1739 SE Hawthorne Blvd., 238-3693,
442soccerbar.com. 11 am-midnight Monday-Thursday, 11 am-2:30 am Friday, 7 am-2:30 am Saturday, 7 am-midnight Sunday.
“What can I get nice people today?” This is Muhamed Mujcic-Mufko, owner of 4-4-2, a new Bosnian soccer bar he’s opened up in his old Taste of Europe market space on Southeast Hawthorne Boulevard. Mujcic-Mufko is a white-haired, cheery-eyed, consummate host—he looks a bit like a shorter, Bosnian Ted Danson—who is both genuine and genuinely shticky in his comforts. In his charismatic, heavily accented idiom, everyone is “nice,” the food is the “best in town” and each couple consists of a “young lady” and a “lucky guy.” Of course, 4-4-2 is also Portland’s lone soccer bar, and three dedicated flat-screens adorn the walls alongside the flags of favored teams, from FC Bayern to the Timbers’ green and yellow; the bar’s stock clientele is mostly drawn from the ranks of the American Soccer Fan, which is to say: foreigners, hippies and ex-expatriates. Some of us, however, come in simply for the hospitality and the bar food. My favorite is the peka sandwich ($8.75), which sports wafer-sliced meat so smoked and cured as to be beef’s own thundering answer to bacon. Dear Lord. MATTHEW KORFHAGE.
What to drink: Draft beer served in true half-liter mugs.
Happy hour: $3.75 draft pints, $4 well drinks 3-7 pm Monday-Thursday.
3901-B N Williams Ave., 288-3996,
newoldlompoc.com. 11-1 am daily.
Most Lompoc locations have all the atmosphere of an Applebee’s, and Fifth Quadrant is no exception. It’s too bright inside, and the high booths remind you of uncomfortable family dinners. But the reason to make a trip, as with the other incarnations of the local brewery, is the beer. As of press time, their seasonal brews are still available, including the dark, hoppy 8 Malty Nights, the vanilla porter Holiday Cheer and Jolly Bock lager. MATT SINGER.
What to drink: Fool’s Golden Ale.
Happy hour: $3.25 draft pints, $1 off cocktails, $2 off appetizers 4-6 pm and 10 pm-1 am Monday-Friday, all day Saturday-Sunday.
Entertainment: Patio, trivia, TV.
820 N Russell St., 284-5518, mintand820.com. 4-11 pm daily.
A much-needed shot of class in the Northeast industrial zone, 820 excels at taking ordinary drinks to extraordinary levels. With high ceilings framed by brick walls, the place is great date fodder, especially with a lower-level couch-lounging spot and a separate dining area. Drinks offer interesting twists on the traditional: Daiquiris take a soothing turn with the addition of avocado ($6 during happy hour), while the Manhattan gets a Sudamericano twist with the addition of aged rum in the Aniversario Manhattan ($10). It’s cocktail artistry of the highest order. AP KRYZA.
What to drink: The Nutty Manhattan, a walnutty mix of Jim Beam and Nocello.
Happy hour: $6 cocktails, $4 well drinks, $3.50 microbrews, $5 wine and food specials 4-8 pm Monday-Tuesday, all day Wednesday and Sunday, 4-6:30 pm Thursday-Saturday.
Entertainment: Live cocktail artistry.
A & L Sports Pub
5933 NE Glisan St., 234-7607, facebook.com/pages/A-L-Sports-Pub/63187992094. 11-2 am daily.
Housed in a white-painted brick bunker cavernous enough to be a Zamboni garage, the A & L Sports Pub devotes its prime flat-screens not to the NBA or baseball, but to hockey’s Stanley Cup playoffs. It’s semi-officially a Pittsburgh bar, but on a recent Saturday evening Penguins fans were outnumbered (though one beautiful girl did accessorize her black T-shirt with white-and-gold daisies in her hair) by a throng of Red Wings backers gasping in unison at a monster open-ice body check. Speaking of monsters: The A&L Chicken Sandwich ($6.50) is a cordon-bleu beast that will soak up a pitcher of Full Sail. The jukebox is draped with a very forceful request to not play any songs until the games are over. This is Hockeytown, and nothing can shut the puck up. AARON MESH.
What to drink: Ice-cold Sierra Nevada Pale Ale.
Entertainment: 13 TVs, all told; pingpong; pool; darts; pinball; arcade games; jukebox.
8325 SE McLoughlin Blvd., 231-9611,
acropolis-portland.com. 7-2:30 am Monday-Saturday, 11-2:30 am Sunday.
As you may have heard, Portland has a lot of strip clubs. But only at Acropolis is the T&A not the main attraction. Everyone in town knows about the cheap-but-tasty steak meals courtesy of the owner’s cattle ranch ($5.50 gets you an 8-ounce sirloin, a side item and a piece of Texas toast), but the bar also boasts a whopping 51 beers on tap. It’s enough to distract from the weird statue of a Greek god with a glowing orb in its crotch, or the fact that you drove halfway to Milwaukie to see tits. MATT SINGER.
What to drink: Beer.
Entertainment: Strippers, TV, vending machines.
4024 N Interstate Ave., 287-5335,
myspace.com/alibi_tiki_bar. 11-2:30 am daily.
The Alibi is possibly the city’s most popular karaoke joint, and that’s saying a lot in a town endlessly infatuated with the public slaughter of Billy Joel’s catalog. As such, Alibi has some of the longest waits for songs. That would be a bummer if the cavernous place weren’t entertaining enough on its own. A bar so tiki’d it looks like a Jimmy Buffet acid freakout, Alibi is home to lottery-addicted locals and sidewalk makeout sessions between crisscrossing bachelor and bachelorette parties whose collective breath reeks of bad kalua pork from the occasional free buffet. Put in a song, grab a tropical drink and enjoy the circus. AP KRYZA.
What to drink: A fruity Singapore sling that tastes like it could double as a Molotov cocktail.
Happy hour: $2 PBR and Coors Light, rotating cocktail specials, cheap food 3-7 pm Monday-Friday and 11 am-7 pm Saturday-Sunday.
Entertainment: Karaoke, jukebox, video poker, TV.
1216 SE Division St., apexbar.com. 11:30-2:30 am daily. Cash only, ATM available.
With over 40 brews on tap, it’s easy for the non-beer-snob to get intimidated when ordering at Apex. But if you look closely at the beer list—presented on a flat-screen TV so it looks like the arrivals/departures screen at an airport—you’ll notice something labeled “cheap, cold.” Yep, Apex has Hamm’s on its menu for people who can’t tolerate a 10-percent-ABV Great Divide Hercules Imperial IPA. Feeling a little more adventurous, I tried North Coast’s chocolatey Old Rasputin and Cascade’s Spring Gose, which was tart and sweet and tasted a little like rotten cantaloupe. The bar’s front patio, which features ample bike parking and a plethora of picnic tables, is perfect for summer gatherings. The only bummer is Apex’s cash-only policy. MICHAEL MANNHEIMER.
