Cocktail To-Go Club: “Get Fixed” With a Car Themed Drink at Shifters – Blogtown

Drinkers, start your engines!

Drinkers, start your engines! Janey Wong

Newly opened (like really new… I happened to go in on opening day last Wednesday) Shifters is the sister bar to next door pizzeria Humdinger. The properties are connected by a hallway and an ode to car culture, with all the pizzas and drinks bearing motor inspired names.


Humdinger and Shifters were opened by long-time residents of the Lents neighborhood Chad and Dana Rennaker. The neighborly vibe comes through from appearances by brewery-around-the-corner Zoiglhaus on the tap list and in the grab and go cooler, and a Dillon the Pickle bobble head perched on the cash wrap. (Dillon being the briny mascot of the Portland Pickles baseball team whose home turf is Lents Park’s Walker Stadium.)

When the owners’ other business Ascendant Beer Company went into a furlough, they tapped bar manager Amy Villarreal to head up the bar program at Shifters. Fresh squeezed juices play a starring role in her modern twists on Prohibition-era and old school cocktails. “We want them to pair with the pizzas but also stand apart from the pizza,” she says. Currently also the only bartender, Villarreal is having fun shifting gears in her new playground.

Fun things like weekly specials and game nights are in Shifters’ future. A few large pickling jars are idling on a shelf behind the bar, and Villarreal says that she’s working on some in-house bitters and shrubs. The mixologist thrives on innovation, or as she puts it “the science-y side of bartending,” and always welcomes customer input.

I went home with the “Thunderbird” (Benchmark Bourbon stirred with house jalapeno simple syrup, muddled pineapple chunks, and pineapple juice) after Villarreal gushed that it was her favorite. The whiskey really revs up the cocktail, and the simple syrup provides complexity but not much spice.

The cheese slice I had to accompany my drink was massive; I’d venture it was even equal to the size of some personal pizzas out there. There are some instances in…

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Cocktail To-Go Club: “Get Fixed” With a Car Themed Drink at Shifters – Blogtown