Image of Rum Club courtesy scaredy_kat via Flickr
Another year, another substantial section of one's liver bites the dust. The now-annual Portland Cocktail Week is set to turn the city into a drunken mess beginning this Thursday, October 20, and we digress — as opposed to other local all-out boozefests, the event celebrates the art of the craft cocktail, with mixologists from across the country converging on PCW for several industry-only seminars, tasting events, and yes, the blow-out parties. Below, Eater's guide to drinking your way through PCW (including both official and unofficial events):
1) Where: Wilf's Restaurant
What: Pernod Ricard sponsors the opening-night party at the '60s-swanky Wilf's Restaurant, where PCW organizers will truly take advantage of the spot's Union Station location. Bartenders from Seattle and elsewhere will literally roll into the party via Amtrak and join up with some of Portland's big names: Think negronis from legendary NYC bartender Dale DeGroff and Beaker & Flask's Brandon Wise.
When: Thursday, October 20; 8pm-midnight
Get there: 800 NW 6th Ave.; tickets available here
2) Where: Wafu
What: The Wafu bar celebrates Cocktail Week with an unofficial weekly special: $5 pours of Hibiki highballs, a blended whiskey from Suntory. The deal's good throughout all of Portland Cocktail Week.
When: Thursday, October 20 through October 23
Get there: 3113 SE Division St., Portland, OR
3) Where: Lola's Room at the Crystal Ballroom
What: Don Q rum sponsors an '80s karaoke party, Yacht Rocking, that Oregon Bartenders Guild president Dave Shenaut says is his PCW "must-do" event: "Keep an eye out for the OBG’s very own Kenny Loggins lookalike, Nathan Gerdes, while you sip on the Okolemaluna Fizz, mixed up by Hawaii's very talented Tim Rita." Also: '80s karaoke.
When: Friday, October 21, 8pm-midnight
Get there: 1332 W. Burnside, Portland, OR; tickets here
4) Where: Leftbank Annex
What: More than 50 distilleries will gather at the Leftbank Annex for the two-day Great American Distillers Festival , pouring tastes for consumers, bar managers, and distributors alike. For the public, a $10 one-day pass gets three tastings, and other events include a Saturday Bloody Mary distillers breakfast ($40) and a new Sunday Irish Coffee distillers breakfast ($40), both of which combine seminar with boozy breakfast-time.
When: Saturday & Sunday, October 22 & 23
Get there: 101 N. Weidler St., Portland, OR; more information available here
5) Where: Jupiter Hotel
What: So, this exists: Cocktail-pouring robots. In an event that sounds truly ridiculous in every way, a slew of local bartenders, including Shenaut, will put their skills to the test against some mixology machines.
When: Saturday, October 22, 8pm-midnight
Get there: 800 E. Burnside, Portland, OR; tickets here
6) Where: Beaker & Flask
What: Four fantastic female bartenders — Jackie Patterson, Jennifer Colliau, Allison Webber, and Anu Apte — will team up for an official unofficial PCW after-party at Beaker & Flask. Among the offerings promised at the "Sweet Life"-themed shindig: "drink specials and decadent sweets."
When: Saturday, October 23, 11pm-2am
Get there: 720 SE Sandy Blvd., Portland, OR
7) Where: Leftbank Annex
What: The first-ever Portland edition of "Speed Rack" — an event that simultaneously promotes the work of female bartenders while raising funds for breast cancer research — is set for a mid-afternoon shake on Sunday. Sixteen lady bartenders from all over the Pacific Northwest will compete in a contest measuring both speed and accuracy; guests get tastes of punches, cocktails, beer, and food.
When: Sunday, October 23, 1-4pm
Get there: 101 N. Weidler Street, Portland, OR; tickets here