The Driftwood Room: Sophisticated Sips With Local Love

If you’re a classic cocktail fan, one of the must-hit stops on a true tipple tour of Portland is The Driftwood Room. Nestled on the ground floor of the Hotel deLuxe just south of the Pearl District, this hideaway will make you forget if it’s night or day, or even what day of the week it is. Instead, sink into one of the luxuriously upholstered bar stools — these are meant for a serious stay — sip on some well-crafted libations, and chat the hours away.

Lead bartender Michael Robertston has spent over a decade on the PDX drinks circuit, and he knows his stuff. His cocktail menu is heavy on the local spirits, including sips featuring pear spirits from Clear Creek Distillery and Burnside Bourbon from Eastside Distilling. Find him in the wood-clad, candlelit room for a friendly, liquor-abetted lesson on the Portland culinary scene.

The other slingers at Driftwood are all up to par, and shake and stir with the best in town. If you’re a brown spirits fan, try the Whiskey Rebellion (Bulleit Rye, Punt e Mes sweet vermouth, Imbue bittersweet vermouth and West Indies orange bitters; $10) or go for The Mallory Manhattan (Woodford Reserve, Martini & Rossi sweet vermouth, Peychaud’s cherry bitters, amarena cherry juice; port rinse; $12).

Another specialty of the house are the Champagne cocktails, great warm weather drinks that feature bubbly mixed with different juices and liqueurs. Usually $9–$10 each, these are just $6 during happy hour, which runs for a majority of the bar’s open hours. Come in from 2–6:30 PM or 9:30 PM–close to enjoy the gin, rose syrup and Champagne Rose Colored Glasses, or the bubbly, St. Germain and rhubarb Springtime in Paris at the discounted price.

Also during happy hour you’ll find a wide variety of bar bites, with which you can retire to one of a half-dozen tables that line the wall banquettes along the back of the small room. Choose a $5 pork empanada or croque monsieur, or go for the $8 charcuterie and cheese plate to share among friends. Once your eyes adjust to the sultry dim light, you’ll find it hard to take your leave.

Photos by Danya Henninger

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