Having A Post-Flight Date Night At Portland Airport, Courtesy Of Priority Pass

Filed Under: Travel

Priority Pass has been getting creative lately in terms of the “lounges” they’re adding to their network, and there’s nowhere that’s more evident than Portland Airport. In the past few months Priority Pass has added House Spirits Distillery and Capers Cafe to their network, both of which are in Terminal C at Portland Airport.

Priority Pass ordinarily gets you access to lounges, though since these aren’t traditional lounges, you instead get a $28 per person credit at each of these places.

Ford and I are spending a few days in Portland, and my main motivation for the trip was to review the Priority Pass lounge offerings at Portland Airport. Ford has never been to Portland, though, so exploring the city with him was a nice secondary reason.

Originally our plan was to arrive at the airport way early for our flight out of Portland, but when we landed at Portland Airport Wednesday evening, we found the airport to be really quiet.

Ford knows how important reviews are for me, and also how much easier my “job” is when a place is empty rather than full. We had a nice dinner reservation in Portland for 8PM, though secretly I had different plans, and I knew I’d have to use the foot-in-the-door technique for it to work.

We still had a date night of sorts, just on slightly more avgeek and budget friendly terms than Ford was expecting (it was free, minus tips). As we walked towards the terminal exit, I said “hey, that’s the distillery I wanted to review. It’s totally empty right now, why don’t we stop there to have a pre-dinner drink, and I can knock out the review at the same time?” Ford was totally onboard.

This place was awesome. They even have a special $28 menu, clearly targeted at Priority Pass members. However, that includes a lot of alcohol. The $28 per person option comes with a tasting of five spirits, plus two cocktails.

Like, uhhhh, that’s a lot of alcohol, especially for a liquor-lightweight like me. So while I initially told Ford it would be quick, we ended up sitting there for an hour talking, enjoying our drinks, and frankly, getting a bit tipsy.

We both agreed we were fairly tired (I had gotten up at 4AM and usually go to bed by 8PM), so a dinner past my bedtime sounded like a real stretch.

Much to my surprise, Ford suggested we go to the restaurant in the airport that he knew I wanted to review. So we went to Capers Cafe, which was just a short walk from the distillery.

Perhaps not the most charming ambiance for a date night, but we still had a damn good time. We each ordered a glass of New Zealand sauvignon blanc (and at $7, it was quite a deal), a kale salad with chicken, and beef chili.

While we hadn’t been doing the math in our heads, the total came out to $55, just a dollar under our $56 limit.

Lastly we stopped by the Alaska Lounge, also using Priority Pass. I wish I could say it was for dessert or an after dinner drink (it would make a better story), but the reality is that we were stuffed and also sufficiently “hydrated.” Instead it was just to snap some pictures of the lounge, given that it was fairly empty, which is rare.

Thanks for a fun night, Priority Pass! And stay tuned for the reviews of each of these individual Priority Pass locations, which I’ll be publishing over the coming days. It might not sound like the most romantic night, but we had a really, really fun time.

  1. @lucky,

    Romance is sharing an experience you both have an interest in. If that’s candle lit dinners in Paris, so be it. For me and my girl, it’s sneaking a bunch of wine into last night’s premier of IT. If it’s having enough of a buzz to wander around an airport half sideways, all the better. Make it your own, bro.

  2. @ Lucky – if you’re in Portland for a few days, try to make it to Blue Star Donuts. They are life changing and probably the best anywhere in the world. The blueberry bourbon basil is my favorite as well as the passion fruit cocoa nib and cinnamon horchata.

    If you want a really great meal and nice date with Ford I would recommend Andina.

  3. Sure. .. ..

    While we hadn’t been doing the math in our heads, the total came out to $55, just a dollar under our $56 limit.

  4. “Like, uhhhh, that’s a lot of alcohol, especially for a liquor-lightweight like me.”

    So then you ordered even more alcohol at dinner?

  5. @ Debit — Hah, I know it sounds suspicious, but I ordered the only New Zealand sauvignon blanc because that’s my go to white wine. Then Ford actually ordered the food, and I said I just copied his order. I don’t even think he knew what exactly the limit was. So I swear it was a coincidence.