What to drink: Any beer will do.
Entertainment: Pinball, sports.
632 E Burnside St., 201-7119. 4 pm-2:30 am daily.
B-Side might be the punkest bar in Portland. I mean that in a very loving way. It has absolutely no frills, unless some nice garage-sale paintings and garage-rock posters on the walls count as “frills,” and little to do except drink pints of Ninkasi and plot the revolution. Though it’s perhaps best known as a nice, sleepy alternative to the increasingly modern/fashion-forward Rontoms down the street, B-Side has its own cozy charm, especially out back on the heated mini-patio and up front in the plywood booths that come complete with a partially poster-obstructed view of Burnside. It’s almost as if the entire business plan was to repel douchebags, and it worked: The folks at B-Side built a club so devoid of flash and pretense that it’s basically the anti-meatmarket. If some member of the sparkly-toothed, flashy-shirted Chinatown dance cabal were to stray from the herd and happen through B-Side’s front door, I imagine they would melt down to a pile of goo while screaming, “NOOOOOOO! NOOOOOOO!” I get the impression that’s just how the management likes to keep things. Good for them—the good people of Portland need a place to go and just, you know, be sad. CASEY JARMAN.
What to drink: A pint of Ninkasi.
Happy hour: There’s an “unhappy hour” with discounted microwave burritos and beer 4-7 pm daily.
Back Stage Bar
3702 SE Hawthorne Blvd., 236-9234. 5 pm-midnight Monday-Thursday, 5 pm-2:30 am Friday, 2 pm-2:30 am Saturday, 2 pm-midnight Sunday.
While you can find a McMenamins on every street corner in Portland, Back Stage is by far the coolest. Hidden behind the screen of the Bagdad Theater, the bar stretches up seven stories with a gigantic mural depicting the location’s history and the theater’s original catwalk above a spacious sitting area. Up the stairs are two pool rooms with additional seating where groups of friends congregate before and/or after a night of drinking. The chic ambience alone makes Back Stage the perfect place to prefunk. LEIGHTON COSSEBOOM.
What to drink: A Kentucky Flower.
Happy hour: $2-$4 food with $2 drink purchase 3-6 pm and 10 pm-close daily.
Entertainment: Pool, snooker, vertigo.
213 SW Broadway, 295-1004, baileystaproom.com. 4 pm-midnight Monday-Saturday.
It’s hard not to feel like an inadequate newb when you walk into Bailey’s Taproom, Portland’s beer-only mecca for no-bullshit hopheads. Bailey’s regulars know IBUs, ESBs and IPAs better than Lindsay Lohan knows rehab. But so long as you order assertively, and pretend to know what you’re talking about, you’ll be fine. Bailey’s doesn’t serve food, but you can call the Mexican restaurant across the street (Santeria, 956-7624) and have mind-blowing Mexican food brought to you at the bar. WHITNEY HAWKE.
What to drink: Hair of the Dog Fred on tap.
Entertainment: Board games.
3943 N Mississippi Ave., 288-3895, mississippistudios.com. 4 pm-2 am Monday-Friday, 2 pm-2 am Saturday-Sunday.
For a watering hole attached to a posh, sophisticated music venue, the recently opened Bar Bar is refreshingly unpretentious. It’s basically an extension of the new Mississippi Studios space, with a huge, uncluttered outdoor patio, adorned with picnic tables and an old bus, perfect for both acoustic sets in the summer and picking up a decent margarita (served with Sauza Gold tequila for $7) after work. And though you can order fancy cocktails like an Aviation Gin negroni, it’s the menu’s most basic option—a fast-food-style hamburger served with American cheese, a delicious Alessio potato bun and housemade tomato relish for just $5.50—that really won me over. It’s not quite an In-N-Out burger, but for California expats wishing they could get a Double-Double, this is your closest bet. MICHAEL MANNHEIMER.
What to drink: EGBDF, whiskey smash served by the pint.
Happy hour: $1 off draft beer and well drinks, $5 cocktails 4-7 pm Monday-Friday and 2-7 pm Saturday-Sunday.
Entertainment: Live music in summer, DJs.
1230 NW Hoyt St., 241-8800, fratellicucina.com/bar. 4-11 pm Sunday-Thursday, 4 pm-12:30 am Friday-Saturday.
The deep, dim sister of Fratelli restaurant is a warm, quiet place, all orange and blue walls, red curtains, clinking glass and murmuring Pearlites. In a neighborhood of restaurants and bars that are largely cacophonous, expensive or both, Bar Dué’s fun, forward bartenders serve $8 cocktails and really, really good pizza with a smile and an Oden joke. For all the good food and company, though, the place feels like an elevator shaft dressed to party. We like it. BEN WATERHOUSE.
What to drink: Fratelli Cello Drop.
Happy hour: $4 well drinks, $6 Cello Drops, $6 wine and $3-$5 food 4-6 pm and 9 pm-close nightly.
Beaker & Flask
727 SE Washington St., 235-8180,
beakerandflask.com. 5 pm-midnight Monday-Wednesday, 5 pm-1 am Thursday-Saturday.
Kevin Ludwig’s cool aquamarine refuge on Sandy Boulevard is more restaurant than lounge (a less food-centric expansion is coming this year), and the management is understandably reluctant to seat a group that just wants a single round. The semicircular bar, though, is much more relaxed, and there’s no better place in the city to take in a cocktail and a sunset by yourself. Beaker & Flask’s enormous bay windows catch every last dwindling ray reflected off the neighborhood’s neglected warehouses and the golden glint of bourbon in vintage glassware. If you’re hungry, sample chef Ben Bettinger’s exceptional antipasti plate ($10-$12) or, if you’re in a less fancy mood, the hot wings ($6). BEN WATERHOUSE.
What to drink: A Stuck in Lodi (rye whiskey, Gewürztraminer syrup, Cynar, Peychaud’s bitters).
Happy hour: $5 cocktails 5-6 pm nightly.
Entertainment: Bartenders with liberal arts degrees, sunsets.
Black Cat Tavern
8230 SE 13th Ave., 235-3571. Noon-2:30 am daily. Cash only.
Nestled in old Sellwood, the Black Cat Tavern is sporty and spacious, festive and nostalgic. You can spot the tavern easily by looking for the large, black feline face in the front window. It doesn’t take long to realize that the bar has been a longtime local hangout for those who like to unwind after a day’s work with a game of shuffleboard and some billiards. The abundance of shuffleboard tables (three) and white boards indicates that Black Cat patrons enjoy a little competition with their after-work ale. To mitigate drunken debacles, the bar stops serving pitchers after 9 pm on Fridays and Saturdays. LEIGHTON COSSEBOOM.
What to drink: Miller High Life by the pitcher.
Happy hour: 50 cents off all beer, $1.50 PBR and Miller High Life 4-6 pm daily.
Entertainment: Shuffleboard, pool, video games, TV, back patio, horseshoes.
