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Two new Portland bars are already among America’s best, according to Esquire

By Jashayla Pettigrew,


PORTLAND, Ore. ( KOIN ) — A couple of businesses in Portland’s lively bar scene have received recognition for being among the nation’s top drinking establishments.

For 18 years, Esquire magazine editors have sipped their way across the U.S. to find the Best Bars in America . The 2023 edition of the list features hotel bars, space-themed watering holes, and even a spot you can find on the Walt Disney World boardwalk.

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For Portlanders, though, there are two particular bars of note.

A North Mississippi Avenue bar that opened last July, Mendelssohns , was the first Rose City business highlighted by Esquire . The bar is classical-music themed, and offers cocktails inspired by the genre — including the “Bach Talk” and “Picardy Third.”

Mendelssohns also serves food, hosts performances by classically-trained musicians from the Oregon Symphony and other local music groups, and hosts “operaoke” nights.

One Esquire editor says the bar “should be a hot mess of music nerds,” but the concept works due to the talented musicians who perform and the patrons who frequent the bar.

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The other Portland establishment that was featured is even newer to the city’s drink scene. Owned by Kann’s James-Beard-award-winning chef Gregory Gourdet, Sousòl bar opened in late September.

Sousòl, which is Haitian-Creole for “basement,” is located beneath Gourdet’s Haitian eatery that was previously named a Best New Restaurant .

“It is the Jungian shadow to Kann, but the room feels like a less sinister Upside Down, so thick with atmosphere the air almost sparkles,” an Esquire editor wrote of the bar. “Color pops, from pink velour sofas and from a cocktail list touching upon the same pan-Caribbean diasporic palate as his food.”

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Sousòl’s menu additionally includes wine, beer, zero-proof drinks, and Caribbean small bites.

In the 2022 edition of Best Bars in America, Northwest Portland’s Takibi was featured on the list.

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