Where We Live: Portland's giant Martini House

Aaron Hall has owned the house since 2011

PORTLAND, Ore. (KOIN) -- Portland architect Aaron Hall will tell you he doesn't drink. But there's somethings that just come with living in the Martini House.

"We do make martinis when we have company," Hall said. "I don't drink, but I have learned how to make a martini."

The Martini House and its brilliant light-up martini are iconic in this place where we live, emerging every holiday season. The 30-by-30-foot sign in the Southwest Hills, built out of plastic pipes and LED lights in 2015, is hard to miss.

"You can see it from all the way over Sandy Boulevard, you can see it down Division," Hall said. "You can see it all over the east side as well."

The Martini House and its martini glass have a long tradition. It goes back to the 1960s when an Italian family named the Martinis built a small version of the now-famous-sign at another house in the neighborhood. They turned it on for every party.

Then, in the 1970s, the Martinis moved away, but a neighborhood teenager, Monty Meadows, decided to maintain the sign with the help of his family. Dentist Gary Cook bought the house in the early 1980s, adding a slash through it to discourage drunk driving.

In 2011, Hall bought the property, entering into its rich history. He tore down the house and constructed a new one in 2013. But the glass was gone for 2 years. People noticed, too.

"Everybody was calling, saying 'Where's the sign, where's the sign?'" Hall remembers. "I said, 'It's coming back. I just have to build the house first.'"

Hall said the light-up glass will be a fixture forever. He plans to put a clause in the deed mandating that the glass be turned on during the holidays. And while he's there, even though he doesn't drink, he'll still make martinis.

 


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