2821 SE Stark St., 232-3704, bonfirepdx.com. Noon-2:30 am daily.
It doesn’t take long to become a veteran Portlander, and as one, I can remember a time when the Bonfire was inhabited by troublemakers, roustabouts and arty fuckers. You’d hear the Minutemen on the stereo and see guys who looked like Gary Numan brooding at the bar. But on my most recent visit, I actually heard the line “What was up with that fucking quarterback, did you fucking see how he was fucking passing?” (There are no televisions at Bonfire, so it seemed a strange place to talk sports.) At that moment, I knew Bonfire must have jumped the shark for the roustabouts (you may call them “hipsters”; I am searching for more humane terminology) who once called it home. As for me, I keep coming back. See, aside from the fact that the bar staff is as friendly as ever, Bonfire has the best bar food in Portland: the rich $7 vegan curry burrito (make it a meaty one for $9) and the insanely spicy Bonfire Prawns ($11 with salad and jasmine coconut rice). It’s hard to beat the Bonfire’s cheap canned beer prices, but the dimly lit bar gets pretty generous during its extended happy hour, offering a nice selection of $3 micros and $3.50 margaritas, alongside other treats (don’t sleep on the $3.50 burgers). CASEY JARMAN.
What to drink: A tallboy of Hamm’s always does the trick for me.
Happy hour: Drink and food specials 2-7 pm daily (see above).
Entertainment: Pinball, video games, pool.
2926 NE Alberta St., 206-6266, branchwhiskeybar.com. 5-11 pm Sunday-Thursday, 5 pm-2 am Friday-Saturday.
In a pair of past lives, this bright tavern was the much-lauded but always troubled Alberta Street Oyster Bar (which once had a kitchen run by pig-fed pugilist Eric Bechard). We liked the Alberta Street, but under no circumstances would we give up Branch to get it back. Chef Larry Tavernetti’s short menu of casual fare is the best pub grub in town: The burger is among the city’s finest; the enormous housemade pork sausages, of which you get two for $13, are even better; but best of all is the ramekin of pork rillettes (pork slow-cooked in fat until it falls apart), which comes to the table surprisingly hot, straight from the broiler. Drinks, served in sensibly squat cocktail glasses, live up to the food. Bartender Andrew Finkelman makes a fine Manhattan, but more interesting is the prospect of Branch’s $18 three-whiskey flights. BEN WATERHOUSE.
What to drink: Sazerac.
Happy hour: $2 off several appetizers and the pasta 5-7 pm daily.
320 SE 2nd Ave., myspace.com/branxpdx. Open show nights only, hours vary.
Recently, Biz Markie and Rev. Shines helped rechristen the expanded Branx, former home of Meow Meow and Loveland. While the show probably wasn’t the most indicative of Branx’s future identity as a punk and metal club for the all-ages set—Biz’s DJ gig was 21+ and packed with Nike employees doing the Humpty Dance—it did provide a preview of the remodeled space and its (nice) sound system. There are a few new walls, mainly to keep clear distinctions between the barebones bar area—prime real estate at shows—and the all-ages side. There’s also a Food Hole-looking burger-’n’-fries shack. Aside from those changes, Branx feels, as did its predecessors, like a windowless, brick-walled batcave. Which is exactly how it should feel. CASEY JARMAN.
What to drink: Anything, just to lord over the kiddies.
Entertainment: Live music, DJs, dancing.
820 NE Dekum St., 719-6475,
breaksidebrews.com. 3-11 pm Monday-Friday, noon-11 pm Saturday-Sunday.
Breakside Brewery has exploded since opening in May, injecting a vibrant life force into the otherwise dull stretch of Northeast Dekum Street. Until Labor Day the place didn’t have license to pour its own suds, but it was worth the wait. The bitter IPA and pungent Hoppy Amber pair perfectly with the juicy pulled-pork sandwich ($9), while experimental brews like the spicy Aztec Ale—at 10 percent alcohol by volume, the brewery’s strongest—offer pizzazz in a pint. With staff packing ample beer knowledge and sass, it’s already become one of Northeast Portland’s best bars. AP KRYZA.
What to drink: The supremely bitter Breakside IPA.
Happy hour: $1 off beer and menu items until 6 pm daily.
Entertainment: TVs, bartenders with encyclopedic knowledge of suds.
The Buffalo Gap
6835 SW Macadam Ave., 244-7111. 7-2:30 am Monday-Friday, 8-2:30 am Saturday, 9-2:30 am Sunday.
This establishment serves as the watering hole for anyone who lives in Johns Landing. Apart from Macadam’s Bar and Grill, it’s pretty much the only bar in the neighborhood, and so offers enough variety to ensure the locals never look elsewhere. The spacious yet cozy building serves as a restaurant and sports bar, and has a second story bar with a small stage area for live music, raffles and other events. It has a takeout menu and also offers a catering service. If you live in the area, there’s no better destination for weeknight drinking sessions. LEIGHTON COSSEBOOM.
What to drink: Kamikaze.
Happy hour: $2.95 food with $2 drink purchase 4-6 pm and 10 pm-midnight Monday-Saturday; 1 pm-midnight Sunday.
Entertainment: Live music, raffles, pool, video games.
1028 SE Water Ave., 894-9708, bunkbar.com.
3 pm-2 am nightly.
I admit it: I expected Bunk Bar to be just a slightly larger clone of the wildly popular inner-eastside sandwich shop, with longer hours and a beer tap. But Bunk Bar is not Bunk Sandwiches with a bar; it’s a bar with Bunk sandwiches. The newest addition to the industrial-chic Water Avenue ’hood is a big concrete-and-stainless-steel space kitted out with leather booths and couches and a stage for live shows. Yes, there’s a small window to order the signature sandwiches—all your old favorites like meatball Parmigiano heroes and pork belly po’ boys—but it’s the large bar that rules, offering a full range of beers in the $2 to $4 range and spirits (though fewer locally made libations than one might expect). Fans of Bunk will no doubt be overjoyed, but you really don’t need to like big, beefy sandwiches to love this bar. RUTH BROWN.
What to drink: Tecate tallboy.
Happy hour: $1 off well drinks and beer (but not Old German) 3-6 pm daily.
Entertainment: Live music, pinball, DJs.
1212 SW Powell Blvd., Suite D, 445-0577,
bushwhackercider.com. 3-9 pm Monday-Thursday, 1-10 pm Friday-Saturday.
This cider-only brewpub around the corner of Edelweiss Sausage & Delicatessen does not yet serve its own cider, having opened too late to catch the prime of the apple harvest, but it has everyone else’s on its six taps and enormous refrigerator case. Thanks to the fenced-off cage of brewing equipment at the back of the room, Bushwhacker has the atmosphere of a suburban pub built in a concrete storage locker. The sterility of the space is eased by a lovely mural by Jason Coatney, a smattering of soccer paraphernalia and the frankly baffling variety of American ciders to try. On your first visit, taste them all; the six-glass, $6 sampler is ridiculously generous, too much for one drinker to consume before dinner. BEN WATERHOUSE.
