Cool new bar at Portland International Airport honors women in aviation

Mar 28, 2022

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Portland International Airport (PDX) is well loved for amenities such as a free in-terminal movie theater showcasing short works by local filmmakers, a world-famous carpet, local outposts of cool shops and restaurants and, because it’s in Oregon, no sales tax.

Now, travelers waiting for their flights can sip cocktails, beer and wine in a bar that looks out toward Mount Hood and honors women in aviation.

The 90-seat Juliett opened mid-March at the end of PDX’s new Concourse E extension.

There’s a circular center bar flanked by five tall, tree-like lighting fixtures. And near the bar’s entrance are hard-to-miss portraits by Sara Radovanovitch of four notable female aviators: Bessie Coleman, who was the first African American female pilot; Berta Moraleda, the first woman aviator in Cuba; Mildred “Micky” Axton, the first woman to pilot a B-29; and Portland-born Hazel Ah Ying Lee, the first Chinese American woman to join WASP (Women Airforce Service Pilots) during World War II.

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The bar takes its name from the universal phonetic NATO alphabet that is used in aviation, by the military and police departments and elsewhere to make sure words and letters are clearly understood so as to avoid miscommunication. In that alphabet, Bravo is used for for B, Charlie for C, Papa for P and, since we’re talking bars, Whiskey for W.

Juliett, with that spelling, is the word the NATO alphabet assigns to the letter J.

The Juliett bar serves wines on tap from Portland’s Coopers Hall winery, and cocktails and specially crafted beers that are inspired by the themes of aviation and travel, with names that reference women aviators, their notable accomplishments and some of the organizations they were part of.

The Brave Bess, for example, is named for Bessie Coleman and is a cocktail made with bourbon, cassis, vanilla and citrus. The W.A.S.P. is a riff on a spicy margarita with cucumber agave and melon, says Adam Ohlsson of Lightning Bar Collective, one of the partners that developed the bar.

Related: These are the 11 women in aviation who inspired my career

A half-dozen beers on tap at Juliett were specially crafted by Portland’s Fracture Brewing and include:

  • The Women Airforce Service Pilots (WASP) West Coast IPA: Celebrates the civilian women pilots’ organization tasked with testing and ferrying aircraft, and training pilots so that male pilots would be free for combat roles during World War II.
  • The 99s Golden Rye: This beer’s name is an homage to the Ninety-Nines: International Organization of Women Pilots, a group that provides networking, mentoring and flight scholarship opportunities to recreational and professional female pilots.
  • Hazel Hazy IPA: Celebrates Portland’s Hazel Ah Ying Lee, the first female Chinese American pilot to fly for the military during World War II.
  • The Night Witch Coffee Milk Stout: Honors the all-female 588th Night Bomber Regiment (of the Soviet Air Forces), which dropped more than 23,000 tons of bombs on Nazi targets during WWII. The Germans nicknamed this regiment Nachthexen, or “night witches,” because the noise made by the wooden planes resembled that of a sweeping broom.

Also on tap: the Amelia Pilsner, honoring American aviation pioneer Amelia Earhart, who was the first woman to fly solo across the Atlantic Ocean, and Aviatrice Czech Dark Ale.


Related: Flying high: The living legacy of aviation leader Capt. Patrice Clarke-Washington

Featured photo courtesy of ChefStable and Lightning Bar Collective.

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