Bar of the Week: Peter's 19th Hole

Weekend!Nightlife: Pub is perfect fit for friends, fries and fillets
by: DENISE FARWELL, A beacon on Northeast Fremont Street, Peter’s welcomes beer drinkers, trivia hounds and, yes, steak cravers with menu choices like sliced sirloin (above) on a bed of fettuccine marinara.

Sometimes I just want a steak. And there are some great ones in Portland.

There's Cafe Castagna's flat-iron steak frites, Nostrana's super-rare wood-grilled flank steak over arugula with rosemary olive oil. Then of course there's El Gaucho, Ruth's Chris, the RingSide and Portland Steak and Chophouse, serving beautiful prime rib and filet mignon aged to perfection, with a baseball cut, etc., for more money than I clear in a week.

But sometimes I just want a basic 8-ounce piece of sirloin, tenderized into submission by a skilled line cook, served with A-1 sauce and a baked potato with butter, sour cream and chives. Throw in a little house salad with some chopped lettuce, shredded carrots and a cherry tomato or two, and I'm in heaven.

Most local strip bars, particularly the Acropolis, can accommodate this craving, but on those rare occasions when someone in my party isn't in the mood for booty with our beef, the perfect place for such a steak is Peter's on Northeast Fremont Street.

This bar is as neighborhood as it gets, from its front-porch seating to the sassy staff and big parties of old friends coming in for Sunday-night dinners.

There are food and drink specials daily - on a recent evening fresh kiwi daiquiris and Cuervo margaritas were $4.

Tuesday is taco night, and every Wednesday at 8 p.m. popular local TJ (trivia jockey) Shannon Donaldson hosts an always raucous evening of competitive team trivia, where winners receive gift certificates to the bar.

The interior is divided into two sections by the bar that runs through the middle. The side closer to the front door is a lighter area that's nonsmoking during the day and looks more like a restaurant/diner. The other side is darker and smokier with video poker machines and a pool table.

The basic bar menu, highlighted by the $11 sirloin, expertly charred on the outside and beautifully rare inside, has a few unexpected touches, like a basket of addictive fries tossed with Parmesan, garlic, parsley and malt vinegar.

The burgers are hand-formed and fresh, and the chicken sandwiches are made with care - the French rolls are toasted and moistened with a pestolike spread.

The salads also are above average, made from green-leaf lettuce with radicchio and a creamy tarragon dressing served on the side.

Several TVs with sports, sports and more sports are integral to Peter's success, as are the very cold beers on tap like Budweiser, Mirror Pond, Fat Tire and Stella Artois.

And the moment you're halfway through a beer your waitress will check to see if you need a refresher. Wherever you are in the bar, someone will find you and take your order. Peter's is that friendly.

- Brooke Myers

5710 N.E. Fremont St., 503-460-0544, 11 a.m. to 2:30 a.m. daily