View Full Version : New Bond Bar in Portland
01-24-2010, 10:33 AM
I read a review for a new martini lounge here in Portland, done up in a Bond theme.
I went there a week ago. It has promise. So far, it's disappointing.
Maybe the niche is too small? Are there really enough Bond-fans out there to financially keep this sort of a business sustainable?
01-25-2010, 11:54 AM
Enough fans? Yes. Enough fans that can afford to freqent the establishment? Probably not.
01-25-2010, 07:04 PM
So here's the problem:
It's clearly designed to attract and celebrate Bond-mania.
The menus gloriously capture the franchise history, providing bios for the Bonds and the Bond women. Drinks are named for the various actors, along with narrative explaining the whys. A minor point, but it is maybe a tad bit OTT - the selections and pricing are easily lost in the multi-paged menu/fact book. It's a minor point to quibble over. I'd rather give them an A+ for caring to do this and do it with heart.
Sadly, it almost seems all the passion was spent on the menus.
Once you get past the front door and the stylistic Bond logo/business name - it gets all generic. Sure, there is a big screen TV playing various Bond clips. But it is drowned-out by the excessive and tedious 80's pop-dance mix blaring over the speakers.
Given the theme promoted, I expected SOMETHING Bond on the walls: poster collections, artwork, props (or facsimiles). ANYTHING to suggest Bond. Or maybe Cold War kitsch? UNCLE motifs? Spools of reel-to-reel tapes? How about a bookcase of Fleming memorabilia? Scuba gear hanging on the walls? A Q-branch wing?
Instead, Blade and I gave a casual and passing glance to the featured local artist paintings on the wall. The theme? Hammers and saws. More fitting for an all-you-can-eat buffet with sawdust on the floor.
The love seat in front of the fireplace was inviting and comfortable, But then again, the atmosphere was indistinguishable from any one of dozens of generic wine bars (its former setting).
I pondered this question then, and I still am no closer to an answer: Is the owner right to keep it generic and try to appeal for the broadest audience possible? Or should he jump fully in - go all out with the theme and risk alienating non-fans?
We went there two Saturday nights ago and hung out for a couple of hours. I recall a total of maybe four other customers during that entire period. Really nice place, warm inviting atmosphere, tasteful (albeit generic) decor, nice furnishings, relaxing color scheme. Great neighborhood.
It's worth revisiting, but as a "Bond" celebration, it felt empty.
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