Though dark, 1201 makes up for in attitude what it lacks in light. The art on the walls is done by local Art Institute students, and is for sale at relatively reasonable prices. It's not uncommon to see assemblages made of Mexican loteria cards and burning candles right next to a relatively classic oil painting. It's just part of the charm.
The wait staff is sometimes hard to pin down during the lunch hours -- this is because 1201's primary function is as a bar and nightclub, which is sad considering the quality and variety of the lunch menu. Brie sandwiches with shrimp on focaccia bread made at the culinary institute next door will set you back roughly $8, while a grilled vegetable sandwich is considerably less (around $5-$6).
Once you've had the sandwiches or main courses, it's hard to forget this inconspicuous little bar and grill. Located just inside fareless square, it's easy to get to, as well. It's not well publicized, so it's not too hard to get in, either.
There's no excuse not to visit repeatedly during your visit. You'll need several trips to try everything on the menu that looks good.
by Elli Metz
February 19, 2001
From journal A Former Local's Advice: Portland, Oregon