Finally, a real wine bar in Portland! However, MJ's has a long way to go to mature as it just opened and it shows. The good points is that it is a dedicated wine bar and good central location. The negatives, which are all fixable are noise, service, and poor wine list. There were only about 15 people the night we went and it was painfully loud. Because every one had to talk louder to be heard, it kept getting louder. Hopefully some acoustic ceiling additions could take care of this. The service was very poor. We asked a few simple wine questions of our server, but she was unable to help and went to find someone else. Servers should not be employed at a wine bar if they do not know the basics of wine. The next person had marginally little more knowledge (the question was could you describe these two wines by the glass)? He sort of shrugged his shoulders and offered us a taste instead. Again, hiring some knowledgeable staff would help. It was also difficult for them to see us and/or get to use because they were hanging out behind a really large bar so moving a station on the other side would provide for better service. Finally, the wine list was not very inspiring and appeared to be designed more for the less adventurous neo-oenophiles. I can appreciate that they have the same old basic chardonnay, cab, pinot noir, etc, for the crowds, but how about a few bold choices as well? Although my guess is they did this to keep process down, which I commend, but it is always good to have choices. There are so many unique and exciting varietals from around the world so I hope they will be a little more bold int he future. Also, why not offer flights and some other creative approaches to encourage vertical comparisons and daring explorations. We will wait a bit before we return and hope they can work the bugs out because it holds such promise and we want to be future patrons!
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