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They pour their whiskey and their bitters and their vermouth with a deft hand.

And they see each cocktail as a creation that can uplift, transport and delight.

(That Brigitte Bardot movie playing on the screen behind the curvy bar is pretty delicious, too.) Don’t shy away from the , either—roma tomato vodka, muddled basil, lime juice and bacon salt actually do go together, and the combination constitutes the best liquid dinner around.

At times like these, a local oasis that can, even for a brief moment, fill our heads with tropical visions of sand-strewn Bali or a pirate-friendly pub in Pago Pago is worth its weight in blank traveler’s checks. Then it’s time to trade in your drippy bumbershoot for a very tall, very strong umbrella drink and take that all-too-brief holiday that you’ve always dreamed about.

No small feat in the face of such cookie-cutter surroundings, but one that makes Paragon stand out from the corporate pack.

(1309 NW Hoyt St, 503-833-5060) A Moscow Mule Once seated in this dark red den, if you see a drink on the cocktail menu that involves “sweet onion, cracked pepper gin,” do not be afraid. It’s called the Obscene; it includes olive juice and blue-cheese stuffed olives; and it’s delicious.

But that last 10 percent—the bitters, the simple syrup, the lemon twist, the rinse—is what really matters.

There are few bartenders in town who understand this as well as those behind the swank, circular bar at Ten 01.

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