Tigard wine bar offers respite from the usual
by: L.E. BASKOW, Split’s Enomatic system allows tastes without popping for the whole bottle.

Let's call it Friday Night Blinders.

When a group of four sharply dressed bodies headed from the parking lot to Bridgeport Village's Disneyland-like array of shops recently, one voice popped up amid their buzz of party planning to ask where they were going to pre-func.

Romano's Macaroni Grill was suggested by someone, without a second of thought it seemed, and without a second of discussion it was accepted.

Nothing wrong with that chain (or P.F. Chang's, and the throngs it seems to attract), but this handsome group had passed right by one of Portland's own tasty and original wine and nibbles spots, Split.

And when chains become blinding habits, it's really time to consider a switch.

A little more than a year old, Split has warm wooden booths and a central bar that offer a cozy but sleek change of pace.

Split boasts its own technological twist on the blooming wine bar scene, offering a selection of Enomatic wine pours. The vacuum-tight resealing system means you can taste a 2003 Opus One Cabernet blend without having to purchase the entire bottle for around $215.

The roster of specialty drinks includes fruity variations on both the traditional martini and the lemon drop, and a bubbly champagne cocktail.

The bites were concocted with the aid of Noble Rot and Rocket founder Leather Storrs, and small plates include a mountainous chopped salad, a tangy red-pepper cheese dip and lightly battered zucchini fries.

It's a step in a new path toward a tastier weekend.

- Lee Williams

7335 S.W. Bridgeport Road, Tigard, 503-639-5711, 11 a.m. to 11 p.m. Monday-Thursday and Sunday, 11 a.m. to midnight Friday and Saturday, happy hour runs 3 p.m. to 6 p.m. and 9 p.m. to close

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