Salem Is Getting Its Very Own Pacific Standard, the Popular Ground-Level Bar at Kex

The sister location will be located in the new Hilton Holman Riverfront Park Hotel.

Rare is the Salem spinoff of a Portland bar or restaurant, whether that’s because of distance or owner apathy toward our capital city has yet to be determined. But two renowned bartenders are bucking that trend and launching a second location of Pacific Standard 46 miles to the south.

Today, Jeffrey Morgenthaler and Benjamin “Banjo” Amberg announced that they would open a sister bar to the one at upscale hostel Kex inside the Holman Riverfront Park Hotel. The Hilton property, located at 195 Commercial St. SE, is currently under construction and situated near several tourist and business destinations, like the Salem Convention Center and Riverfront City Park, which should draw business to both the hotel and the bar.

Morgenthaler and Amberg have a long history of operating watering holes inside lodging establishments. Before opening Pacific Standard on Kex’s ground floor and the Sunset Room on the rooftop, Morgenthaler ran the beverage programs for Clyde Common and Pépé le Moko at Ace Hotel and Amberg was the bar manager at Clyde Common.

“At Pacific Standard, both the food and the cocktails are rooted in the classics, specifically inspired by the world’s great hotel bars throughout history,” Morgenthaler stated in a press release. “Some of our takes, like the Castroville Artichoke and Draft Michelada, are odes to my California roots. Our beers and wines will be from the many small, local producers we’ve developed relationships with over our decades running bars in Portland and Eugene, and will almost exclusively all be served on draft.”

The Salem Pacific Standard will be located just off of the hotel lobby and feature an expanded menu—also designed by Amberg and Morgenthaler—with many of the popular dishes from the Portland location carrying over. All of the items will be rooted in West Coast ingredients, like Dungeness crab, oysters and fresh, seasonal vegetables.

So, if you’ve steered clear of Salem for a while, assuming it was mostly about government workers and drab government buildings, it might be worth a visit. At least, that’s what Amberg seems to imply, comparing Oregon’s capital to his hometown, which is well known for its thriving craft beer culture over the last few decades.

“I love the whole vibe of Salem. It reminds me of growing up in Asheville, N.C.,” he added. “There’s an energy and a hunger in the city, and it’s exciting to be part of that.”

Pacific Standard’s grand opening is expected to take place in mid-February 2023.