What to drink: Blue Mountain Dry Creek.
The Bye and Bye
1011 NE Alberta St., 281-0537, thebyeandbye.com. 4 pm-2 am Monday-Thursday, 2 pm-2 am Friday, noon-2 am Saturday-Sunday.
The Bye and Bye cocktail is the closest thing Portland has to New Orleans’ hurricane punch. It’s boozy (peach-infused bourbon and vodka), it’s fruity (red juice) and it’s fucking huge (served in a giant Mason jar). At $7, the Bye and Bye is your most economical pathway to inebriation on Alberta. That said, if you would like to stay civil in your time at this busy watering hole, try the Stockholm (infused citrus vodka, fresh lemon and ginger beer) or one of a solid crew of beers on tap, all of which are vegan and come in a Mason jar (only $6 during happy hour), or by the pint. WHITNEY HAWKE.
What to drink: The Bye and Bye, of course.
Happy hour: $1 off well drinks, entrees and draft beers, $6 select Mason jar drafts 4-7 pm daily.
Entertainment: Jukebox, big back patio.
2880 SE Gladstone St., 230-8808, cbarpdx.com. 4:30 pm-2 am Monday-Friday, 9 am-2 pm and 4:30 pm-2 am Saturday-Sunday.
This dimly lit neighborhood bar is unassuming from the outside, but inside await plush booths, a miniature makeout nook in the hallway and a back room full of bar games. With a mix of excellent local brews and cheap piss beer on tap, C-Bar won’t disappoint those thirsting for a tall, cold one. Well drinks are poured very tall and very strong, making C-Bar’s happy-hour deals a cheap and classy way to get tipsy as all get out. WHITNEY HAWKE.
What to drink: Hopworks on draft.
Happy hour: $1 off wells, wine, sake and beer 5-6:30 pm and 9:30-11 pm Monday-Thursday, all day Sunday.
Entertainment: TV, pool, Big Buck Hunter, pinball.
939 SE Belmont St., cascadebrewingbarrelhouse.com. 11 am-10 pm Sunday-Wednesday, 11 am-11 pm Thursday, 11 am-midnight Friday-Saturday.
When it comes to hops, Northwest brewers are all about one-upping each other. The guys at Cascade Brewing didn’t care to join that game—so they went sour. The tasting room serves over a dozen varieties of sour beer, produced with lactobacillus bacteria and aged for months in wooden barrels. Be there Tuesdays at 6 pm to taste the two weekly specials tapped directly from the barrels. (Traditionalists, rest assured: Cascade Brewing devotes five taps to regular beers.) The place is casual, with picnic tables inside and out, and though the decor is not particularly cozy, the waitstaff is friendly and enthusiastic about educating newcomers. While sour pints might not be for everyone, the novelty of the weird flavor makes the trip well worth it. MICHAEL MANNHEIMER.
What to drink: Cascade Kriek Ale.
Entertainment: Not much.
1331 SW Washington St., 223-0054,
cassidysrestaurant.com. 4 pm-2 am daily.
The crowd at Cassidy’s changes with whatever show happens to be going on around the corner at the Crystal Ballroom. What hasn’t changed, it seems, since the 1940s (even though the place only opened in the late ’70s) is the atmosphere. With its dark-stained wood interior, low lighting and drinks with names like Jitterbug Perfume and the Great Gatsby, the vibe is very early-20th-century flapper—even though the only time you’re likely to see actual swing dancers in there is after a Cherry Poppin’ Daddies show. MATT SINGER.
What to drink: Fear and Loathing—a shot of Wild Turkey with a Rainier tallboy.
Happy hour: All food items $5.75 with one drink 4-6 pm and 10 pm-2 am daily.
1730 SW Taylor St., 222-3063,
cheerfulbullpen.com. 11-2:30 am Monday-Friday, 9-2:30 am Saturday-Sunday.
By my lights, there should only be two kinds of bars: the kind with no TVs, and the kind with at least a dozen TVs. Cheerful Bullpen is the second kind-—it has 21 screens. A sister to PSU hangout the Cheerful Tortoise, this sports bar’s cozy couch nooks become a kind of Goose Hollow rec room for partisans of the San Francisco Giants or the Washington Huskies, depending on the night. The most reliable contingent, however, is the Buffalo Bills Backers, the most Sisyphean of fan bases and therefore also the most lovable. Their loud Sunday-morning revival meetings are fueled by corned-beef hash, coffee and $5 Bloody Marys; the Bullpen has a rather astoundingly wide menu, including all-you-can-eat penne pasta for $6.95 on Saturdays. Like being a Buffalo Bills Backer, the pasta is not very enjoyable, but it is endless. AARON MESH.
What to drink: Labatt’s Blue, available in tallboys presumably because Buffalo is basically in Canada.
Happy hour: $2.75 domestic drafts and $3.25 micro drafts 3-6 pm Monday-Friday.
Entertainment: TV, pool, patio.
3348 SE Belmont St., circa33bar.com.
4 pm-“late” daily.
I have a piece of advice for anyone who dares try one of the old-fashioned cocktails at Circa 33, the latest gem to open on Belmont Street: Don’t be afraid of the egg whites! You see, this “haunt” is a Prohibition bar (the name pays homage to the year Prohibition was repealed) that’s not afraid to mix things up, with two separate lists featuring libations from the 1900s and new twists on a few classic spirits. And, despite my initial trepidation, the best things I tried featured frothed egg whites, including a pisco sour (brandy, Angostura bitters, lime juice, sugar and egg white = cocktail heaven) and a Boston sour with housemade bourbon. With 12 beers on tap, over 100 whiskeys and a brunch menu that debuts this week, this is one new bar that won’t get old anytime soon. MICHAEL MANNHEIMER.
What to drink: Monkey Gland c.1923.
Happy hour: $3.50 Trumer Pils, $4 well drinks, $5 planter’s punch, $4-$6 food 4-6 pm daily.
Entertainment: The wall o’ booze.
3006 SE Hawthorne Blvd., 233-7243,
claudiaspub.com. 11 am-midnight Sunday-Thursday, 11 am-1 am Friday-Saturday.
Sure, you will find sports bars in Portland with fancier TVs and sexier patrons. The folks who frequent Claudia’s don’t give a shit. Claudia’s is the best sports bar in Portland for many reasons: The high-backed leather chairs in the front row that make you feel like a king watching college football on a Saturday at noon; the no-frills “Boss Burger” ($6.75) that cures any drunken craving; the standing-room-only guarantee for any Blazers playoff game. Every year it seems like more new, hip sports bars open, but at the end of the day, there’s only one place I want to go when the game is really close. MICHAEL MANNHEIMER.
What to drink: A pitcher—or two—of Miller High Life.
Happy hour: $4 appetizers 2-5 pm and 9 pm-close Monday-Friday.
