First Look: The Box Social

This North Williams cocktail lounge is mixing up creative drinks and simple snacks in a romantic, modern space—without an attitude.

By Allison Jones December 27, 2011

The Stone Cold Fox cocktail at The Box Social.

Shannon McQuilkin—co-owner of the popular Hawthorne hangout The Sapphire Hotel—has just opened a second project with her husband Eric that is equally sophisticated and date-night worthy.

The Box Social is a romantic, candle-lit spot on the corner of North Williams and Shaver, serving up classic cocktails and small bites for the North Portland crowd.

The cozy 1000-square-foot space features floor-to-ceiling drapes, a large mural of downtown Portland by local artist Maria Joan Dixon, a dark mahogany bar built by Axium Custom Designs, and a 22-foot black tufted bench by Acanthus Green, offering plenty of room to get close to your date.

The Box Social’s bar manager, Michael Rowe, has put together a cocktail program based on classics and creative originals inspired by his travels. Think lots of drinking vinegars, plenty of whiskey, burnt orange peels, and creative drinks like the Stone Cold Fox, with Goslings Black Seal Rum, habanero ginger honey, mango, and lime, and The Cooler, with bourbon, Applejack, orange liqueur, lime, and apple drinking vinegar (both $8).

There’s also a well-curated wine list with $5 house pours, and a small beer selection ($4.50 pints of Trumer Pils, Terminal Gravity IPA, Amensia ESB, or Boneyard Chocolate Espresso Stout).

On the food side of things, The Box Social boasts a fun and inexpensive selection of bar snacks, like $1 goldfish crackers, $3 black pepper parmesan popcorn, $7 chicken liver or warm spinach mousse, panini and open-faced sandwiches, and a plentiful $10 "nibble plate" with Olympic Provision salami, Manchego, ginger habanero honey, hot and stoneground mustards, olives and marcona almonds (perfect for sharing).

Cheap Date Bonus: Stop in for Happy Hour (Monday through Sunday 4 to 6 pm, and Sunday through Thursday 11 pm to close) and score $6 specialty cocktails, $4 well drinks, $3.50 draft beers, $4 house wine, and food specials.

The Box Social shares the recycled glass building with the new casual Peruvian eatery Las Primas (opening December 27), so diners can grab a great cocktail pre- or post-empanada binge. With the addition of a calm, classy hangout for late-night tippling, North Williams is giving other buzzy Portland neighborhoods a run for their money, one cocktail at a time.

The Box Social
3971 N Williams (at Shaver Avenue)

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