There aren’t many cocktail bars like My-O-My, the new Northeast Sandy watering hole, in Portland’s Sumner neighborhood. In fact, there aren’t many cocktail bars at all. Sumner, to the north of the Grotto, is primarily residential, with little more than Namaste Indian Cuisine and Escape Bar & Grill on either side of Sandy. So when Matt Relkin, AJ Fosik, and Jason Radich — the three owners of White Owl Social Club and Creepy’s — thought about opening a third bar, the neighborhood seemed like a strong choice.
“There are people who live in all directions from that neighborhood — a lot of new homeowners and young families, people who have lived out there forever,” Relkin says. “For the amount of residents in the Sumner-Parkrose area, it didn’t feel like there were a lot of options for them.”
In its two months open, My-O-My has become a neighborhood stalwart. People line up before the bar opens, filing in to order Monster Smash burgers and mai tais. Families come in with their kids, who run to the bar’s pinball machines and arcade games. Groups of friends pour themselves into eight-person booths, surrounding an old-school brick fireplace. With a dining room abundant with midcentury vibes, a strong cocktail list, and a noteworthy food cart handling the menu, My-O-My is setting itself up to attract more than just Sumner locals.
Relkin, Fosik, and Radich stumbled upon the space after a friend bought the building that housed the previous bar, the Rocky Butte Pub. Touring the space, the three fell in love with the fireplace in the corner, and envisioned a relaxed, cozy bar and grill with ’70s aesthetics. They found a set of 1970s vintage booths in a fun shade, which inspired the overarching color palette and look of the space — lots of reds, yellows, browns, and oranges, complemented by wallpaper covered in flamingos and egrets. The team kept the bar’s nostalgic wood paneling.
“The comfort aspect was really important for us,” Relkin says. “We wanted it to feel lived in, we wanted it to feel familiar-yet-new, welcoming to all ages.” The biggest draw for the all-ages appeal: The bar’s four pinball machines and five arcade games, including cult favorites like Ghostbusters pinball and Street Fighter.
Selling kids on smash burgers and fries isn’t exactly a challenge, though the three owners are particularly excited about nabbing popular cart Monster Smash for the bar’s food menu. Relkin, Fosik, and Radich were pretty set on smash burgers, and started eating their way through the city’s scene to try to find a potential vendor. They landed on Monster Smash’s burgers, and after Monster Smash owner Rico Loverde checked out the My-O-My space, he was hooked. “We got lucky, because I think his burgers are the best in Portland,” Relkin says.
Monster Smash’s burgers — available vegan or not — arrive on Dos Hermanos buns with house pickles, melty American cheese, and a typical burger sauce. Fries come with garlic aioli, and the cart also offers a sandwich and salad to round out the menu. “It’s wild, the only thing that comes out of a package are the ketchup and mustard,” Relkin says.
The cocktail menu, like the bar’s decor, takes its cues from the 20th century — namely, the Trader Vic’s bartending tradition. The menu includes twists on typical tiki standards, like mai tais, as well as original cocktails that pull from the tiki playbook, incorporating fresh fruit juices and rums. The bar’s take on a grog, Fosik’s favorite cocktail on the menu, uses both pineapple and passionfruit juices, plus a blend of rum and house dram. Relkin is partial to It’s Banana Time, a bourbon-based cocktail with Combier Banane du Brasil, allspice dram, orgeat, lemon, pineapple, and fresh thyme.
Radich, who stopped drinking during the pandemic, is proud of the bar’s nonalcoholic drink selection, which ranges from CBD sodas and n/a beers to house cocktails. The Sand Dabber is his go-to, a house pineapple-lemon soda with orgeat and house grenadine. The team hopes to add more nonalcoholic drinks to the menu in the near future, while also expanding hours to begin lunch service — an idea inspired by their new regulars.
“The people out there are awesome, and every day there’s new people from the neighborhood here,” Relkin says. “They want us to do well. It’s a community feel I haven’t experienced too much bartending.”
My-O-My is now open at 8627 NE Sandy Blvd.