Tommy Klus, co-owner of the stylish bistro La Moule, is opening Scotch Lodge, a whiskey-heavy cocktail bar, May 2. The Oregonian first reported that Klus, who originally cultivated the voluminous collection of spirits at Multnomah Whiskey Library, will open the bar as a way to share his impressive spirit collection. Talking with Eater last fall, Klus described it as a comfortable cocktail lounge with a sizable spirit menu, a modest-but-thoughtful wine list, and taps for beer, cider, white wine, and a cocktail or two.
The spirit collection at Scotch Lodge won’t be quite the size of the Library’s, but it will have cultivated bottles showcasing a wide range of Klus’ favorite spirits, including some things that many guests may not have tried. Beyond his experience building whiskey programs, Klus has an abiding love for agave spirits and plans to include some niche bottles from different regions of Mexico. Rather than being behind the bar, Klus will engage with customers while managing the floor; those who have interacted with him and the powerhouse staff he attracts will likely see this as a selling point. According to Portland Monthly, the main bar management will fall on a team including Matt Kesteloot (Rum Club), Jessica Braasch (Bible Club), Aaron Zieske (Canard), and Christina Acosta (Denver’s Bar Fausto).
Food isn’t an afterthought, though it will take a supporting role. “La Moule ended up being a restaurant with a great bar program,” Klus says. “Scotch Lodge is going to be a cocktail bar that happens to have a great food menu.” Chef Aaron Barnett, who co-owns La Moule and French restaurant St. Jack, designed the initial menu with chef Tim Artale (Proud Mary, St. Jack). Don’t expect steaks frites or bowls of mussels; instead, the team is going for a modern French bistro take, serving shareable plates with a few global twists. The website currently teases dishes like fried brie with pumpernickel and verjus syrup, as well as braised lamb shoulder with sambal.
“Biwa was a well-designed restaurant and left us great bones,” Klus says, so while the team plans on keeping the same layout as Biwa, they’ve also commissioned custom banquettes and furniture. “We’re going to plush it up a bit, make it more of a lounge,” he says, describing the aesthetic as a cozy, underwater space inspired by Jules Verne’s 20,000 Leagues Under the Sea.
Updated April 18, 2019, at 2:51 p.m.
This story was updated to include the opening date and team.
• Scotch Lodge brings rare Scotch, modern French to Southeast Portland [The O]
• Scotch Lodge, a Swanky Cocktail Cave from Tommy Klus, Opens May 2 [PoMo]
• Scotch Lodge [Instagram]
• All Previous La Moule Coverage [EPDX]
• All Previous St. Jack Coverage [EPDX]