Living in the beer rich environment of SE Portland means I don't need to go far to find a good place to grab a beer or two. Because I don't need to I often don't unless I'm prompted by someone or some beer. So when I received a prompt* to hit the recently updated Thirsty Lion I took advantage of the opportunity to discover a place I might not have otherwise.
In case you haven't found a reason to stop in yet, the Thirsty Lion is just around a couple of corners from Voodoo Doughnuts downtown, south of Burnside. From the outside it appears to be yet another of the many pubs in the area but upon stepping inside it's not just another bar. The dark, yet elegantly dark, interior makes the idea of settling in, even on a beautiful summer day, seem like the best idea in the world. For the sports fans there are five huge TVs above the bar. For the non-sports fans, the volume isn't so loud that you can't tune it out and focus on your companions.
Part of their update includes adding more tap lines, bringing them to 32. Besides ordering a pint, the indecisive or new to Portland beers, can order a flight of three, 4.5 oz samples for a reasonable $5. The tap list ranges from a few macros (PBR and Coors Light) to familiar Oregon breweries (10 Barrel, Double Mountain and more) and spans a variety of styles, providing something for just about every taste.
On the food front they offer a fairly common range of items including a bar staple, Scotch eggs. These aren't your run of the mill Scotch eggs. These are quite possibly the most delicious iteration I've ever had and I had to resist ordering a few more plates after I'd made short work of the first one.
Instead I decided to give one of their slider trios a try and selected the pulled pork variety. Sliders can be good, sliders can be overpriced cop outs, but rarely are sliders delicious like these were. The sauce was heavily peppered and paired well with the creamy coleslaw atop the meat. Both were sandwiched between perfectly squishy buns that molded themselves around the ingredients, saving them from being casualties scattered about the plate.
There were only a couple dark clouds that keep the experience from being better. 1) They were out of four tap beers including two IPAs, my favorite style. 2) The service, although exceptionally polite and friendly, was slower than I would have expected for a Sunday afternoon. Those two things are easily fixable and hopefully I just caught them on an off day.
So the next time you're looking for a convenient, central location to meet up with friends for some beers and food, maybe to watch some soccer, keep the Thirsty Lion in mind. Just don't forget to order the Scotch eggs.
*Full disclosure: My food and drink was provided on a complimentary basis.
The Thirsty Lion will be offering up specials for Oregon Craft Beer Month (July) including a Slider & Flight Combo (3 sliders + 3 beer samples) and other beer/food pairings.