My wife and I stumbled across Bartini quite by accident. We had made plans to window shop (and maybe grab a few moderately priced goodies) in the Alphabet District and Northwest 23rd of Portland, Oregon. As usual, my wife likes to look her best for me and, what was supposed to be a 3 o’clock start time ended up being a 5pm-er—even though the Alphabet District is just a short jaunt from our home in Cedar Hills.

    Needless to say, it wasn’t long before hunger crept in.
    “I know a great place,” I said. “Remember that place we went for Rick’s birthday party?”
    “Urban Fondue?” My wife said.

    “Yes,” I replied. We can easily walk there from here.” And, at that, we joined hands and walked a few blocks, past Trader Joe’s, past a thrift shop (where I found a nice, new-to-me bathrobe) to Glisan and NW 21st and sat down at what we thought was Urban Fondue.

    The mistake is easy to make. Urban and Bartini—Bartini is where we actually were—are owned by the same person and share sidewalk space and full service bar. Urban Fondue had not opened yet and it was happy hour at Bartini, so we decided to give it a shot (no pun intended).

    The people watching was epic. Dogs of all shapes and sizes, joggers, hipsters, middle aged couples, older folks, a few business people—Glisan and NW 21st is a casserole of people. Apartments residing above storefronts, large Portland houses with ubiquitous lawns, modern condos, bicycles, smart cars, Subarus and Beamers… all of these things and people cohabitated in apparent peace and mid-spring glory. Yes; the warm months of Portland, Oregon when shops open their outdoor seating is the best time of year to live here.

    And then my martini came: mango and cucumber with a splash of gin. My wife got one too: a lemon drop. We split the shrimp tacos, we each had a green salad, a shrimp skewer and shared the infamous (and hardy) Mashed Potato Martini. The flavor—aided no doubt by the locally sourced and organic foods—was taste-buddingly stupendous, and, when all was said and done, a tab of under $30 (including tip) for a night out with a beautiful lady, in a beautiful city, with marvelous food and drink was well worth the price.

    Whether you go to Urban Fondue or Bartini, North West Portland offers many delightful shops and restaurants. It’s worth a visit. It’s also not a bad place to live.

    Bartini is located at 2108 NW Glisan in Portland, Oregon.

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