Lo Bar is located within the Hi-Lo hotel so when I received the opportunity to stay here, I definitely had to give it a try. I want to note that this is first and foremost a bar. They do have a formal, sit down restaurant (Alto Bajo) but the Lo Bar serves food as well. The bartender was over within minutes to take my order and he was super friendly. I honestly don’t have one bad thing to say about anyone at the hotel/bar which is surprising since I’m so nit picky.
It’s hard to rate service within a bar because the bartender is trying to do 20 million things at once. I was able to place my order and I didn’t really need anything else throughout my dinner besides water. I drink my water so quickly, I literally have to ask for water within.. 10 minutes of sitting down. When I needed water, I just made eye contact with the bartender and asked. The bonus to having the bartender take your order is that, you can just ask aloud and don’t need to wave anyone down.
Can I tell you how dope the vibes are in this hotel/bar? The decor is somewhat simple with bright pops of color. You also can’t go wrong with a marble and gold theme and that, right there, is classic chic with a vintage feel. The windows within the hotel lets in so much light (even on a gloomy day) and makes the space feel huge.
The area is completely open and so is the seating which means you could sit and enjoy your food anywhere in the lounge. I recommend sitting at a table because it can get messy BUT, that doesn’t mean you can’t sit and drink on the swing. Yes, you heard me, SWING. I also like that this bar & hotel are located in the heart of downtown, it’s the best for people watching. Don’t lie, we all do it.
There was no wait to be seated since it is an open bar and probably 50 feet from the elevator. The bartender came within minutes to get drink and food orders. I rarely get drinks but I for sure needed time to look over the food. The bartender came back about 5 minutes later and I got to place my order.
It took around 10 minutes for my first plate to come out (crudo) and the plates continuously came, one after the other. I don’t even think I waited on any of my plates besides the initial crudo and my dessert. To my surprise, the Chef came out with the dessert to explain what was in the dessert since it was new to the menu. I was impressed with the amount of detail that went into each dish.
Lo Bar serves up modern Mexican food and I love ordering a variety. They actually just switched over the menu so I was open to anything that was new. I ordered the crudo (tuna), elotes, the hanger steak, chile relleno, and the Miami vice. I can’t forget to mention the drinks and the reason why I say this is because of all the collaborations that go into each drink. Whether it be their wine or beer, they pair with local wineries/breweries to create custom drinks for the bar. I thought this was pretty cool since I’m a native Portlandian.
The crudo was delicious, light and had a nice citrus kick with the tomatoes and onions. It was definitely great as a starter but I could eat crudo all day, everyday. The elotes was my favorite which may sound so odd because it’s corn but I couldn’t get enough of the crunch and sweetness to it. The hanger steak was my cousin’s favorite. The rojo mole gave a little spicy kick to the tender steak slices but it’s pretty mild if you’re not a spice person. Pairing the steak and rice in a corn tortilla was so satisfying, it’s what Mexican flavors are all about.
I was excited to try the chile relleno because I rarely get to have it and I must say, the smoked goat cheddar was delicious! The chile itself was actually pretty spicy but it was a good kind of spice. This is a great vegetarian option being filled with greens and other delicious veggies. Finally, the Miami vice dessert was last and I was impressed how similarly it tasted to the drink. What got me was the cactus jelly which I’ve never had before. It gave the dessert a nice tang and was like any other type of jelly. It was safe to say, we devoured the entire dish.
This isn’t your typical bar food, they take modern Mexican food seriously. Sure, you could get tacos/ burritos but what’s the fun in that? If a bar is serving up crudo, you know it’s more than just bar food. At the very least, get something to sip on and enjoy the space and conversation with the friendly staff.