In Portland, it’s not unusual for a bar to exist as an attachment to a larger business. It’s one of the things I love about the area. Chinese restaurants, mom-and-pop diners, music venues; you’re never far from a stiff drink in Portland. While in some cases these drinking establishments might seem to exist as an afterthought, they occasionally develop into the primary reason you decide to leave the house.
These bars tend to be low-lit, intimate, and hidden in the back. Quite often, they play host to a stable of staunchly loyal patrons that are more than ready to pull the needle off the record player the second a new face accidentally stumbles through the door. These are the places I love to hang out in, but only when the regulars are more inviting. The Atlantis Lounge inside Mississippi Pizza is one such place.
Back in the late 90’s owners Philip and Stephanie Stanton were one of the first entrepreneurs to take a chance on the then struggling neighborhood. Today, Mississippi Pizza thrives as a community hub for food and entertainment. The pizzeria caters to singles, couples and families. They host live music, bingo, trivia nights (Quizissippi), and even the occasional spelling bee. I’ve attended all of these functions at least once, and they’re great. But our attention on this particular evening was on drinks; and more specifically, the Atlantis Lounge.
Tucked neatly into the rear of Mississippi Pizza is the nautically themed Atlantis Lounge. It possesses all the character and ambiance you want from a hole-in-the wall dive hidden in some inner-city alley. It also comes with the coziness and safety that you might expect from, well, a pizzeria on Mississippi Avenue. We were met by the owner of Mississippi Pizza, Philip, bar manager, Nikki, and tender of bar, Adam.
The Atlantis Lounge emphasizes fresh squeezed fruit juices. We were served up a sampling of drinks that uphold that ethos well. The first of these was the Atlantis Margarita. Sauza blanco tequila, GranGala, lime, fresh orange, and prickly pear, served on the rocks. The drink was fresh, stiff, and crisply sweet.
Next was the Titanic. Comprised of Monopolowa vodka, triple sec, lime, and fresh squeezed grapefruit, served up. If you like a good Greyhound you already know that grapefruit juice and vodka are two great tastes that taste great together. This drink is no exception. The lime and triple sec round out the citrus flavor of the grapefruit solidly.
Next up was the Noble Pear. This drink features local Clear Creek pear brandy, GranGala, and lime; shaken and served up, with a sugared rim. Perhaps it’s just my locavore tendencies, but I love me some Clear Creek brandy and this drink utilizes it perfectly. The pear brandy remains the standout, being ever so slightly complimented by the GranGala and lime.
We finished with a nice cold-weather beverage, the Merman’s Hot Toddy. This straight forward warmer utilizes Maker’s Mark and lemon in a ginger toddy. The glory of the toddy is that warm tummy sensation. If it’s done right, you’ll question how much of that warmth is produced by the temperature of the beverage and how much is produced by alcohol content. Adam nailed that balance. Always put your faith in guys named Adam.
Massive thanks to Philip, Nikki, and Adam for providing us with wonderful drinks and conversation. I look forward to slipping into and enjoying every cozy nook the Atlantis Lounge has to offer.