UNFORTUNATELY, CLOSED! Gold lit intimate bunker with a refreshing menu of creative house cocktails. Pèpè serves oysters, assorted gourmet bites to curve your hunger, by far the most elusive and stylish drinking den in PDX.
OUR ARTICLEBY: Ryan Kirk Contributing writer
Nestled below Clyde Common and underneath the Ace Hotel is Pepe Le Moko, a true cocktail bar offering an elite selection of house and classic drinks. The small dimly lit bar, which is named after a 1930s French film, gives you an intimate opportunity to dive into one of Portland’s most respected cocktail menus.
In the flick, Pepe Le Moko is a gangster hiding out in the Casbah from French inspectors. While the Cashbah is in Algiers and probably too far for you to get away to, the bar Pepe Le Moko provides you with just the hideout you are in search of. Upon entrance, you and your party will be guided by a hostess down a flight of stairs and into the basement. Greeting you with the harmonious sounds of jazz, artists like Count Basie and Lester Young are played throughout the tunnel-like vault.
Cocktail bars as a genre can have a reputation for being an intimidating experience. We want to fix that.
Unlike the film, the drink menu is anything but black and white. With names like The Grasshopper, which is made up of crèmes de menthe et cacao, vanilla ice cream, and Fernet Branca, your eyes are forced to at least see in shades of green.
Every detail is accounted for. A 16-foot zinc bar provides a home for your future assortment of empty and full glassware. In the early 1900s, the French used zinc bars to avoid the welting of wood when drinks were overserved or spilt. While it would be a travesty to spill one of these marvelous cocktails, no one with two eyes and a mouth is complaining about a martini being filled to the brim. What was once a point of convenience now stands as a testament of the ideology of getting the most from what you came for.
While Pepe Le Moko finds a home underground, it’s no secret. It may reflect a time of Lucky Strike cigarettes and Three-pieced suites, but it’s no speakeasy. And while it gives you the feeling of being sophisticated and refined, it also gives you the opportunity to relax and taste some of the great cocktails of the early 1900s. To quote Pepe’s cocktail guru Jeffrey Morgenthaler, “Cocktail bars as a genre can have a reputation for being an intimidating experience. We want to fix that.”
Light fare is available to compliment any fresh cocktail. No bad choices to drink, but we highly recommend the grasshopper
The bar is nestled up beneath the bustling hub at Clyde Common, and right around the corner form the Ace
This is where you disappear to warm the soul up on a rainy Portland day
Get to know the House Cocktails here