Portalis – Ballard



5205 Ballard Ave NW | Ballard

Open: 4-11 T-Th, 4-12 F, 12-12 Sat, 12-10 Sun, closed M
Happy Hour: 4-6 M-F

Having just stuffed our faces at King’s Hardware, the three of us didn’t have to travel far for our second bar of this sunny (but chilly) Sunday—Portalis. This wine bar and shop is quaint yet sophisticated: a wooden bar with a brick-wall backdrop offsets walls painted in bold, solid hues of cerulean, rust, olive, scarlet, slate, and goldenrod, while innocuous abstract paintings by local artists, blown glass bottles, and track lighting make for effortless finishing touches.

The attraction principale is the in-store wine shop consisting of two aisles of racks stationed behind the patron side of the bar, making you feel as though you are hanging out in a rich friend’s wine cellar (or the wine section at QFC). From here you can purchase an entire bottle of any wine you fall in love with.

A soundtrack of light, girlie indie/alternative music suitable for Lilith Fair and Dawson’s Creek perhaps prompted the girls to converse about lipstick and their favorite TV gossip-dramas. This wasn’t a problem for Adam, however, as he sat back and enjoyed a Washington red blend in a goblet almost as large as his face.

Samantha sipped a sparkling white, and Mandy sampled from a flight of merlot-based blends, consisting of two from Washington and one from France, built of our server’s recommendations.

HU_orange HEADS UP  

If you love wine but don’t have the time or knowledge to make your own selections, Portalis has two Wine Club options to fit a small or large budget. Membership gets you two or three bottles, selected by owner Jens, sent to your door monthly.


Having a hard time choosing just one wine? Build your own flight—just like Mandy—for $2.75 per one-ounce pour. Not feeling wine at all? No worries—Portalis also has a few spirits and beers for you.

restrooms_Orange RESTROOMS

Private, identical his-and-her restrooms feature large mirrors for you to check and see how purple your lips and teeth are after a glass of red.


Next time we’ll have to come here without filling up on burgers beforehand so we can try out their small plates and desserts paired with their suggested wines.


bar 2 of 2 on 1/26/14: King’s Hardware | Portalis


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