The Elvis Room
We went back and forth on this one – is it a dive bar or not? In the end we opted to feature it here as an honorable mention.
I was sucked in by the name of this place as I am a huge fan of all things related to the cult of Elvis. It is a study in contrasts. Featuring an odd split level layout with a bright, rather dainty lounge up top and a pleasingly dark and cavernous space with many hidden nooks and crannies beneath. The upper level feels like a place I would come for a nice cup of tea and crustless cucumber sandwiches. So of course we quickly headed downstairs!
Downstairs feels like a good spot for a rendezvous – illicit or otherwise. We sat at the pretty u-shaped bar and had fun ordering from the creatively named craft cocktail list. Did not take note of taps because it did not feel at all like a place to drink beer. That being said and this being Portland, there is a “double Trouble” listed which gets you a shot of whiskey and a Rainier for $6.
The menu was jarring – basic pub fare which did not match the elegant setting in the least. We tried the loaded tots anyway and found them worthy. Baked stuffed jalapenos though – why does this dish exist and persist?? It feels unfinished to me. Just go ahead and take the extra steps – run it through some breading and throw it in the fryer already!
Just one more contrast and then I’ll let it go – Upstairs is where you sit with your mom for a civilized champagne cocktail. Downstairs is where you meet your secret (Italian) lover to make out under the stairs between sips of Campari-based cocktails. Nothing about this place says Elvis or dive bar to me, but, I like it anyway.
Address: 203 SE Grand Ave, Portland
Happy Hours: Monday through Friday 4-7pm and all day Sunday
Full kitchen: Yes
Jalapeno Poppers: No (but they do have the sad travesty of baked jalapenos)
Distinguishing features: Split level; like 2 bars in one
Words by KC is me
Photos by Steven Shomler