While exploring downtown on a date, I spy an enormous rainbow peeking through the tall buildings and shifting sunlight, ending at the west side of the Willamette river. We hungrily chase the rainbow for blocks, laughing and running through “do not walk” signs, hoping for a better view as it fades into the sky. By the time we get to the waterfront, the rainbow has already disappeared, but our hunger has not. We look up and strike gold – happy hour at H5O is happening now! H5O, located within Hotel 50, and just across the street from the waterfront, has a happy hour that is well priced, filled with fancy people on vacation, and is just blocks from Pioneer Square. I love that H5O has many options for vegetarians and omnivores, and uses loads of local and organic produce in their menu.
Order a mountain of truffle oil french fries ($4), shared easily between two ravenous diners, and ask for the house red ($6), for a generous pour of wine. “The Salad” ($3), is meager but pretty, with a refreshing vinaigrette of honey and shallot. The dungeness crab roll ($5), has some of the freshest crab I have tasted lately, paired with avocado and pickled mango. My date orders (and avidly compliments) the tomato bisque, made with rich cream and organic tomatoes. It arrives a vivid orange color, topped with chopped basil.
Always of fan of a chic pink drink, I order the Cosmo-Not ($8), made with house-infused beet vodka. The visual effect is more similar to a bloody mary (I don’t get to hold a pink drink after all), but tastes fresh and is strong without being overpowering.
Inside H5O, the waitstaff is impeccably dressed, and accommodating for substitutions (some restaurant happy hours will not accommodate menu substitutions, which can make or break your meal options if you have food allergies, like me) The decor is very modern- everything is shiny and new, with placemats that look like a million melted plastic yellow paperclips, and an impressive indoor crushed glass fireplace to sit around when it gets chilly. I am not a fan of the two televisions screens above the bar, or the parking lot view (try to snag a communal bench spot); but overall, the ambiance is high energy, and the music is upbeat. This is a place where you can dress up a bit and be surrounded by others on holiday- ready to jet off for a movie or shopping spree. Fab.
Happy hour is Monday-Saturday, 3-7pm and 9-close, and all day Sunday. Let’s go!
H5O Bistro & Bar
50 Southwest Morrison Street
Portland, Oregon 97204