303 SW 12th Ave
Portland, OR 97205
Visit: March 16, 2018
We stopped by the Zeus cafe to grab a drink and meet up with our friend Caitlin downtown. The cafe is located on a long block as part of the adjoining Palace Hotel. The McMenamin’s have a pretty neat thing going in Portland – they buy up properties and turn them into music venues/breweries. I did not get a chance to try any of there beer, but I did get to try a few tasty beverages while we were there.
Anna and I both snagged a cocktail. I went for the Zeus’ take on a Vieux Carre. While I enjoyed it, I cannot say it was as tasty as the one I had at Pepe le Moko the night before (that one was near perfect). It was, however, quite tasty and I left no alcohol behind.
During our drinking and chatting, I happened to notice that there were two bottles of nice van Winkle bourbon sitting on the bar shelf – Old Rip van Winkle, and Pappy. If you know anything at all about either bourbon, you will likely recognize the Van Winkle name. To say it commands a hefty price is an understatement. Most places I see it at home, a glass will run you a minimum of $25.
So, it being my vacation and all, I figured I would at least ask how much they were charging a glass. This being a bar, some 1500 miles from home (and bourbon country) I figured the price would be a bit astronomical and I would file the info away and order a beer.
Surprisingly, the server came back and told me a glass would be $12.50. I asked him to double check. He did. I ordered one.
Granted, I wasn’t sure *which* one I had just ordered, but either way – it would be worth it. A few moments later, it arrived. I inquired about the pricing (I know, I know, a gift horse and all that)… Apparently, the bar manager likes to snag rarities, then *not* charge an arm and a leg for them since he makes up for it on his margins elsewhere. I couldn’t argue the logic (and had no wish to curse my good fortune), so I thanked the bourbon gods and giddily explained what had just happened to Caitlin.
Anna complimented my veracity in ordering this wonderful beverage at such a reasonable price. I have to admit, it is excellent stuff. At first, the server told me it was 25yr old, but I had my suspicions and later the bill said 10yr old. Either way, I never expected to travel to Portland for my first glass of this rare bourbon.
To say I enjoyed it was the understatement of the year. I had every intention of stopping in again at some point for another glass (at $12.50 per you really can’t say anything other than yes) but sadly I never made it back in.
We left for other environs shortly thereafter, and I took the warm happiness along with me in my belly.
Thanks, Zeus, I will be back again to see what other rarities you have on offer!