"Nerdy." "Candlelight." Food that won't "make you hate yourself later."
These are just a few phrases Anthony Garcia and Alise Moffatt use to describe Shift Drinks, their upcoming West End bar with a whopping 90 seats (plus an additional 24 seats on the mezzanine) opening on the ground floor of the Terminal Sales Building this spring.
In a stroke of poetic justice, they're transforming an old office space (it housed a marketing firm and a bank) into a watering hole for post-work Downtown commuters — and, really, any Portlander looking for a place to relax with a drink, whether you're on your way home or on your way to a show. In fact, a 25-seat bar behind north-facing windows will be equipped with power outlets for the one-and-done crowd looking to recharge their phones before hopping on the Max, which runs directly past the space.
Garcia (a sommelier) and Moffatt (a bartender who ran the show over at Angel Face) met a couple years ago when they were asked by the team at Multnomah Whiskey Library for help getting the place off the ground. Opening up their own space was something the two dreamt up on the floor at MWL.
It's been in the works since they signed the lease last fall, and with the last of the building permits processed, the pair have finally been able to start reviewing contractor bids for the build-out, with fingers crossed they can open their bar by mid- to late-May.
In the meantime, they've pulled up the carpet to expose the concrete floors and removed the drop ceiling panels to reveal the tops of the simple Art Deco columns. Eventually, they say, the space will done up in black, white and grey tones. In evenings, it'll be lit by candles and a few sconces, although they plan to take advantage of the light that will stream into the room via several large windows.
As far as the food goes, they're keeping the concept under wraps for now, although Garcia says the menu will comprise "fast, affordable, simple, wholesome, healthy things to eat." In other words, expect neither fried foods, nor a typical starter-entrée-dessert menu.
Garcia says wine lovers should expect a "nerdy" wine list that numbers to about 100 bottles, mostly old world and Pacific Northwest varietals, which will be stored in the former bank's vault.
And Moffet says she'll build her cocktail program on drinks that "showcase the spirits themselves." Expect "fresh, creative, modern classics," that are not overwhelmed by too many ingredients that could mask a drink's "purpose."
Anticipated hours are from 5 p.m. to 2:30 a.m., meaning everyone — from office workers to bartenders and servers — can grab a post-work shift drink before heading home.
Shift Drinks (opening in May), 1200 SW Morrison St., 503-922-3933