In Midtown, a Mocktail-Forward Bar | The Source Weekly - Bend, Oregon

In Midtown, a Mocktail-Forward Bar

Mike Aldridge of MidCity Smashedburger opens Hosmer in the Waypoint Hotel

The contours of the drink menu at the new Hosmer bar along Third Street read like your average upscale Bend lineup: Negroni, Shrub, Caipirinha and so on. The twist to these cocktails: they're all zero-proof — unless you ask for them otherwise.

click to enlarge In Midtown, 
a Mocktail-Forward Bar
Nicole Vulcan
Erik and Mike Aldridge at the bar designed with a shape of Hosmer Lake inlaid in it.

This week, Mike Aldridge, owner of the food cart MidCity Smashedburger, along with brother Eric, opened the doors of Hosmer, their ode to the venerable Cascade lake, featuring a "mocktail-forward" menu. Located inside the Waypoint Hotel on the southwest corner of Third and Revere, the addition of a bar is a first for the hotel, which recently got an overall revamp inside and out. The new bar in the space features custom work cut in the shape of Hosmer Lake. Outside the lobby sits the MidCity Smashedburger truck, where it moved from its former location at the Boneyard tasting room.

"I'm two years sober," Aldridge said of his reasons for opening Hosmer with a less-booze-forward menu. "I've been in the industry for over 20 years, and in the last couple years, after going out and being sober and trying to get back into going out, hanging out, I noticed a lot of, even the new bars, their "mocktail" menu is kind of a cop-out. Typically, it's like this little, tiny corner, and it's like CBD sodas and lemonade or something that just doesn't have any effort to it."

What's more, Aldridge said, many places will simply offer to make one of their signature cocktails without alcohol, requiring a lot of substitutions that don't amount to a good drink.

click to enlarge In Midtown, 
a Mocktail-Forward Bar
Nicole Vulcan
The Negroni.

"I just kind of got a little fed up, and then this opportunity knocking our door with the food truck out front. And it was, I feel like it was a good opportunity to switch the bar model a little bit in hopes that everyone feels included."

Aldridge hopes to mold Hosmer into a go-to for locals looking for a cocktail (or mocktail) bar on the east side of town.

"We really want to service this area. We want people to know that we're here. Obviously, we love the hotel guests, but we really love our locals."

Hosmer's current drink menu includes the Cultus Lake Caipirinha featuring strawberries, balsamic and basil, which I sampled and would easily drink again. Those seeking alcohol can add rum or the spirit of their choice upon request. I also sampled the North Twin Negroni (the local lake theme continues with the drink names) that served up the classic orange, bitters and spice flavors one finds in a Negroni, albeit with slightly less of a "bite" without the boozy versions of gin, vermouth rosso and Campari.

click to enlarge In Midtown, 
a Mocktail-Forward Bar
Nicole Vulcan
The Cultus Lake Caipirinha.

Non-alcoholic beers also grace the menu — hardly a stretch in this world where Crux's NØMØ became its top seller in 2023 — but Hosmer also has N/A wines on offer, including Fre Chardonnay and Fre Cabernet. In my brief experiences in sampling N/A wines, Fre was among my own personal top choices.

As far as food, the bar is serving up a simple menu of flatbreads and paninis, for now. Aldridge said he's aiming to start a guest chef program inside the bar, allowing the many creative chefs of the region a place to show off their stuff. But when it comes to eats, it's hard to ignore the draw of MidCity Smashedburger right outside. Aldridge operates four such burger locations in Oregon; one in Bend and the others in the Portland area, along with a mobile truck. At $6 for the original Smashy Boi and $4 for an order of fries, MidCity remains a great deal – before or after your mocktails.

Hosmer plans to have a grand opening party on June 28.

In the lobby of the Waypoint Hotel
NE Third St., Bend
Instagram: @hosmerbar

Nicole Vulcan

Nicole Vulcan has been editor of the Source since 2016. You can mostly find her raising chickens, walking dogs, riding all the bikes and attempting to turn a high desert scrap of land into a permaculture oasis.
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