Above the streets and sidewalks of Portland is Departure, a place of bright lights, slick surfaces, and wonderful cocktails. Departure is easy to overlook. It is culturally, aesthetically, and elevation-ally removed from our city of wood-and-brick brewpubs, but that's also exactly what makes it so good. The cocktails (many with Asian-fusion notes) play with sweetness, spice, herbs, and sauces, and the quality of the drinks more than back up the high-end image of the bar. If anything, the drinks make the stark, upscale atmosphere seem like mere prelude to the actual show that's happening in your glass. Above Portland, sipping a sake cocktail and gazing across the cityscape, Departure does feel like another, higher world. JOE STRECKERT
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