Located at 2637 SE Hawthorne beside Coava Coffee, Neat is a brand-new whiskey bar with a decor that befits the 'hood. From Schlomo, the taxidermied deer wearing a yarmulke, to a wall decorated with hand-painted portraits of women with real faux mustaches glued to their philtrums, there's lots to see inside. But most importantly, Neat serves two-ounce pours of whiskeys, with a good selection in the $7-9 range, and a variety of contemporary cocktails, overseen by Aaron Howard (Sidecar) and Alan Stevens, the former head bartender Multnomah Athletic Club.
Partners in business and life, Robert Volz and Nicole Carlson own Neat, and Volz also owns Pour Wine Bar on NE Broadway. Volz says Neat uses whiskeys, scotches, and bourbons from around the world, so long as they come from countries with strict purity laws; Canadian whiskeys, for instance, are absent. You'll also find eight beers on tap, wine, and a small selection of other spirits, from gin to tequila, for making cocktails. Cocktails feature shrubs from Howard's just-launched Shrub Works Co.
Neat serves a food menu of loaded potatoes, as well as a soup, a meat and cheese board, and mac and cheese. The Kentuckian loaded potato comes with butter, sour cream, slow pulled pork, and cheddar cheese. You'll find dollar-off beer, wine, and cocktails and a $4 potato special during happy hour, which runs 4 to 6 p.m. daily.
One thing to note— Despite its illustrious decor, there's no big sign reading "Neat" outside. Instead, looks for a large sign reading Drink & Eat.
After a few neat whiskeys, you may wonder what in the world is up with the mustached ladies. Here's the story from Volz:
"I was in one of the best dive bars in the world, a walk-down in Tulsa, OK called the Cellar Dweller. There on the wall was a painted portrait of a middle-aged lady. The kind that would have taken several sittings to paint. On the painting was a perfect mustache made from hair that matched the hair color of the painting.
"Zach Matthews, the proprietor, explained he was driving down the street and passed a garage sale when he spied it. Not sure if his eyes were fooling him or not, he circled around and bought the painting, which was of someone's ex-wife with swept-up pet hair glued to her upper lip.
"Once you see a painting like that, the image is hard to shake. We decided to make a whole wall of these paintings. Hope you enjoy them.
Check out the food, whiskey, and cocktail menus: