Many visitors to Raven & Rose assume the bar that’s immediately apparent upon entering is the establishment’s main watering hole. However, if you follow the hallway to the right of the main dining area, you will find a staircase hidden behind a wall in the corner of the restaurant. Upstairs is arguably one of the best bars in Portland: The Rookery. There are numerous reasons why I love this bar, but the number one reason I bring all of my out-of-town guests here is the cocktails. The Rookery takes craft cocktails to a whole new level, and the mixologist behind them is arguably the best in Portland. The custom cocktail menu changes seasonally and everything is good. The bar atmosphere (and the history behind the it) is equally as impressive. The space features a fireplace, leather couches, a billiards table and a custom-made bar.
Raven & Rose is located in the historic Ladd carriage house, and the Rookery is actually the hayloft of the carriage house. I stop by most Wednesdays for a drink on my way home from work (and to celebrate the milestone of making it halfway through the week). One evening I was sitting next to a woman who, after a short conversation, I learned was the owner’s mother. The woman then proceeded to tell me the history of the house, which is fascinating and makes you appreciate the place even more.
The house was destined for demolition to make way for its (now) next-door neighbor, Ladd apartment building. However, the Portland historical society said “no no” since the carriage house was the last remaining structure from the Ladd Estate (if you’re not a Portland local and have no idea who William Ladd is, he was a Portland business and civic leader back in the 1880’s. What is now downtown Portland was his entire estate. Long story short, he was a big deal). So, in order to preserve the house, it was placed on a huge trailer and moved to a parking lot down the street, where it temporarily resided during construction of the 23-story apartment building.
Soon after the building was returned to its initial location, the future restaurant owner (who had returned from culinary school in the UK and was looking for a place to start a restaurant) was walking by the house and literally ran into the representing agent who was out for a jog. She purchased the house, did a tiny bit of remodeling (while preserving the initial design and structure) and opened Raven & Rose in 2013.