Entertainment: Sports, TV, pool, video poker, poker nights.
1014 SW Stark St., 228-3333, clydecommon.com. 11:30 am-midnight Monday-Thursday, 11:30 am-2 am Friday, 5 pm-2 am Saturday, 5-11 pm Sunday.
It’s a good place to eat, sure, but the raucous restaurant at the Ace Hotel is also the best place to imbibe anywhere west of Broadway. The drinks are great, and far cheaper than the salvaged-wood surroundings suggest; you’ll have to lay out a dime if you want to sample Jeffrey Morgenthaler’s barrel-aged Negroni (praised by The New York Times and easily $2 mellower than a youthful Negroni), but a Wild Turkey, at $6, is right at the city’s average. Rock star sightings are common, as are happy-hour cruising packs of ladies-who-lush. The cougars are gone by sundown; the singers stay all night. BEN WATERHOUSE.
What to drink: Woodford Reserve.
Happy hour: $5 wine and cocktails, $3.50 draft beer 3-6 pm Monday-Friday and 11 pm-close Monday-Saturday.
Entertainment: Look out the window—Stark Street is still a carnival of thugs and tweakers as the small hours approach.
Columbia River Brewing
1728 NE 40th Ave., 943-6157, columbiariverbrewpub.com. 11 am-9 pm Sunday-Wednesday, 11 am-10 pm Thursday-Saturday.
The tiny corner play area that had families lining up outside the door at this brewpub and restaurant when Laurelwood ran the space is gone. That’s good for adult customers of Columbia River who want less chance of finding young’uns underfoot while they sample any of the new operator’s fine roster of brews. I’m particularly partial to the Hollywood Hefe and the Sandy Blonde. The menu of pizza, sandwiches and bar food is perfectly fine. But longtime residents of the Hollywood neighborhood can’t help but notice that the loss of the play area makes the place seem on many nights like Laurelwood’s predecessor—the short-lived Old World brew pub. Like Old World, Columbia River has good beer in a brightly lit spot with a lot of empty seats. That’s a shame. HENRY STERN.
What to drink: Hollywood Hefe.
Happy hour: $3 pints, $1 off wine and $2 off appetizers 3-6 pm and 9 pm to close.
1601 SW Morrison St., 224-0051. 7-2:30 am daily.
Tucked in the basement of the 1927 apartment building that shares its name, the Commodore is not much distinguished from the west side’s other all-day booze holes, except in that it is somehow more peaceful than most, and certainly more beloved. The elegant, curved wooden bar was actually built by one of the regulars before he died. The CD jukebox is among the best in town, and includes both Exile on Main Street and 69 Love Songs. It is, if you’ll forgive the cliché, a clean, well-lighted place. After two of the bartender’s generous pours, you’ll forgive clichés. AARON MESH.
What to drink: A pint of Deschutes Black Butte Porter.
Happy hour: $2.75 well drinks 7-11 am daily.
Entertainment: Pool, pinball, jukebox.
Corkscrew Wine Bar
1665 SE Bybee Blvd., 239-9463. 5 pm-close Tuesday-Thursday, 4 pm-close Friday-Saturday.
Formerly the back room of a bridal shop, this surprisingly large, pine-paneled lounge goes mostly unnoticed by the hordes lined up on the sidewalk outside its next-door neighbor, Saburo’s. Inside, under the dim glow of a collection of midcentury-ugly chandeliers, a few couples nibble cheese and olives with a glass or three of the two dozen or so wines on offer ($5-$10 per glass). It’s a quiet, adult kind of place, unlikely to attract the shriekers and braggarts that plague other bars of its ilk, and the upstairs balcony is about as sexy a nook as you’ll find anywhere in town. BEN WATERHOUSE.
What to drink: House red.
Entertainment: Board games, occasional live music.
6707 SE Milwaukie Ave., 233-4220. 11 am-2:30 am daily.
Pogo’s, a nondescript dive known only for very cold beer, has been made over with a sort of retro tacky theme, with sparkly vinyl upholstery, globe lights and velvet paintings of a skeletal Elvis and Pancho Villa. The beer is good, at $4 a pint, there are $1 Jell-O shots all the time and the menu consists of fried finger foods—tots, poppers, stix and the like. The ladies behind the bar are uncommonly cheerful, the music is great and the bar never closes early. It’s exactly the bar Pogo’s should have been. BEN WATERHOUSE.
What to drink: Hopworks Abominable Winter Ale.
Happy hour: $1.50 beers, $3.50 microbrews, $2.50 well drinks 3-6 pm Monday-Friday; $1.50 beers, $3.50 Bloody Marys and White Russians 11 am-6 pm Saturday-Sunday.
Entertainment: TV, Family Guy pinball, trivia Wednesdays.
7958 SW Barbur Blvd., 245-9954, myspace.com/crab_bowl. 11:30-2:30 am daily.
In the proud tradition of college bars so gloriously ramshackle they appear to have been imported directly from an Eastern Bloc nation, Crab Bowl is your best opportunity to sing karaoke in an attic without paying for an A/V system. Located somewhere deep down Barbur Boulevard, this institution (beloved by Lewis & Clark students) has a ground-floor dining room that may occasionally serve crab; upstairs, there’s a refrigerator stocked with Jell-O shots, walls decorated with photos of John Wayne and Al Capone, and a side room with deep couches covered in throw pillows. (There’s also a smoking porch, which is often more populated than the actual bar.) The karaoke attendance is at the mercy of L&C kids, but if you drop in on a quiet night, you can meet the affable regulars, some of whom are also the owners, and nearly all of whom share a devout respect for Les Miserables. AARON MESH.
What to drink: Ninkasi Total Domination IPA.
Happy hour: Thursday night is ladies’ night, with $1 off well drinks and PBR, and two-for-one Jell-O shots.
Entertainment: Karaoke, pinball, TV, couches with a lot of pillows.
2338 NE Alberta St., 208-3483, cruzroom.com.
4 pm-midnight Sunday-Wednesday, 4 pm-2:30 am Thursday-Saturday.
Housed in an apparently cursed doomed building (remember Francis Restaurant?), Cruzroom’s “Taco Lab” is anything but traditional. The tacos ($2.95 and up) are filled with lemongrass chicken, Yukon golds and ceviche, and range from blah to brilliant. The drinks, best enjoyed by candlelight near the garage-door-style windows, are equally ambitious: The Michael You Drive ($8, and seriously, don’t drive) is a root-beer martini. Though hit and miss, the offerings are joyfully experimental and reason enough to hope Cruzroom survives longer than its predecessor. AP KRYZA.
Drink this: The Stones, Paris, Live ’75 is loaded with New Deal gin, lemon juice and Champagne.
Happy hour: 50 cents off drafts and tacos, $1 off wine and cocktails until 6:30 pm daily.
Entertainment: DJs, knitting nights, Rock ’em Sock ’em Robots, trivia Tuesdays.
