Chef Cathy Whims, cocktail guru Ryan Magarian, and restaurateur Kurt Huffman of ChefStable officially opened the doors to Hamlet last night, unleashing an impressive combination of stylish digs, expert cocktails and pork-centric plates.
With a trifecta like that from a trio that experienced, it's a safe bet the place will be busy. Luckily, they seem to have maximized the seating in the small space (formerly Jinx Lounge), with an L-shaped copper bar, a four-top island in the middle, and leather banquets along the wall, which is set with bold geometric tiles from local tile designer Ann Sacks.
In fact, the whole space is a showcase of local design talent, but with fittingly Southern tie-ins. Whims (a Southern native), architect Rick Potestio and Liz Calderon of Special Projects collaborated on the interior design. The glass lights above the bar are from Cedar and Moss and hand-blown in Virginia, part of the "U.S ham belt." And Portland graphic designer and Louisiana native Topher Sinkinson created the brand identity.
The small menu is focused on hams in a range of styles from all over the world, to be eaten in snacky sandwiches and small plates, or simply with a few accompaniments. The craft cocktails were designed to pair with all that salty-savory-porky goodness, which is why there's an emphasis on using sherries (a natural with pork) as a mixer. The Kojo features sherry, gin and falernum, the Daydream combines sherry, tequila, Combier and maraschino, and the Melon vs Meat mixes together sherry, tequila, chili liqueur, lime, homemade honey syrup and extracted cantaloupe juice.
Hamlet: 232 NW 12th Ave., 503.241.4009; Hours: 4 p.m. to midnight, Sunday through Thursday, 4 p.m. to 1 a.m. Fridays and Saturdays