Bible Club pays homage to the illicit, secretive bars that defined Prohibition. It’s moody, sexy, and sure to slake your thirst for creative craft cocktails. No checks cashed and repeal prohibition!
OUR ARTICLEBY: Andrew Williams Contributing writer
Sexy, secretive, and illicit — welcome to Bible Club.
Between 1920 – 1933 the United States put a constitutional ban on the production, transportation, importation, and sale of libations. With the coast-to-coast proliferation of cocktail bars, it’s hard to imagine there was ever such a moment in American history.
The bar’s sardonic name is a not-so-veiled ridicule of the social experiment that began as a religious movement in the 19th Century: “Praise the Lord and Pass the Booze” — indeed.
Prohibition inspired the opening and operation of thousands of illegal establishments. The era arrived right on the heels of the golden age of the American cocktail (1850 – 1919) when the dogged inventiveness of bartenders fueled the spirituous creations that continue to endure and inventiveness that also gave birth to bitters, a mainstay of modern mixology.
The Bible Club is among the many bars around the country that pay homage to the cunning creativity that laid the foundation for the current craft cocktail explosion.
Low ceilings, moody lighting, blood-red curtains, American flags, a vintage cash register, and nostalgic signage, including signs advocating for the “Repeal” of Prohibition, urging voters to “Win with Roosevelt” and inviting patrons to “Try Wild Cherry Bitters,” capture the zeitgeist of the times, when many huddled in hushed spaces to evade law enforcement and get inebriated.
Bible Club solicits would-be guests to “Step into a world of sinfully delightful beverages, festive jazz, and repealing the 18th Amendment.” It’s a modern time machine, transporting you from Portland, Oregon’s present-day Sellwood neighborhood to the raucous, roaring ‘20s — the heyday of legendary musicians Louis Armstong, Duke Ellington, Ethel Waters, and Jelly Roll Morton.
The libation menu, Known as “The Ten Commandments,” is a litany of liquid nostalgia, from the Holy Smokes (Uncle Nearest Bourbon, Cardamaro, Benedictine, Chocolate Bitters, Laphroaig Scotch Mist), Suzy Sutton (Union Mezcal, Suze, Lillet Blanc, Orange Bitters) to the Ring-a-Ding-Ding (Ardbeg 10 Scotch, Hamilton’s Pimento Dram, Ancho Reyes Verde, Molasses, Cointreau, Angostura Bitters, Aztec Chocolate Bitters).
If you also come to the altar to both slake your thirst and your assuage your hunger, we recommend the pretzel board or the smoked pork plate from the offering of provisions. After all, living in impiety — so to speak — requires the nourishment of the body and soul, and stomach.
Luckily, at the Bible Club — which also has a covered back patio called the Revival — the whiskey flows freely and legally. Still, the fun is the journey — a concept CYTIES knows a bit about.
The Bible Club is open for walk-in seating (no reservations are available) Monday – Saturday, 4 p.m. – 12 a.m., and Sunday 4 p.m. – 11 p.m.
Come for a drink and stay for the revelry.