525 SW Morrison St., 802-5370,
departureportland.com. 4 pm-midnight Tuesday-Thursday, 4 pm-2 am Friday-Saturday.
If you need to get out of Portland and can’t afford a flight, but you can spring for a few $10 cocktails, Departure is ready to take you away. Ride the elevator to the 15th floor of the Nines and walk into a world where men shave, women wear nylons and people work 40 hours a week. The ambience is even more alien—a starship mashed with a Miami Vice set. The crowd is moneyed and the Asian fusion cuisine overpriced, but the views from the deck over downtown are inspiring. Like New York, it’s a fabulous place to visit—you just don’t want to live here. JAMES PITKIN.
What to drink: Tacho Macho (Thai chile vodka, muddled basil, fresh citrus, Cock ’n Bull ginger beer).
Happy hour: $5 drink and appetizer specials 4-6 pm daily.
Entertainment: Views, trippy bathrooms, hot servers.
2521 SE Clinton St., 235-0203. Noon to 2 am daily. Cash/check only.
Buried in the lovely Clinton neighborhood is Dots Cafe, an eclectic and laid-back Southeast mainstay. Once you prove yourself worthy by locating the magical hidden front door, you face a series of delicious, calorie-laden choices. Bacon cheddar fries or Jack cheese green chili fries? The cheddar guacamole burger or Swiss patty melt? Vegetarians and vegans can choose between over a dozen veggie and at least five vegan options. Even the gender-neutral bathrooms keep you on your toes, respectively labeled “It,” “Doesn’t” and “Matter.” It’s not just the beer talking; any choice you make at Dots will be a good one. STACY BROWNHILL.
What to drink: Willamette Valley Martini (includes a “splash of organic apple-raspberry juice”).
Happy hour: $1.50 PBR, $3.50 microbrews, $5.50 food 4-6:30 pm weekdays.
Entertainment: Pool, fantastically kitschy paintings and red velvet decor.
Doug Fir Lounge
830 E Burnside St., 231-9663, dougfirlounge.com. 7-2:30 am daily.
Upon seeing the painted rocks outside the Jupiter Hotel (attached to the Doug Fir) you immediately get the feeling of being back in the ’70s. Inside the bar, however, the decor makes you feel like a classy lumberjack who likes his own reflection. Whether or not there is a show going on in the basement, this place is one of the only bars in town where you will see young and attractive people every night of the week. The bar’s ideal location and outdoor fire pit make the Doug Fir a comfy drinking spot that is both chic and unique. LEIGHTON COSSEBOOM.
What to drink: Double Ketel-and-club.
Happy hour: $3 food, well drinks, house wine and draft beers, $2 PBR with $2 drink purchase 3-6 pm daily.
Entertainment: Live music downstairs.
729 SW 15th Ave., 223-6311, graciesdining.com/driftwood_inset.html. 2 pm-2 am Monday-Friday, noon-2 am Saturday-Sunday.
As befits the lobby bar for the classic Hollywood-themed Hotel deLuxe, the Driftwood Room offers magic in the dark. Barely illuminated by candles and soft lighting behind handsomely arranged bundles of (yes) driftwood, this windowless enclave specializes in Champagne cocktails and Manhattans with names like the Clint Eastwood and Good Night Gracie. Har de har, sure, but barkeep Mike Robinson mixes some of the most astonishing drinks in Portland. One of his most recent creations, the Burnt Orange, combines gin, chamomile liqueur, allspice dram, pureed blood orange and fresh lemon juice. It’s like a screwdriver for grownups. AARON MESH.
What to drink: Springtime in Paris, a blend of St. Germain, bitters and Champagne.
Happy hour: Half-priced Champagne cocktails and food specials 2 pm-close Monday, 3-6 pm and 9 pm-close Tuesday-Sunday.
Entertainment: Another cocktail.
Ducketts Public House
825 N Killingsworth St., 289-1869, myspace.com/duckettspublichouse. 1 pm-close daily.
This bright and burnished space is not ideal for the cave-dwelling career drinker—existential grief only blossoms in darkness—but it’s a fantastic venue for some callow youngster’s 21st birthday party. Ducketts is everything you wanted a bar to be before you could go to bars: Jell-O shots ($1) for shooting, Oly tallboys ($2) for slamming, pizza pockets ($2) for munching, pinball machines for tilting and “Holiday in Cambodia” on the jukebox to soundtrack the inevitable wet heaving. Welcome to the vicious cycle, kid. CHRIS STAMM.
What to drink: PBR and Rainier pitchers.
Happy hour: $2 wells, 50 cents off drafts 4-9 pm daily.
Entertainment: Pool, pinball, pingpong, jukebox, TVs.
Ella Street Social Club
714 SW 20th Place, ellastreetsocialclub.com. 5-2:30 am Monday-Friday, 7-2:30 am Saturday-Sunday.
Is it a story of failed gentrification, or successful rock ’n’ roll? You decide: In the nearly two years since Towne Lounge closed and reappeared under new ownership as Ella Street Social Club, the bar at the bottom of the grandly porticoed Pennoyer Building has steadily regressed (or has it progressed?) from a gleaming pool hall back into bathroom graffiti and stage-crowding tables. In other words, an endearingly ratty indie venue became a first-date spot, then became an endearingly ratty indie venue. Insanity has been restored. AARON MESH.
What to drink: A pint of Mac & Jack’s African Amber.
Happy hour: $1 PBR and $1 off well drinks 5-7 pm daily.
Entertainment: Live music, TV, pool.
The Fixin’ To
8218 N Lombard St.,
2 pm-2 am Monday-Saturday, 2 pm-1 am Sunday.
In this age of Yelp, it’s hard not to sympathize with the Fixin’ To, whose vintage-trailer logo and menu full of Ritz crackers and Ro-Tel seem to have confused neighborhood residents. “What exactly is this place trying to be, anyway?” reads a representative missive. Ironically, the Fixin’ To’s very success lies in its propensity to defy categorization. It’s the kind of bar where a combination of shuffleboard, middle-aged men watching hockey, a sandwich called “Hail Seitan” and a framed photo of Bill Clinton wearing a Razorback “hog hat” somehow makes perfect sense. On a recent night, as if to drive home the point, an older man sitting at the bar unexpectedly produced a container of bubbles and began blowing them in the direction of a customer closing out her tab. “I had a vibe you were OK with bubbles,” he said. He was right. KAT MERCK.
What to drink: Wild Turkey, neat.
Entertainment: Video DJ Thursdays, shuffleboard.
435 N Killingsworth St., 287-5658, myspace.com/teamevil3. 3 pm-2 am Monday-Saturday, 11 am-2 am Sunday.
Undeterred by the minor neighborhood controversy sparked by some impolite signage a few years ago, the Florida Room has refused to mellow in its adolescence. This den of vice is, if anything, even more unapologetically committed to threatening what is left of your health: sinisterly crispy Tater Tots ($3), requisite swill ($1 Old Germans) and tonier mixed drinks like the toddy-esque Cure All ($5.50) are best enjoyed on the front patio, where you will enjoy a pack of cigarettes whether you smoke or not. Go take a yoga class if self-improvement’s your bag—the rest of us have appetites for destruction. CHRIS STAMM.
