Tonight at 7 p.m., Shift Drinks bar opens its doors in the old Terminal Sales Building, and it is, perhaps, the best use of old office space, ever.
The ugly drop ceiling tiles are gone, as is the bad carpet. In fact, the old bank is barely recognizable, having been reborn into a large, airy, modern, 90-seat space that exudes cool. But sommelier Anthony Garcia and bartender Alise Moffatt, who met while working at Multnomah Whiskey Library, are quick to assert that their aim is to provide a warm welcome and attentive service to everyone who walks in the door.
Garcia describes his wine list as "nerdy," with more than 100 bottlings of old world and Pacific Northwest varietals stored in the old vault. Moffatt's cocktail program aims for "fresh, creative, modern classics." And directing the food is Garcia's wife, chef Anne Garcia. The veteran of such Portland kitchens as Imperial, Raven & Rose, and Maurice, has built a menu of "no frills Italian-inspired dishes that make ideal accompaniments to the casual cocktail or glass of wine."
The upstairs mezzanine doubles as a 24-seat private event space, complete with its own separate, fully equipped kitchen. The bar along the window is outfitted with plugs for recharging. And Shift Drinks has an off-premise liquor license, which means you can take bottles of wine to go until late in the night.
Shift Drinks: 1200 SW Morrison St., Portland, 503-922-3933. Opening hours Monday May 18: 7 p.m. to 2:30 a.m. Tuesday May 19 and beyond: 5 p.m. to 2:30 a.m. daily.