Tanuki413 NW 21st Ave Portland, OR 97209 Northwest Portland
(503) 241.7667 - Visit Website
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BarFly's Review of Tanuki
Tanuki, like almost every bar in its silly 21st Street neighborhood, is hamstrung by noise laws that keep it mum in the mid-early evening. We’ll do it the credit of blaming its neighborhood, then, for its 9:30 pm closing time when it otherwise thinks of itself predominantly as a sake-crazed Izakaya. Because aside from its early shutting hour, Tanuki is simply one of the nicest sake-sushi joints in town, especially during its notoriously generous happy hour.
Like the Japanese bars of movies, it is dark and unfit for children, filled with small happy-hour dishes and cheap-enough sake shots or carafes. It is, quite simply, Portland’s best moody nourish approximation of a hangout for a Beat Takeshi or Wong-Kar-Wai character before their inevitable downfall. It is named for a folk-Japanese trickster, like the coyote of NW legend; it therefore interacts appropriately with local Orientalist spirit.
That its fatalistic mood leads to nothing but a cheap, happy sake high should be considered not a problem but a virtue. It is a sake bar steeped in ‘70s Polanski and Tokyo romance, a date spot with more ambience than danger, and OK, exactly, fine, perfect: what we have always, always wanted is for movies to trouble our consciousness only to reveal themselves at the last second as unreal. What Tanuki offers is exactly this, and nothing more except the afterglow of damn good food. Pick up the wild boar Niku Dango, and relax.
Tue-Sat 4pm-close (usually around 10ish)
$1+ menu, $2 select beer, 4-6pm Tuesday-Saturday.
Tanuki's Happy Hours
|Monday||No happy hour info available.|
|Tuesday||4pm-6pm $1+ plates, $2 select beer 4-6 pm|
|Wednesday||4pm-6pm $1+ plates, $2 select beer 4-6 pm|
|Thursday||4pm-6pm $1+ plates, $2 select beer 4-6 pm|
|Friday||4pm-6pm $1+ plates, $2 select beer 4-6 pm|
|Saturday||4pm-6pm $1+ plates, $2 select beer 4-6 pm|
|Sunday||No happy hour info available.|
Getting to Tanuki
Reader ReviewsAdd your own review or comment
I was really excited when I walked in; afterall, their edgy: "no kids, no dogs" sign really piqued my interest and the weird zombie movie playing on the screen was a definite curiosity. Once the novelty of the tiny restaurant and it's sparse decor faded however, I was faced with a really strung out waitress who insisted that: despite having no other customers she simply couldn't seat a table larger than 6.
I explained that my friends were very laid back and we wouldn't mind being separated, we'd put some at the bar and some at a nearby table. She agreed, until they all arrived, at which point she and the owner simply panicked at the idea of making any more money and refused to let two members of our party sit down at a nearby vacant table (we already had 5 at the bar).
The food was good, and the happy hour prices were fine, but it was nothing really special. Except for the novelty of it being "Japanese", it is the equivalent of charging money for a bowl of peanuts or other side dishes that generally come with your entrée.
As a side note there is very little choice for vegans and vegetarians.
We decided to go up the street to Blue Moon, who was happy to take our money and sit us all together, despite being quite busy.
I would consider going back, but probably not very seriously.
Overall Rating of Tanuki
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