What to drink: Old German.
Happy hour: Fifty cents off draft and well, $3-$4 food 3-7 pm daily.
Entertainment: Pinball, pool table, photo booth, trivia, jukebox, board games.
The Foggy Notion
3416 N Lombard St., 240-0249, thefoggynotion.com. 4 pm-2:30 am Tuesday-Sunday.
Replacing queer hotspot Blue Parrot, Foggy Notion’s no longer an official gay bar, but it’s retained its clientele while expanding into a cozy neighborhood destination. The interior perfectly meshes dive and swank, with a luminescent bar stocked with fine liquor glowing into a basement-y seating area/dance-party floor that leads to a poorly covered patio. The pub grub is great, including badass Buffalo mozzarella balls ($5), while the drinks range from stiff wells to concoctions like the Lolita ($6), a nice blend of tequila and grapefruit. It may have gone partially back into the closet, but the Notion is still fabulous. AP KRYZA.
What to drink: The Foggy Vinny, which combines rum, OJ and other goodies to taste exactly like a Creamsicle.
Happy hour: $1 off specialty cocktails, 50 cents off wells and drafts 5-7 pm daily.
Entertainment: Pinball, video games, live music, DJs, touchscreen games, karaoke, trivia, board games, jukebox, “Gayborhood dance parties.”
George’s Corner Sports Bar
5501 N Interstate Ave., 289-0307. 10-2:30 am Monday-Friday, 8-2:30 am Saturday-Sunday.
George’s, right on the Killingsworth MAX stop, is an amazingly friendly entry among Portland’s true dives. Repeated cussing gets you 86’d, the bar food is decent and terrifically cheap and the mostly blue-collar, mostly 30-plus regulars will know you by name after less than an hour if you hit George’s new back deck for a smoke and a chat. Weekends, late, the place fills with twentysomething NoPo kids seeking the latest last call in town. MATTHEW KORFHAGE.
What to drink: Pick your favorite tallboy and swig. Truly stiff Jell-O shots also available—among the four flavors, peach is recommended.
Happy hour: $1 PBR pints, $2.75 wells (50 cents off usual), 4-7 pm.
Entertainment: Three flat-screens tuned to sports, two closed-circuits trained on patio and parking lot, six video cracks, two Keno, one NTN trivia screen, two bar-game screens, one Golden Tee, one Silver Strike, 1 high-tech flashing juke and, heck, one LCD glow from an ATM make this tiny bar an unparalleled experience for those with ADD. That’s 20 screens in a 20-by-20-foot box, for those keeping track.
2045 SE Belmont St., 488-5701, globepdx.com. 5 pm-midnight daily.
Opened last summer as a Euro-style cafe-bar on the lesser-trafficked west end of the Belmont strip, the Globe is claiming its place as a comfortable neighborhood roost that pays proper attention to detail. The food is excellent, with choices of gourmet pizza ($12 and up), soups and sandwiches (pulled pork is recommended). But it’s the cocktails that should keep the local barflies coming back, as co-owner Paul DiNapoli continually perfects his recipes for classics like the Waldorf, Rob Roy and Bourbon Ginger. JAMES PITKIN.
What to drink: Bourbon old fashioned.
Happy hour: $1 off wells and pints, plus food specials 5-7 pm daily.
Entertainment: Rotating art exhibits, live music, couches.
Gold Dust Meridian
3267 SE Hawthorne Blvd., 239-1143,
golddustmeridian.com. 2 pm-2:30 am daily.
It looks like a cheeky ’70s-era Playboy romper room lit by the glow of red and yellow lounge lamps, but this low-slung brick and wood bar is also a chill comfort-food haven. Couples cuddle in the curved embrace of tall black booths, sharing an order of mac ’n’ cheese ($7) topped with Goldfish cracker crumbles and sips of mulled pomegranate cider spiked with rum ($8) while larger groups pop deviled eggs ($4), slam Oly tallboys ($2) and sing along to the Kinks. The past and present rarely collide so nicely. KELLY CLARKE.
What to drink: For the teetotalers there’s Squirt. For the soon-to-be-blitzed there’s a $23, 60-ounce “family bowl” of Squirt—and rum, pineapple, lemon and bitters—called the Zombie.
Happy hour: 50 cents off well drinks and draft pints, $1 off wine and most of the food 2-8 pm daily.
Entertainment: Naked-lady cowboy painting, DJs Saturdays and Sundays.
Goose Hollow Inn
1927 SW Jefferson St., 228-7010,
goosehollowinn.com. 11 am-midnight Sunday-Thursday, 11-1 am Friday-Saturday.
The brainchild of Bud Clark, Portland’s most universally beloved mayor, continues into its fifth decade as a kind of principled experiment in the civic virtue of the bull session. Even the coasters are inscribed with a manifesto: “We are dedicated to extremes of opinion, hoping that a livable marriage will result. If physical violence is your nature, either develop your verbal ability or leave.” Out, louts! The rest of us are invited to sit at the foot of the West Hills in a quaint wooden cottage with a big front porch, where we can debate TriMet policy to the sound of passing MAX trains. It’s pretty paradisiacal, and only improved by the “Best Reuben on the Planet” ($9.25), a deliciously oozing pile of corned beef, sauerkraut and cheese. If you somehow haven’t done so already, it’s high time you exposed yourself to Clark. AARON MESH.
What to drink: A 20-ounce pint of Goose Hollow Golden, made specially for the Inn by Fort George Brewing in Astoria.
Happy hour: None.
Entertainment: Patio, TVs, books.
511 NW Couch St., 796-9364,
groundkontrol.com. Noon-2:30 am daily.
Ground Kontrol not only houses Portland’s biggest and best collection of retro video games and pinball machines, it houses Portland’s biggest and best collection of retro video games and pinball machines and it serves beer. Have a pint downstairs with childhood friends like Mario, Ryu and the robotrons before dragging drooping pockets full of quarters upstairs to get reacquainted with all your old teenage pinball favorites. Most nights, DJs blast metal, industrial and electronica at you, but keep an eye on the calendar for Rock Band, Street Fighter and pinball tournaments. As of printing, the “barcade” is undergoing renovations, but by the time you read this, it should also feature liquor, food, less disgusting toilets and an ambience that puts you in the “TRON universe”—whatever that means. RUTH BROWN.
What to drink: A PBR tallboy fits snuggly into the machines’ drink holders, and really, you’ll be too distracted by the flashing lights and blippy bloopy sounds to pay attention to anything fancier.
Happy hour: $1.50 PBR and Miller High Life tallboys, $2 domestics and macrobrews, $2.50 microbrews and imports 5-7 pm daily.
