Opened two years ago at 232 NW 12th Ave., Hamlet Cocktail Bar will thinly slice its last Iberico jamon on May 27, the refined bar tells Eater. That means you still have around 36 hours to try one of Portland’s most unique and luxurious (if not long-lasting) bars. Hamlet furnishes the city’s best selection of cured ham, whether Spanish or Virginian, and expertly prepared sherry cocktails.
Hamlet was established by six-times James Beard Award nominee Cathy Whims (Oven & Shaker, Nostrana), with support from the ChefStable restaurant group (Lardo, Ox), and it landed a spot on PoMo’s Best New Restaurants in 2015. The cocktail program was created by powerhouse Portland bartender Ryan Magarian.
In the farewell press release, Whims writes, “In the two years Hamlet was open, it had stellar reviews, but the reality is the concept never ignited in the neighborhood the way we expected it to. I love Hamlet, so saying goodbye is hard, but my partners and I decided it’s the right time.”
Helping to usher in the sherry-cocktail obsession currently gripping the city and bringing such rare worldly delicacies as Iberico de Bellota ham, Hamlet is the type of bar that would likely do well in many big cities. Why didn’t it work in Portland? Was it the pricing (that fine Iberico de Bellota ham sells for $18/ounce, but the cocktails all clock in around $11 to $12)? Share your thoughts in the comments or over the Eater tip line.