Bit House Saloon is Shaking Up Portland's Best Summer Cocktails

A new Central Eastside watering hole crafts stellar, fancy-free cocktails.

By Benjamin Tepler August 21, 2015

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Left: Elk burger and “Palmer Glacier Pop” (a mystery-flavored, antifreeze-blue booze-sicle) Right: (Clockwise from left) K23 cocktail with rum, jasmine, mint lemon, and beet; Grandmaster Flowers with bourbon, nectarine, chamomile, and a twist of fruit leather; Pickled quail eggs and hot links

There’s something strangely wonderful about sucking down a “Palmer Glacier Pop” (a mystery-flavored, antifreeze-blue booze-sicle) at the Bit House Saloon, a new watering hole in the former Eastbank space on Southeast Grand, and a place you’d expect to find salty pioneers shooting whiskey. Here, inside the Deadwood-chic, 150-seat, century-plus-old marvel of brick, dark wood, and brass, some of city’s top bar talents are crafting boisterous, strong drinks for every type of quaffer. 

Bit House Saloon is leading the pack in Portland’s fancy-free cocktail movement—a return to a not-so-serious style of mixology. That’s thanks in large part to bar manager, Jesse Card, the former front man for Alberta’s rollicking Knock Back, and bartender Chauncey Roach, the creative juice last seen shaking at Fireside. Four other local barmen, with roots at major drinking spots like Teardrop Lounge and Raven & Rose, are also on contract, adding their own twists to the menu.

In the market for serious sipping? Sample pours from in-house single barrel flights, Buffalo Trace to Orgullo Tequila Anejo. Want to be knocked off your feet by a craft cocktail? Swill the Grandmaster Flowers, a sweet, fruity concoction with bourbon, nectarine, chamomile, and a twist of fruit leather. Is it 100 degrees outside? Do you need an adult frozen slushy? Guzzle the Head East, an icy respite with tequila, orange, and “five spice pomegranate.”

Food on the other hand, is your standard-issue pub-grub. With a quick chef consultation from former Wildwood Chef Dustin Clark, the booze-sopping menu holds better-than-average bites like popcorn-crusted Rocky Mountain oysters, a sloppy beast of an elk burger, and a gut-busting fried bologna sandwich, oozing with American cheese and slivers of briny pickle. Don’t order food without a strong drink in hand.

With a primetime spot across the street from Dig A Pony, drinks tailor-made for El Niño summer, and one of the city’s best new spaces (which includes a back patio and fire pit), Bit House Saloon is poised for an Eastside takeover.

Bit House Saloon
727 SE Grand Ave
Everyday, 3pm-2:30am

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