It only seems right to inaugurate this blog with a double dose of my favorite things in life: Jewish men and competent bar owners. I’ve been a long time Jew-lover since my teenage mind was infected by Seth Cohen’s geeky charm on The OC. Luckily, stereotypical Jews are a staple in the entertainment industry, providing me with even more fetish fodder – Andy Samberg, Nick Kroll, and Jeff Goldblum. I don’t discriminate between Ashkenazi or Sephardic heritages, just as I have an equal love for the laid back Sweet Hereafter and the trendy Dig a Pony, both located in the inner SE. These two bars are owned by John Janulis and Jake Carey, respectively, who have recently collaborated to open Jack Knife in downtown Portland. Maybe I am out of the loop (doubtful) but I didn’t hear any hype leading up to the opening. For owners who love to charge a pretty shekel for a drink, the Janulis-Carey duo didn’t cash in on their loyal followers’ hefty social media presence. Despite the lack of anticipation, I was still excited to check this place out, so when I found a suitable bro to get a drink with, I knew I had to convince him to meet at Jack Knife.
The Bro Pros:
“Sacha Baron Cohen”
27 years old, but looks 22
Approximately my height
Clinical psychology doctorate student
Ample facial and body hair
Hilarious wit, questionable fashion
7/10 due to his dreamy smile and lips
I’ll admit, I went into this date ill-prepared. As I sat in my car and drank frozen sangria out of a coffee to-go cup, I wondered if a doctorate student in the field of psychology was really for me. I have no issue with the totally-viable field of clinical psychology, it was just the fear that he would instantly be able to see my true self: awkward, arrogant, ingenuous, and resentfully bitter. Thankfully these fears subsided as I imbibed in sangria and motivational self-compliments.
By the time I met Sacha inside of Jack Knife, I knew I had made the right decision. This bar had the effortlessly chic swagger of Dig a Pony but with a cosmopolitan flair. I wasn’t a big fan of how it was connected to the neighboring Sentinel hotel (I have to walk through the lobby to get to the bathroom?! My makeup was not applied for bright lighting…) but it made up for its shortcomings in creative drink names and attractive hipster-clone bartenders. Sacha paid for my drink like a true gentleman. The only awkward hitch of the night occurred when he said “Don’t look now, but I thought that blonde lady by the window was you when I arrived. To check, I texted you and her phone lit up at the exact moment I hit send.” I turned around to look and she was at least 40 with a pixie haircut. Is that what I really look like?! I need to invest in a better mirror. He apologized.
The Bar Pros:
“The Downtown Dig a Pony”
Plenty of room to mingle
Pricey Unique cocktails with clever names
The suburban riff raff haven’t discovered it (yet)
Background noise loud enough to muffle awkward silences
Background noise quiet enough to have a conversation
Jack Knife was still surprisingly empty for a Friday night at 9:00pm. We were a couple of the only patrons when we arrived at 7:30, but during our witty banter, only a mere 30 more had arrived, some of whom had clearly made the hajj from Gresham and Hillsboro and had no fear in displaying their native dress of Ed Hardy and Axe cologne. That is my #1 complaint about Dig a Pony – too many frat bros from Lake Oswego and sketchballs from Gresham. My favorite bar troll is to go up to a guy and say “You’re from Gresham, right?” and watch his ego slowly drain as he whimpers, “What? N..no… Why do you think that about me?” But I was on my best behavior for this date, so no trolling ensued.
I grabbed some ice cream with Sacha and then we amicably parted ways with a hug. Will I see him again? I wouldn’t turn him down. Would I return to Jack Knife? Most definitely… but perhaps a little later in the evening after ample pre-gaming and a more sophisticated ensemble. Think “Friday night foxy” instead of “date night darling.”
Sacha Baron Cohen: 7/10
Jack Knife: 8/10
Update: We went on a second date! Read about it here.