Skip to main content

Wash Down Your Sins at this Portland Speakeasy

Bible Club
Image used with permission by copyright holder
If you call Bible Club PDX, a restored 1920s rotary phone will ring.

One with a cord. And by “ring,” we’re talking a metal-on-metal action. Lead barkeep Jessica Braasch might answer mid-conversation with a patron while grinding cloves by hand with a mortar and pestle.

In creating Bible Club, owner Ryk Maverick left no detail to chance, from crocheted doily coasters that would make any grandma proud to absinthe atomizers lit by the glow of a neon cross lightbulb on the host’s stand. Even the ice is local, which they shave on a cutting board for a perfect fit in the glass. And drinks calling for crushed ice? Time to break out the hammer.

Once you take a seat at the dimly-lit bar on the first floor of a 1922 craftsman house, you’ll know you’re not in Portland anymore.

Place setting with fork, napkin, and rosemary cocktail
Image used with permission by copyright holder

Head barkeep Nathan Elliott says Bible Club and fam initially expected to be a neighborhood joint, but their clientele quickly grew to include denizens from all over the world looking for a transportive, prohibition-era experience. Like the speakeasies the past that truly had to keep hush-hush, Bible Club’s cat is out of the bag now that Portlanders and travelers alike are realizing what a charming time capsule it is. 

The barback is bedecked with vintage signs championing the repeal of the 18th Amendment and, along with the general decor and underground atmosphere, you would be forgiven if you started to believe you had fallen into a time warp and landed squarely in the days of Al Capone and rum runners. The name “Bible Club” is in keeping with the tradition of tongue in cheek names contrasting the suspicious activity going down in such establishments.

Your Must-Try drink: the Log Road Legger

bible club pdx cocktail
Image used with permission by copyright holder

Ingredients

It’s an autumn-inspired old fashioned so popular it’s stuck on the ever-changing cocktail menu for good. It tastes like a meandering walk in a pine forest on a foggy morning, the smell of last night’s campfire left behind on your clothes.

The drink’s top note is provided by a sprig of rosemary lit with a match just long enough for a spark or two to fly, smudging the small space with a nice woodsy aroma. The only drawback to that is that it might keep the perennial ghost stories away.

Bartender torching rosemary at PDX Bible Club
Image used with permission by copyright holder

So if you’re looking for the perfect nightcap spot to punctuate a snowy evening on the town, or you’re in the mood to channel F. Scott Fitzgerald while sipping something truly extraordinary — this is the place to do it, old sport.

Editors' Recommendations

Megan Freshley
Former Digital Trends Contributor
Megan Freshley is a freelance copywriter and poet living in Portland, OR. She's studied at Antioch College and the Esalen…
Dogfish Head and Northern Monk are collabing for a trans-Atlantic rye IPA
dogfish head northern monk collab screenshot 2024 06 10 184512

Iconic U.S. craft brewery Dogfish Head is collaborating with hip British brewery Northern Monk to create a rye session IPA that brings together the best of each brewery. The collaboration is the first in a series from Northern Monk, working with a group of friends called Endless Hum, aiming to celebrate bands and artists beloved by the brewers and to create the perfect beer for watching your favorite musicians live.

The rye session IPA is citrusy with orange and resin, plus juniper, sage, and other spices and features a hint of tropical fruit.  "Monk and Dogfish Head came up with the concept over two shared ideas; firstly, we both have enjoyed playing with small percentages of rye in the grist of session beers for that extra depth of flavor and mouthfeel it can bring, and secondly, we both enjoyed the white sage twist we added to last year's Hop City collaborative release," Northern Monk writes.

Read more
These new whiskies from Chivas Brothers can only be found in duty free
Pick up a bottle the next time you travel
Scotch drams

Two new whisky collections from Chivas Brothers are on their way to release, but if you want to pick up a bottle from either, then you'll need to check your airport next time you're flying. The new releases are exclusive to "global travel retail" -- or duty-free to you and me.
Royal Salute Small Batch Collection
The first of the pair comes from Royal Salute, which is debuting its Small Batch collection. The idea is to showcase rare and unusual whiskies that have been aged for several decades in various casks. Eight whiskies are in the collection, all presented in distinctive purple packaging and each aged between 25 and 28 years. Some of the casks used include rye, French oak, and Pedro Ximénez sherry, and the bottles will sell for between $450 and $750.

“Each of the eight whiskies available in this Small Batch collection were matured in special casks which I have personally selected on my travels around the world," said Sandy Hyslop, master blender at Chivas Brothers. "This is a truly unique collection, with each individual whisky having a unique flavor profile, providing an array of choice to suit different preferences and open up new tasting experiences.”
Ballantine's Golden Hour
The second release is from Ballantine's, which is introducing a 23-year-old Golden Hour series. The series features blended Scotches aged for 23 years, with the first release aged in Cognac casks. This 40% abv bottle will be released first in travel retail in the Asia Pacific region, selling for $279.

Read more
Grab some pastis and try a Mauresque cocktail
The Mauresque cocktail is perfect for a hot summer day
pastis mauresque cocktail stephan coudassot fbzljy8kmpy unsplash

One of the great delights of being a cocktail enthusiast is trying new flavors and drinks from around the world that you might be not exposed to otherwise. One drink that's popular in its home country of France but rarely seen outside it is pastis -- an anise-flavored spirit that's commonly enjoyed as an aperetif (and occasionally used in cooking as well). Flavor-wise, pastis is similar to its better-known cousin, absinthe, but it doesn't have such pronounced bitterness and uses milder star anise for flavoring rather than the brash green anise.

That makes pastis a more sippable, mellow alternative to absinthe. On hot days, it's commonly mixed with water and ice for a pre-dinner drink. This preparation is also responsible for the drink's most distinctive feature: when water is added, it turns from clear yellow to soft, milky white.

Read more