Thanks largely to the Civil War, “Free Bird,” and NASCAR, we Yankees tend to think of the South as a rowdy region peopled by good ol’ boys shooting guns in the air. In the interest of smashing stereotypes, the Pope House Bourbon Lounge on NW Glisan Street offers proof (80 proof to be exact) that there’s plenty more to enjoy about the more mannered nooks of the South.
Situated in a petite Victorian house (formerly home to the Brazen Bean martini bar), Pope House serves down-home cuisine with a bang, such as a pulled-pork quesadilla in a bourbon-based barbecue sauce ($7), or the Hot Brown—a sandwich of thinly sliced turkey, bacon, cheddar, and Parmesan aioli on toasted jalapeño bread ($8).
But the main attractions, as the name implies, are the 40-plus brands of bourbon whiskey nestled behind the cozy corner bar. Made mostly from corn mash, bourbon whiskey originated in Kentucky in the late 18th century and has long been looked upon as the inferior relative of the Scotch and Irish varieties. But we defy any spirit sophisticate to turn up her nose at a smoldering, velvety glass of 10-year-old Eagle Rare, or the rich caramel finish of a Hirsch Small Batch Reserve. It’s a proper sipping whiskey, surprisingly smooth, and without the burn typical of most single-malt Scotch.
In the spirit of true Southern hospitality, it doesn’t matter whether your tastes run toward the more refined Jefferson’s Reserve ($10) or a quick snort of Rebel Yell ($6). Y’all are welcome here.