For CP#1’s 10th birthday, our family decided to venture into Portland for the afternoon and treat ourselves to homemade sodas at Vena’s Fizz House. The cozy corner soda bar, which is located on Fore Street, is open to all ages. And while Vena’s specializes in mocktails and cocktails (served only from 7-11 p.m.), the menu has craft sodas and lemonades for the younger set.
When we arrived, a group of tourists and friends were enjoying drinks, and a young couple at a high hat table sat beside us. MP and the kids scanned the menu and decided on a Blackberry Coconut Fruit Fizz, a Raspberry Lime Rickey made with fresh-squeezed lime juice, and a chocolate cream soda naturally sweetened with honey.
Former middle school teacher Steve Corman, who co-owns the soda shop with his wife Johanna, stopped by our table to say hello. CP#1 told him she’d chosen Vena’s to celebrate her big day. “I’ll probably see you back here in 11 years,” he said to her, grinning from ear to ear. And then noted to MP, “We host a lot of 21st birthday parties.”
While we waited for our drinks, we watched our waiter work magic at the bar, and took in our surroundings. The retro papered walls nearest to our table were adorned with a fun collection of vintage serving trays. The bar itself has shelves lined with bottles of bitters, simple syrups, glasses to suit any drink, colorful stirrers and straws, and books on mixology.
Our drinks arrived in Mason jars. MP’s Blackberry Coconut Fruit Fizz was literally bubbling over at the top. The flavor of tart berries was well balanced with the coconut and vanilla honey syrup. The kids ended up switching drinks — CP#1 preferred the refreshing, summer taste of the Raspberry Lime Rickey over the sweeter chocolate cream soda, and her brother kindly obliged (it was her birthday, after all).
All of us loved our time at Vena’s. We’re looking forward to sharing our discovery with friends and family this summer!
PS: If you’re visiting without kids, don’t miss Vena’s Mixology shop, which is stocked with nearly everything a person would need for their home bar, plus beautiful vintage barware.
And… an old-fashioned ice cream parlor in Ocean Park.