Owned by Modest Mouse frontman Isaac Brock, the former Red Flag space on Northeast 28th is now home to intricately beaded lamps, a carved snow tiger, a lime-green wall and a psychedelic purple chandelier Brock made himself using fishing lures. Behind the bar, Brock's terrarium obsession is on full display. Poison's Rainbow is apparently named after the iridescent oil slick on street puddles—other potential names floated include Glory Hole and Magic Fucking Flute.
Unsurprisingly, it's been packed since it opened March 12. On a Friday visit, a couple walked up and down the sidewalk before finally asking, "Is this the Isaac Brock bar?"
Still, not all of the credit belongs to celebrity rubbernecking: Poison serves some of the best pizza in the city at hilariously low prices. The kitchen is manned by the people behind erstwhile Division Street pop-up (and future Dekum Street brick-and-mortar) Ranch Pizza, and they're serving thick, sweet-sauced deep-dish "quarters" that are big enough to make a hearty meal for $4.50 to $6.50. The "#4" with Italian sausage, ricotta and Mama Lil's peppers remains the classic, and it's as tasty and hearty as ever—a pizza casserole by your Sicilian grandmother.
The cocktails cost $10 or less, including a menu of $6 "scoots," mini-shots of aged rum or tequila served as boilermakers. If you get the scoot with bittersweet orange-rind liqueur Averna, it comes with a free punch in the face. ("Back of the hand or flat?" I was asked. I received neither and am still waiting.)
But even with the wealth of goofball art lining the walls, there's a certain bare-bones, almost unfinished quality to the place. According to bar partner Matt Brown, Brock will continue to obsessively dicker with the décor as time goes on, moving favored art objects in and out. And who knows? Maybe someday he'll actually call it Magic Fucking Flute.
GO: Poison's Rainbow, 344 NE 28th Ave., 503-946-8080, poisonsrainbow.com. 3 pm-2 am Monday-Friday, 11 am-2 am Saturday-Sunday.