The Porter Beer Bar offers great grub and food

Little Five’s Porter Beer Bar is like a dingy old cellar Poe would write about stashing an old friend in. Thankfully, the smell of good eats coming from the quaint eatery’s kitchen isn’t scaring anyone away. 

It’s not as bad as an old root cellar, but The Porter’s window-less dining area and exposed beams provide a gritty, speak-easy atmosphere. The easygoing staff is quick to point out which beers are a must try and are helpful with the novice beer drinker.

Boasting more than 430 beers, The Porter also features vintage beers for purchase. The varieties include beers from all over, including Brouwerij Smisje’ ‘t Smisje Grande Reserva from Belgium and Hitachino’s Red Rice ale from Japan, to fellow L5P foodie/beer spot Wrecking Bar’s Nathan’s 13 Minute Amber.

There are some fun cocktails available for the non beer-drinking patron (which is insane). A white Russian twist dubbed the “The Dude” and the rosemary-infused grapefruit margarita are a couple of highlights. Cocktails are served in quart or pint Mason jars.

You have to get the salt and vinegar popcorn. Have to. The generous portion is fluffy and toxic with a lung-collapsing dose of vinegar. The calamari and goat cheese hushpuppies are pretty tasty too. The Dogfish Head IPA mussels were a bit on the spicy side of things.

The specials this evening included the Farmer Bruise Salad, which featured champagne vinaigrette, homemade mozzarella and pickled strawberries. The salad had great flavor, but the texture of the strawberries was not very pleasant.

Another special: pork tacos were a win-win with kimchi and charred tomatillo salsa. The generous helping of meat was served on three flower tortillas and topped with cilantro and green onions.

The highlight of the night (besides the popcorn) was the celery root ravioli. The celery root puree filling was creamy, sweet and savory. The pasta was tender with a little bit of bite. The oyster mushrooms gave the dish a great earthy flavor that worked great with the rosemary. Sounds a little funky, but the golden raisins were a perfect touch to the earthiness of the dish.

The Porter’s no frills approach to beer and food would be a delight for a seasoned beer connoisseur, or a beer newbie learning the ropes.