Portland’s North Mississippi Neighborhood has become a very trendy place. There are numerous interesting restaurants, pubs, condos and shops. At the northern part at the corner of Skidmore and Mississippi Ave. stands what appears to be a somewhat sterile modern building. This is Prost, but don’t let the external appearance fool you.
Prost is a classy German-style pub with both Portland and Seattle locations. The name is the German equivalent to the English toast “Cheers.” (“Bottoms Up” is “Zum Wohl.”) We were there on a Wednesday night and it was jammed – the second anniversary of the Portland bar was that weekend (October 28th) and undoubtedly, the crowd spilled out into the large beer garden, which has heaters in the winter and ample space.
There are all kinds of old photos on the wall, many of which are from the one of the co-owner’s (Chris Navarra) home town in Germany. All “bier” is imported from Germany and there were eight selections on the menu plus three rotating taps. We liked the Bitsburger Pilsner and the darker Spaten Optimator – which sounded cool just ordering it. There were also a nice selection of bratwurst sandwiches and salads.
Unfortunately for those in my group, the German origins of Prost compelled thebeerchaser to tell the international monetary joke from George Will’s column the day before, to wit: A Spaniard, a Greek and an Italian walk into a bar one night. They drink until dawn. Who picks up the tab?
Answer = The German
Harkening back to college, Prost is a pub with the type of atmosphere that would allow you, after one beer, to forget about the term paper due the next day – until you weaved out several hours later.
Prost has a “Stein Club Membership” for overachiever beer drinkers. A punch card (with 50 pints checked off) will “earn” the individual a shirt and there are eight levels of progress. For example at five cards – a plaque on the “Wall of Bier” and you can slosh you way to 30 cards, which is a custom Prost jacket. After 1,500 pints, I’m sure they’re only available in extra-large.
The small plaques – there were about 20 – on the entrance wall are a nice touch and have the drinker’s name, the date the feat was accomplished and a quote for humanity e.g. Karl Johnson, Feb. 2011 “Wise Beyond my Biers,” or Robert Bennett, April 2011 “Beauty is in the eye of the Bierholder.”
The most fun and interesting event that night for our group of six was buying a 2 liter glass boot for $18 – plus a $50 breakage deposit! The custom is that once purchased, the boot has to be passed within your group and cannot touch the table. We didn’t ask about the consequences, but that was no problem for us.
We were advised to point the toe towards you when you drank or you would have bier stains on your torso. Given the name of the pub, it is fitting to end the review of Prost with a toast.
For every wound – a balm.
For every sorrow – cheer.
For every storm – a calm.
For every thirst – bier.