Multnomah Whiskey Library
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The details at work in Alan Davis and Greg Goodman's new West End drinking room are seemingly too numerous to count. The 55-seat, second-story, windowless room—with its wooden smell, brick walls, leather sofas, area rugs, library lamps, and 1930s and ‘40s-era jazz standards—is peerless. Servers don't serve you—bartenders do: They pour your fingers and build your cocktails tableside from spirit-stocked mobile handcarts. They'll also help you choose what to drink if you're feeling overwhelmed. While an approachable cocktail, wine, beer and spirit menu is present, the library's comprehensive spirits catalogue, overseen by Portland bartender Tommy Klus, lists 80 rums, 100 tequilas, and approximately 1,000 Scottish, American, Canadian, Irish, Japanese and Australian whiskeys. When you ask for eats—chef Derek Hanson helms a menu featuring Scotch eggs, braised oxtail with bacon-wrapped plums, and salmon, smoked over Scottish peat, and served with caviar, celery root and fingerling potatoes—a green bulb on the wall lights up, quietly indicating to the staff that your order’s ready. Lines can be long and waits lengthy, but once you're seated, you’ll feel at peace. And although the whiskey should take the edge off, your anxieties will also peel away simply sitting in the room. The library's dark on Mondays, except to annual members who have a chance to learn about—and taste—whiskeys from around the globe. Chad Walsh, 11/5/2013