Bar of the Week: Vendetta
Vendetta has been busy nearly every evening since opening June 9, and with good reason. The formerly industrial space, which still retains cement floors and piping in the ceiling, is bright, friendly and a real blessing for North and Northeast Portlanders wanting a change from North Mississippi Avenue and Northeast Alberta Street.
Vendetta's three owners seem slightly in awe of their immediate success. They met when local real estate agent Craig Olson sold a house to Shaun Semsch, who was working at Adidas but dreamed of opening a bar. Both Olson and Semsch thought that North Portland needed a stylish but inexpensive watering hole, and they decided to go for it, asking Casey Carl to join them.
Although Vendetta has attractive art and Danish/recycled furniture, there still are a few rough edges - literally. Some of the refurbished tables could use a little more sanding and the floor has an insidious divot that I've watched more than one patron trip on (the owners say a railing for the area is on the way).
The Vendetta sign has yet to arrive as well, so look for the neon red 'R' for Rainier, which they plan to always have on tap, along with rotating locals like Roots IPA. There are both domestic and Mexican canned and bottled beers as well, like Miller High Life (making a resurgence all over Portland), Pabst Blue Ribbon tall boys and Tecate.
Vendetta has a full bar, something of a rarity for NoPo, but the wine list could use some work; there's only one white, a chardonnay - some dry sauvignon blanc or Orvieto would be nice for summer.
The small but appealing menu has a Mexican-vegetarian twist. The most expensive menu item, a cilantro and citrus tofu sandwich with garlic habanero sauce, is $6. The $4 nachos are exceptionally healthy tasting for bar food, made with whole pinto beans and fresh, garlicky salsa. You also can get the complete protein meal of Cuban black beans with achiote rice and a side salad for $4. A pint glass of peanuts is $2.
While the large interior gets so much light you almost feel like you're outside, Vendetta's patio is one of the prettiest in Portland. Arranged around unusual container gardens, it's large enough to take a 'Pride and Prejudice'-style constitutional around (be careful though, the patio is gravel-lined, an absolute death trap in heels). Vendetta is nonsmoking indoors, but the picnic tables outside have ashtrays.
And consider the pièce de résistance, a vintage '60s shuffleboard table.
- Brooke Myers
4306 N. Williams Ave., 503-288-1085, 3 p.m. to 1 a.m. daily