Should Portland’s casual airs make you long for a touch of social grace, slip into the lobby of the Benson Hotel and head straight to the bar. If the Palm Court’s 30-foot-tall molded ceilings and multistory chandelier dripping with crystal don’t instantly elevate your station, then give the red-and-gold leopard-spotted banquette a little stroke. Call over the most attractive bartender, the one with pomade in his hair, and order a manhattan. Have two while pondering the huge stone urn in the corner and the wall of bottles behind the bar, or that ritzy-looking man with the tan suitcase in the corner. At the Benson, opulence, thank heaven, is not a thing of the past.
The Palm Court was featured in our 2010 Best Bars cover story.