  6. That actually sounds like a fun time. Most importantly, it was time spent together having fun doing what you wanted to do. That’s important!

  7. @Lucky, does Priority Pass allow access on arrival or without a boarding pass? Is it something specific to these restaurants?

  8. I was at PDX two weeks ago with my boss. He has only Amex Gold and I treated him to the benefits of Platinum – Centurian access at SEA, and then Capers st PDX. They offer very decent bottles of wine for <$35. We also had some oysters and a delicious mezzo platter. Excellent food and value even if we weren't inside an airport and even if we weren't getting (mostly) everything comped.

    My flight was delayed another hour and my boss had already caught his. I wandered over to the Distillery and tried their cocktails. They were truly excellent. When it was time to head to my gate I couldn't believe how sloshed I'd gotten at the airport. Thanks, PrioityPass! 🙂

    Btw… I concur with all the above pdx recommendations. Andina is a gem. And nothing beats the Driftwood Room at the Hotel deLuxe for a chill Rat Pack era cocktail lounge.

  9. Where can I find all the airport restaurants that have this deal? Is there a list?

    And i wonder if the wait staff get fed up with people spending $30 and giving a 15% tip on the $2 net bill

  10. @Martin, surely you wouldn’t leave a 15% top on a net bill? I can’t imagine anyone fooling themselves into thinking that is the right thing to do – unless one doesn’t tip regardless.

  11. Matt, I would not but I wonder if some do, esp foreign visitors

    And of course it’s not normal to tip in the lounges themselves, so I wonder if some people might see these restaurants more like a lounge

  12. @ Martin — I tipped on the full amount, and I think that’s the only right thing to do. Overall they all seemed happy about the extra business they were getting through Priority Pass. As of now there are restaurants in Portland, Sydney, London Gatwick, Denver, and maybe some others?

  13. Thanks, Lucky

    I guess there still aren’t enough of these restaurant deals yet to justify them being on the PP website in the way that the lounges are. Be nice to see the website list them by airport though. Otherwise you just have to know about them.

  14. All the restaurants (and yes I went to Terminals C and D) seemed very happy with the arrangement. Only once was I asked to show a boarding pass. At times when my total was less than $28 they asked if I wanted to add stuff, I think that shows the good deal they’re getting. The only bummer is that the priority pass processing machine is sometimes slow or broken at one of the restaurants. But otherwise this is an awesome deal.

    When I went to the Alaska Lounge for the full quad-redemption I saw an elderly couple who were trying to see if any cards they had would qualify them. The agent said, “You need a card like his” (pointing at me.) Feeling magnanimous on behalf of Chase, I said, “You look like nice folks, add them on as my guests.”

  15. I have been to 2 LGA,LAS GREAT deal with Citi P card worth say $70 so far to me 10 months to Go !!!

  16. Regarding lower prices at PDX, I think the city has an ordinance that if you have more than the one location, you cannot charge higher prices at PDX than you do off airport.

  17. Lucky, please let Ford know that our city looks a lot better when there isn’t ash falling from the sky and the sun isn’t a menacing red color lol. Glad to see you visited the Japanese Gardens. I’d second the Blue Star recommendation as well as Andina if you have the chance. Wonderful Peruvian cuisine.

  18. That’s actually a photo of our Chinese Gardens in NW Portland. I highly recommend a visit to the recently expanded Japanese Gardens above the Rose Gardens in Washington Park. Enjoy your visit here….and go have a meal at Little Bird!!!!!!!

  19. Hi Lucky. Hope you enjoy PDX. If you want to see a show at either Dante’s or Star Theater (or even partake in the infamous Stag PDX) DM me on my Twitter or email. I’m one of the co-owners of each of the first two music venues and I live downtown. We have OTT at Star Theater tonight.

  20. Hello, I don’t know if anyone is going to return to read the comments on this one Portland article, but I’ve created a Google Group if anyone wants to try to arrange a meetup in Portland. It’s called “One Mile PDX”. I’m sure there is a better way to reach people by the power of the internet, but it’s a start. If there’s interest we can come up with a better way to organize it later. See you here.

