|Someday Lounge Brief Review|
|Overall||Service||Food Quality||Atmosphere||Vegan Options|
|Location: 125 NW 5th Ave Portland, OR|
|Hours: 4pm-close||Times Visited: 10+|
Come nightfall, there are not many places I’m interested in venturing downtown for dinner, Blossoming Lotus for tempeh and soft serve aside. But for bar food, I’m down.
As is the general trend in Portland, downtown bars offer great food. I’m not saying that the pairing of fake ham log, a teeny slice of vegan cheeze and chipotle sauce glory is a 5 star sandwich, but there’s novelty enjoyment in its cheap pathetic state and I find myself at Tube, XV, and Someday Lounge frequently come happy hour time for casual dinners. Our review of Tube’s long-ass happy hour can be found here, XV’s tale is on the way, and it’s the day for Someday Lounge.
The Someday Lounge is a stylish downtown bar with an all-vegetarian menu. How’s that for starters? It shares ownership and literally a kitchen with the all-vegetarian (and Stumptown Vegan favorite) Backspace Café just next door in Old Town. It’s somewhat dark, but moody in a cool, candle-lit and polished manner, as opposed to dingy and divey. The name ‘Lounge’ is appropriate, as the establishment feeds, imbibes, and entertains with live music, DJs, comedy, art openings, and mixed media events for varying cover charges post happy hour. Its website has a live stream here of their stage. During these shows there is often a limited menu, so don’t have your heart broken when you show up for a Tempeh Reuben during a performance and it doesn’t happen.
Unless you’re in a group, order at the bar, which has an intimately lowered wood ceiling with twinkling, hanging lights. My favorite place to sit is upstairs, above the bar and overlooking the main floor. It’s great for people watching below, both inside and out. The most comfortable seating arrangement upstairs may be the long, modern leather couches, but it is unknown if they’re real. There are also tables that seat two and four. With their vegetarian menu, I cling to the hope the couches are synthetic. On the main floor, there are exposed brick walls, a stage area and low and high tables for two. The bathrooms are located in a separate, upstairs area, and have interesting metal doors. You’ll see what I mean. There are a few tables outside as well, but you must keep alcoholic drinks indoors. That being said, it’s a bar with a happy hour where I’ve never had a problem simply drinking a soda. There is no pesky drink requirement listed on the menu unlike many other places.
The happy hour menu options are almost too good to publicize. I selfishly want to keep them a secret. There are no happy hour drink specials, so order what you will and focus on the food. The vegan options on the menu are admittedly limited for a vegetarian establishment, but the kitchen will veganize certain items that aren’t already vegan. You can find the current happy hour menu online here. The price of the vegan items plus their tastiness is the cause of my glee. Like the at Backspace, which is practically its twin, Someday’s offerings change a bit with each season. The happy hour prices range from $2-$9 and that’s what this review focuses on.
Getting to the actual food – strangely, I’ve rarely witnessed others eating food there, though I know there’s a smidgen of vegan buzz already. As fun as Backspace’s menu is, go next door between 4pm-8pm on weekdays and try a few of the same items for cheaper! It’s perfect for someone who wants a Field Roast sandwich but doesn’t want to see a computer in sight or if you want a cocktail with your dinner. While the neighboring establishments share a kitchen, I’ve whined multiple times about the wait for food at popular Backspace and never at Someday.
One of the highlights of the menu at the Someday Lounge is Seattle’s Field Roast. The company takes pride in its products tasting like the grains and flavors involved – not on fake meat imitation. The Sausage & Peppers ($6 during happy hour) features the herby Italian sausage, sliced in half and grilled with red and green bell pepper and white onion, stuffed into a toasted baguette with a housemade rosemary Vegenaise. The soft and crusty baguettes are always fresh and they should be, they’re from Pearl Bakery down the street. In terms of fake sausage alone, this sandwich gives you bang for your buck during happy hour. That stuff is pricey in stores! As a meal, it satisfies a basic dinnertime appetite, and comes with kettle chips, housemade vegan, wheat free pasta salad or fresh salad greens with a sprinkling of sunflower seeds and a small touch of balsamic dressing. The texture of Field Roast sausages is damn striking and they’re my favorite* ‘fake meat’ on the market.
The Sweetheart Salad is also available at both Someday and Backspace in small and large sizes. The large ($5.50) at happy hour is an ample dinner sized salad with vibrant greens, dried cranberries, house dressing, and tangy, thin strips of marinated tofu. There’s a lot of balsamic flavor going on, so if you’re not a fan, skip this. The Hummus Plate ($6) with cucumber, kalamata olives, and sliced baguette is nothing special, but it’s big. The listed roasted red peppers were subbed with sliced winter-time tomato, but the spread itself had an on-target dose of garlic and came served on an abundant helping of baby spinach that turned it into an actual meal.
Going even cheaper, the Soy Tacos ($4 at happy hour) are two basic soft corn tacos with a tasty tvp-type filling and a small helping of sliced cremini mushrooms, pico de gallo, and vegan cheezy sauce. The tangy, orange cheezy sauce is featured again on the Philly “Steak” ($5.50), which can be made with tempeh or Wild Mushroom Field Roast. This sandwich has the sauce, grilled onions, mushrooms, bell pepper, and shredded pepperocinis and, again, is a delicious bang for your buck downtown. I wish they’d take their cheezy sauce and taco filling and make an official vegan version of their nachos. For $2 you can get yourself a cup of soup and side of baguette, or spend $4 for a bowl. It’s usually vegan and the recent Spicy Tomato was a modest mix of peppered heat and herbs.
The Tempeh Reuben and Curry Tofu Bowl are the most expensive items on the happy hour menu ($9). During my last visit the kitchen was out of the bowl (and the raw Thai Walnut Lettuce Wraps) but they came highly recommended. The Reuben is big and full of juicy, grilled tempeh and I’ve witnessed two dining companions rave during and after they’ve eaten it.
The Someday Lounge has items you could make at home, but for decent prices and with extra-step ingredients like herbed Vegenaise and grilled vegetables you wouldn’t necessarily throw on the everyday sandwich. Check it out if you’re downtown, have $10 in your pocket, and don’t feel like playing hipster or Pearl-goer. This reviewer is clearly an enthusiastic fan.
Tempeh Reuben with pasta salad: