600-some square feet of delicious drinks

Published On 03/07/2011 Published On 03/07/2011

Bigger isn't always better, as evidenced by phones, computers, and mid-Nineties musicians, who prove that good things come in small rappers, despite what Leoshi and her baller boyfriend might think. Making your boozy wishes come true in a tiny bar: Sidecar 11.

From a team of dudes with serious PDX bar/resto chops (including the owner of massive Davis Street Tavern), Sidecar's a willfully obscure speakeasy-ish Mississippi Ave watering hole built for neighborhood types, slinging classic 'tails under soaring ceilings across a slim standing-only bar, set in a hall-like room that's only 11.5ft wide, or roughly the same as a Cadillac Brougham. The core of 'Car is the handsome roster of whiskeys applied towards liquid awesomeness like the Kentucky Peach (bourbon/ mint/ lemon/ peach bitters), two Manhattan variations including one tricked out with 100-proof bourbon, Regan's #6 orange bitters, and Cynar (an interesting apéritif that includes artichokes), plus a whiskey/ espresso job called the Jittery Hick, although doesn't that describe every last one of those meth heads? The non-whiskey side of the drinkage also dips into classic territory, like the Spire Cider/tequila Brass Monkey, the Ford (local Old Tom gin/ Dolin vermouth/ Benedictine/ orange bitters), and four Champagne cocktails including the St. Germain/ Peychaud-bittered Your Mother Smells Of Elderberries...well, duh, she's been banging Chuck for 32 years!

Such a small joint leaves little room for big food, but Sidecar manages nicely with garlic steak or chicken skewers, sammies including a three cheese panini, flatbread pizzas, and warm cookies for dessert -- although eat enough of them, and you will not look good, and no one will call you.

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1. Sidecar 11 3955 N Mississippi Ave, Portland, OR 97211 (Mississippi Ave)

The emphasis that Sidecar 11 pays to rare and vintage bottles of alcohol is rare these days. The Mississippi bar has become renowned for uncorking historical concoctions that management mysteriously acquires -- from a 99-year-old vermouth to a Blandy's Bual Madeira from 1920 -- and pouring them as monthly specials. Sure, sometimes that means what results is a $40 Manhattan, but it's about the love of discovery. Of course, contemporary sips are on offer, too: from a wide-ranging list of takes on the Manhattan to vintage-style cocktails recreated with today's booze.

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