  21. Hey Lucky. I did just this exact same thing two weeks ago. When I looked up PDX Priority Pass options on their site, I was amazed to find so many options that I took advantage of all of them. Both on my arrival and departure flights. Saved a lot of money thanks to PP!

  22. You didn’t give any indication whether the chili or salads were any good. No sense in stopping just because it’s free.

    And 75 cents extra EACH for a tablespoon of onions ON CHILI would piss me off, even if PP was paying for it.

  23. Y’all are such a great couple. This is awesome. Also super jealous of the PDX OMAAT meetup. Somehow I doubt there are as many readers from Alabama. Y’all have fun though!

  24. Are we having a PDX Meetup? Hope your having a great time. We’re recently returned to our hometown of Vancouver, WA and loving it.

  25. I went to Capers at PDX a few weeks ago. Excellent deal. Had a light lunch and we both bought a large boxed salad and iced coffee for the plane, total came to not much over the PP limit for the two of us. Our waiter encouraged us to buy more stuff to get it over the total. Capers has two locations in PDX – I wonder if you can double up by having a meal at one, and then getting a load of takeaway stuff at the other?

    We tipped on the full amount and were probably more generous than normal (20% ish) since we were getting such a good deal – despite being from Europe without big the tipping culture!

  26. Blue star and Voodoo are both overrated. My kids prefer Voodoo with all the weird toppings. Both of them threw away their blue star donuts after a few bites when we tried that.

  27. When I visited Capers at PDX, I was told I could only use my Priority Pass Card once per day so it sounded like I couldn’t also go to House Spirits Distillery. Is that true?

  28. @ Portland Visitor — You can use it once per day at each Capers location and the House Spirits Distillery, maybe. Used all three yesterday without issue.

  29. PDX is also my home network, and even though I’m a skyclub member, the skyclub at PDX is tiny and has beer/wine only. So for my outbound flight a few days ago, I never made to the skyclub, instead opting for a breakfast item and 3 hard liquor items at Capers, just under $28. And yes, I tipped the guy $5 on that… only fair.

  30. Lucky,

    Interesting. So you could actually consume $78 worth of food and drink at PDX for free before your flight? Or after it, presumably? At least for the cost of the tip?

    With a little organization someone could hammer down maybe 9-10 drinks for nothing. Not sure how PP will react the first time there is an on-board drunk incident as a result. But then I guess that’s a risk with free drinks in the lounge anyway.

    Good thing everyone at OMAAT are mature moderate souls . . .

  31. Voodoo is nowhere near the same class as blue star. When I have the buttermilk old fashioned from blue star it’s like an orgasm in my mouth. Voodoo is for tourists, blue star is for lovers.

  32. Also, blue star has a PDX location, so bonus points for that. Can’t wait until they join Priority Pass. Actually, I’ll have to go suggest that to the owner.

  33. The Capers Market is definitely a fantastic deal. Last time I got home, I realized I didn’t have much food in the fridge, so got a bottle of Burnside IPA, a box of strawberries, and Olympia Provisions sausage. Could only be better if the Market started offering Cascade beers. Also the people at Capers Market said that Priority Pass should reset every 1.5 hours. Not sure if that’s true, so I guess I’ll have to arrive early and try to use it twice next time. Anyway it’s quite easy to spend 3 hours at PDX between all the bars, restaurants, and movie theater.

    Lucky, next time you’re in Portland, try to go to Mediterranean Exploration Company. Amazing food!

  34. What a weird article. Not one mention of whether it’s Portland, Maine. Or the airport on the other side of the country, Portland, Oregon. How can a travel person not be aware of both…

  35. @Sam… Well he did not specifically mention Oregon but why does that make it weird? Capers and the Distillery have been mentioned in many blogs recently, so it’s pretty much known which airport they are in for most people who read travel blogs regularly. If you didn’t know which Portland, Google could tell you fairly quickly.

  36. I am P new to the PP PASS…

    Can you serious just buy mad stuff with it? Am I going to get a stupid big bill from going to 3 airport restaurants on it last week?

    I mean I guess Im paying for it through the bank so…


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