Star mixologist Jeffrey Morgenthaler oversees the innovative cocktail program at this all-day gastropub in the Ace Hotel. Morganthaler is especially famous for his barrel-aged cocktails; negronis (a mix of gin, vermouth and Campari) acquire a sweet, oaky finish after six weeks in Tuthilltown whiskey casks. The menu has inspired small plates (popcorn with pimentón), offbeat sandwiches (fried egg sandwich with corned beef and pickled cabbage on a biscuit) and a handful of pub-style entrées.
A November cocktail
Hotel bars are sad places. The anodyne, Cheers-like decor, the conversation-crushing TVs, the grudging service, the uninspired drinks, make you wish youd taken the red-eye. Clyde Common -- in the Ace Hotel in the middle of downtown Portland -- breaks the mold. First of all, there are no TVs. And the bartenders are young and anything but burned out. The drinks? Lets just say that Portland has several great cocktail bars (try the Teardrop Lounge), but the majority of the people -- interesting-looking, lively people -- sipping cocktails here cant charge them to their room. Plus, the foods good. (1014 Southwest Stark Street; 503-228-3333) --David Wondrich
When chef Carlo Lamagna took over the kitchen at Clyde Common last spring, he began to nudge his customers beyond their comfort zones. Exhibit A: his mammoth, deep-fried pork trotter (that’s a fancy culinary word for foot). Some might find Lamagna’s "Crispy Pata" creation a bit grotesque, with its menacing curved claw, pool of macerated fruit, and often a hefty knife pinning the limb in place—but one bite of the crisped, salty skin mingling with tart, pickled peppers will set your taste buds reeling. “I want people to really get involved with the food, tear it apart,” Lamagna says. “Bring out the weird, man.
Clyde Common offers a warm antidote to the era of Twitter and Gmail: the pure joy of the face-to-face encounter. Oh, there’s also spectacular food. At this bright, open restaurant, your order may very well be based on the recommendation of a new friend from across the table. And whatever you choose—the pimento-dusted popcorn, perhaps, or the chicken-fried chicken livers—could become a favorite. Other restaurants may have imposed communal tables on their clientele, but only Clyde understands the careful calibration of space, service, and voyeurism that allows diners to feel cozy while eating with strangers.