Your Best Nights Begin Here
Explore the Portland with Jeffrey Morgenthaler
The Best Nights section will take you on a local’s tour through the eyes and personal experiences of artists, photographers, bloggers, musicians, etc., showcased in a different city every month. This month, we tour Portland, Oregon with Jeffrey Morgenthaler who shows us how to have the best nights of our lives in his favorite neighborhood.
Scroll down to take a tour with Jeffrey!
with Jeffrey Morgenthaler
Tell us about your journey through the hospitality industry.
I started as a way to pay for school back in 1996. I've been behind the bar ever since. After I graduated and started working in my field (architecture) I realized that tending bar was not only what I was better at, it was what I loved. I moved up slowly over many years and finally landed in fine-dining restaurants making cocktails.
If you only had one day to spend in your city, what are the top 5 things you must see or do?
I’m a big walker, so I can’t imagine spending any time in Portland without doing some sort of informal walking tour. Start downtown and head to the river. From there you can head North or South and do a big loop around the river - I recommend using the foot path below the Steel Bridge to the North, and the pedestrian-only Tilikum Crossing Bridge to the South. After you’ve worked up an appetite, check out any of the food cart pods scattered around the city. They have always been, and continue to be, the best places to experience the rich tapestry of foods from around the world available in Portland. As everyone I’m sure knows, we have some amazing locally brewed beer just about every few blocks here in Portland. You can’t throw a stone without hitting a good one, and if the weather’s nice you can sit outside and enjoy one while the world passes by. Back downtown, we’re also home to one of the best bookstores on the West Coast. Make sure you set aside a few hours, because you’re going to want to explore that place from top to bottom, and it’s nearly impossible to do in short order. And then the last thing I think is a must-do when you’re in Portland is to just get out there at night and experience some of our amazing bars and restaurants. We have so many, and they’re all so fun and delicious. So, pick a neighborhood and really get in there and explore. It’s one of the ways that Portland has always just shined.
Tell us about your first experience with Jägermeister and your favorite way to consume it today.
My second bartending job was in a VFW hall, a Veteran’s Club. We were open to the public, so it was more than just veterans in there at any given time; everyone in the city came out to the Vet’s Club for a drink. The place had been around for decades and had that great old wood-paneled look. Loud jukebox, fried food, low ceilings, blues, and swing bands on the weekends. And front-and-center was the Jägermeister machine pumping out ice-cold shots of Jägermeister. It was what we all drank after work, and I kind of left it behind after I moved on from that bar. But then one fateful night in London back in 2008, as I was really starting to make a name for myself in the cocktail side of the industry, I was introduced to the Jägerita. And I was never the same after that. You can find my story of the first time I tried it on my website, and I really hope you do.
Tell us how to have the ‘Best Night of your Life’ in your city from your perspective.
We are rich in wonderful bars and restaurants in this city, but some of my favorites are up and down Mississippi Street. Get a ride up there, and then spent the evening exploring the entire street full of bars, restaurants, ice cream places, and music venues. It’s one of the liveliest streets in the city.