As if Portland doesn’t have enough high-end cocktail bars already, we’re currently in the middle of an explosion of new places. Closely following Bent Brick, which opened last month, Kevin Ludwig from Beaker & Flask and partner Mike Shae have opened their newest venture, Rum Club.
Located in the same building as Beaker & Flask, you enter Rum Club from the north side as opposed to the south, passing through a seated patio area before entering the bar. Like Beaker, the interior space is dominated by the bar, which in this case runs into the middle of the room with seating around three sides. Contrasting Beaker’s stainless steel and glass, Rum Club’s decor is dark and cozy, with grey painted walls, some great wallpaper, wood furnishings, and lots of sunlight toward the latter part of the day thanks to the west-facing windows that run along the top of one wall. Entering the bar on opening night last week, I immediately felt comfortable, as if I could spend hours here just sipping drinks and hanging out.
While Beaker & Flask is primarily a restaurant, the focus at Rum Club is clearly cocktails. The opening day menu was small, featuring just six items. Five were unusual enough that I wasn’t familiar with them and the sixth was a house variant of the classic Daiquiri which added maraschino, bitters, and a bit of absinthe. Notably absent was the Rum Club Old Fashioned which has graced the menu at Beaker & Flask, but I’m sure it’ll make an appearance as their cocktail list evolves.
After my visit opening night, I mentioned on Twitter that I have a new favorite bar. That’s not an exaggeration; Rum Club immediately rose to one of the top spaces on my list and is sure to be one of the places I take out-of-town visitors when they want a taste of what the Portland cocktail scene has to offer.