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Another Portland Blog

Thursday, February 22, 2007

 

The Flor[gy]ida Room

If you head over to NE Killingsworth and up to the main entrance of the Florida Room, the first thing that will greet you is a window display. A window display filled with toys engaged in an oceanside orgy. Prior to my first visit, the idea of a Cerberus action figure performing a sex act on an Ken doll had never crossed my mind.

To the staff and management of The Florida Room, I offer a hesitant "thanks" in return.

This North Portland bar opened last summer across the street from what was to become the Chapel Pub. It clearly draws a different clientele than its McMenamins neighbor. While the Chapel Pub is aiming for a family-friendly crowd willing to overlook its somber past, the Florida Room is all about hipsters. If you were to stick a knife in the side of the Florida Room, it would probably bleed hipsters. And Voodoo Doughnuts, which are available on Saturdays.

The decor is cheeky, the booths look like they were lifted from an old Denny's and the place is covered in beach house kitsch. Old brew paraphernalia is scattered throughout, an Olympia Beer clock tells the time on a four hour delay (is it broken or just showing bar time in the South Pacific?) and the ashtrays look like they were stolen from a grandmother's living room.




A chalkboard behind the bar covered in doodles of naughty bits lists the beer menu, which consists mostly of 16 ounce cans of corporate suds. The Florida Room is probably one of the last remaining bars in town where you can order Schlitz. It's also known for its Bloody Marys. On the weekends the staff whips up eight different varieties of the hangover helper during daylight hours. We ordered a few Rainer pounders, ignoring a set of neglected taps in the corner. Why? Because that's what everyone else seemed to be drinking and because Bloody Marys are the worst cocktail in the history of the world. Sorry, if you want gazpacho, have gazpacho and drink a vodka tonic on the side. Vegetables and booze don't belong in the same container.

More chalkboards and X-rated drawings can be found in the bathrooms. I added a wide-eyed Garfield to the growing mural. Within minutes, someone went in and added an "eat me" word bubble over the cartoon cat's head. Bloody Mary fetishizing aside, it's hard to argue with a bar like this. Last Friday won't be my last trip over there.

With a funeral home McMenamins across the street, this section of Killingsworth has the potential to become Portland's weirdest bar row. The Portland Community College a block away would probably make a great boozepub hotel if it ever shuts down.

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