locks, this dry white warps the vermouth category—a category known to have few requisites other than being made with wine. The cloudy yellow bottle carries tart sips of kumquat and rhubarb.
2. Midnight Society
3341 SE Belmont St., themidnightsocietypdx.net. 4 pm-midnight Tuesday-Thursday, 4 pm-2 am Friday-Saturday.
When it’s an option, vermut de la casa is the best and cheapest vermouth choice you can make—and is assuredly the least FDA approved. Midnight Society co-owner and bartender Estanislado Orona makes two secret-menu blends. The white combines Dolin Dry and Padró & Co.’s Myrrha Blanco with saline to give the sweet and nutty mix a tang, like sour verjus. The red is a mix of Dolin and Cocchi Storico reds, set over cacao nibs for a week. The first sip is cherry cola and fudge. As it mellows on ice, clove and banana come out.
3. Speed-o Cappuccino
402 SE Martin Luther King Jr. Blvd., 503-754-4371, speed-o-cappuccino.business.site. 7:30 am-5 pm Monday-Friday, 10 am-4 pm Saturday-Sunday.
In the summer, most of Speed-o Cappuccino’s staff served drip coffee and Spanish cortados (a cappuccino that’s equal parts espresso and milk), wearing hot pink crop tops and booty shorts. The cart’s brunch menu is equally bright and colorful enough to wake up diners or restore them after a long night at neighboring Coffin Club. The Glory Bowl toast plate’s smorgasbord of peanut butter, banana slices, almond granola, coconut shavings, cocoa nibs and honey are the sweetest breakfast sex pun south of Voodoo Doughnut.
4. Black Rose Market
6732 NE Martin Luther King Jr. Blvd., 503-894-9698, instagram.com/blackrosemarket_woodlawn. 9 am-11 pm Monday-Wednesday, 9 am-11:30 pm Thursday, 9 am-12:30 pm Friday-Saturday, 10 am-10 pm Sunday.
At North Portland’s Black Rose Market, owners Keith and Kirin Johns make shelf talkers—similar to the notes you see on the stacks at Powell’s—with handwritten information about some of the products they carry. The notes point out that a Flying Embers hard kombucha donates money to aid fire relief, that Joyroot Tea is Black-owned and brewed in the Pacific Northwest, and that Premium Northwest’s “PNW” lager is Keith Johns’ favorite, an honor given to only one beer in the shop. Brewed in Johns’ hometown of Tukwila, Wash., by a two-man team, it’s a beer Johns stakes his reputation on as “better and cheaper than Rainier.”
6031 SE Stark St., 503-432-8121, instagram.com/bellwetherbarco. 4-11 pm daily.
The climb up Southeast Stark Street to 60th Avenue is steep. But that just makes the little pub at the top of the hill tastier for the effort. From the hazy, romantic back patio to the roaring front room, Bellwether feels like a pub that fell into the world fully formed. The cocktails are named in an egalitarian manner, numbered from 1 to 8. The 1 is perfect for a sunny day: rye whiskey, sweet vermouth, cranberry grenadine and salt, served with a curled lemon rind. Not overly sweet, the tangy little number is like a loud, talkative friend whose energy you can’t help but find cheerful.