Bar Review: Jolly Roger – Johns Landing

Parked comfortably between I-5 and the Willamette river in a trendy semi-residential neighborhood the Jolly Roger appears to be a happy place to kick back.

I arrived in the company of friends, with nothing much in mind.  Adjust expectations accordingly.

I would classify this as a Beer Bar.  In the beer friendly environs of Portland the microbrewery is almost as ubiquitous as Starbucks.  It is therefore curious to find places where the PBR and bud light still reign supreme.  There were taps of various well known and well like concoctions but nothing that struck me as being particularly unique.  I’ll let the HopBoxer expand on that at some point.

The bar itself seemed to be poorly laid out for the space.  The door to the walk in freezer was situated smack dab in the middle of the bar area.  This means that shelves have to be built around it, and when the door is opened you can’t traverse the bar putting fully 3/4 of their inventory on the other side.  There was a nice selection of a couple of things. They seemed to have their Svedka selections down pat and more than a few top shelf items to round out.  All of their one off items and liqueurs seemed to be afterthoughts rather than solid inclusions.

Their drink menu offered something nice, each of the staff was allowed to make up a cocktail and put it forward for the public.  A nice touch that gives you an idea of what different people like.

The down-side of this appears to be the limited staff.  I saw two people on staff on a busy pre-holiday four day weekend, with only one behind the bar at any given time.  I chose an interesting sounding drink from the menu and when I asked for it the bartender didn’t seem to know what I was talking about.  I pointed it out on the menu and was told that it was a new menu and they weren’t all familiar with it yet.  When she made the drink she mistook one of the ingredients and I had to point it out to her, not sure how you misread splash of cream as splash of *cran* but there you are.

The atmosphere wasn’t bad, the inside seemed a bit cramped but there were plenty of seats outside on the sidewalk under an awning.  I’d go back just to give them another try but I don’t think it’s going to make anyone’s bucket list.