Entertainment: Other than the games? DJs, the monthly Video Game Quiz Show and laughing at people who take Dance Dance Revolution just a little too seriously.
Hall of Records
3342 SE Belmont St., 546-0892, hallofrecordspdx.com. 4-11 pm Monday, 4 pm-midnight Tuesday-Thursday, 2 pm-2 am Friday-Saturday, 2-11 pm Sunday.
It’s every record-store nerd’s wet dream: a place where you can shop for vinyl and get drunk at the same time! And though the added alcohol might lead to some unwanted purchases, this new bar also might be the best spot to grab a quick pint and bite on Belmont. Hall of Records is exactly what it sounds like—a boutique record store, stocked with soul and funk rarities and standards, with a DJ who spins Sade’s “King of Sorrow” while you decide which of the five microbrews on tap to order. The bar is open during the day, but it’s best experienced at night—that way, no one can glare at you when you decide spending your last buck on the Top Gun soundtrack is the best idea ever. MICHAEL MANNHEIMER.
What to drink: Oakshire Overcast Espresso Stout.
Happy hour: $1 off draft beer and most wine, $2 PBR tallboys, cheap food 4-7 pm Monday-Friday and all day Sunday.
Entertainment: Shopping, DJs.
4111 SE Hawthorne Blvd., 477-9619, hawthornehophouse.com. Noon-midnight Sunday-Thursday, noon-2 am Friday-Saturday.
Like a virgin, this strip-mall beer bar feels shiny and new as the Hawthorne drinking crowd touches it for the very first time. With all the right microbrews, a prime location across the boulevard from New Seasons and tasty deep-fried cheese curds, the startup has a fighting chance against its many local competitors. Sleek and classy, it has a clean feel—it’s the kind of joint you could bring your mother to for a wholesome luncheon in the daylight—but the bar’s biggest asset is the enormous volume of beers on tap: 24 mostly local brews. All the Hophouse needs is a fireplace to become the perfect haven for beer connoisseurs. LEIGHTON COSSEBOOM.
What to drink: Oakshire Ill-Tempered Gnome.
Happy hour: $4 food , $3 well drinks and beer 9 pm-midnight. All flights of beer are half price on Monday. $3 local brews all day Sunday.
Entertainment: Live music.
The Hop & Vine
1914 N Killingsworth St., 954-3322, thehopandvine.com. 3 pm-midnight Monday-Friday, 10 am-midnight Saturday-Sunday.
A very pretty bar that looks like a cross between a dollhouse and Grandma’s screened-in veranda, the Hop & Vine is a perfect playland for grownups. You can sit in total comfort at candlelit tables, getting completely silly on bubbly, and never look anything but respectable (also, gorgeous—the vanilla lighting flatters everyone). The beer list contains no boring choices and the menu is several steps above ordinary pub food. Try the puff-pastry chicken pot pie, or a fennel-and-bacon salad. Too mature for you? Check out the mystifying row of weird figurines perched over the door. BECKY OHLSEN.
What to drink: Five-beer sampler.
Happy hour: $1 off draft beer and most wine, cheap food 3-8 pm Monday-Tuesday, 3-6 pm Wednesday-Saturday, 3 pm-midnight Sunday.
Entertainment: Check the online calendar for beer and wine tastings and theme dinners.
Horse Brass Pub
4534 SE Belmont St., 232-2202. 11-2:30 am Monday-Friday, 9-2:30 am Saturday-Sunday.
In a town where bars come and go and those that last often lack a defined personality, the 35-year-old Horse Brass knows exactly what it is: an English pub, down to the bangers and mash ($6.95), darts and 53 mostly awesome brews on tap. There used to be two types of customers here: smokers and chain smokers. The 2009 smoking ban devastated regulars (“They all died,” says a bartender), but new devotees of owner Don Younger’s legendary commitment to good beer claimed their seats. NIGEL JAQUISS.
What to drink: Younger’s Special Bitter, brewed by Rogue in honor of the owner’s deceased co-founder and brother.
Happy hour: They all are.
Entertainment: Darts, mate. Also, lots of Euro soccer, depending on the time of year or tournament schedules.
221 NW 10th Ave., 295-6542, jimmymaks.com.
5 pm-2 am Monday-Saturday.
The undisputed champ when it comes to seeing both local and national jazz, Jimmy Mak’s is a Portland institution despite having lived at more than one address. The current incarnation, a large downtown room with intimate stage-side seating and hanging speakers that give the stage maximum visibility, is all light wood and red velvet, but nonetheless feels casual enough for a slob like me (come on, I don’t own any dress shoes!) to feel right at home. A second side room now serves as a seldom-used lounge with flat-screen TVs and cushy couches—the ideal place to sip on a whiskey sour or eat a tasty gyro ($10 with fries or onion rings). The long-term plan, we hear, is to knock down some walls and make the stage visible from the second room, which would accommodate packed larger shows. Speaking of which, Jimmy Mak’s is usually bustling, especially for out-of-town musicians and weekly Mel Brown shows, so get there nice and early—parking in the neighborhood is a bitch. CASEY JARMAN.
What to drink: Whipped Cream and Other Delights, a “secret, creamy concoction” named after your favorite thrift-shop record that really does taste like straight-up icing. When in Rome....
Happy hour: $5 food 5-7 pm nightly.
Entertainment: Live music, TV.
5736 NE 33rd Ave., 249-3983, mcmenamins.com/427-kennedy-school-home. 7 am-1 am daily.
It’s a McMenamins, so you know the formula—solid beers plus decent bar food in a funky converted space, in this case a former elementary school redone in mosaics and murals throughout its halls. But the beauty of this spot, which also offers overnight accommodations, is that you’ve got multiple bars to choose from, depending on your mood and your company. Want a convivial spot for a family gathering? That’s the courtyard bar and restaurant. A more intimate, candlelit spot to take a date? Try the Honors Bar. For the cigar-smoking set, there’s the Detention Bar; and for the pool-playing, the Boiler Room. HENRY STERN.
What to drink: Hammerhead or a Ruby.
Happy hour: $3.25 well drinks and pints of McMenamins brews, $2.75 domestics 3-6 pm and 10 pm-midnight daily.
Entertainment: Movies, pool, TV, music.
22 NE 7th Ave., 232-3063, kirwinebar.com. 5 pm-close (around midnight) Tuesday-Saturday.
An around-the-corner boîte perfect for a sexy assignation or a meet-up with a good friend, this little wine bar manages to keep things relaxed and chic simultaneously. Choose a glass from the nicely priced, eclectic European reds, whites or rosés scrawled on the chalkboard and share a couple small plates and soups from the tiny kitchen. The salt-cod brandade—a heavenly cream- and garlic-heavy fish mash—should not be missed. KELLY CLARKE.
What to drink: Ask your server for recommendations on this week’s wines; pair a glass with a plate of chicken liver and currant paté.
Happy hour: Two bucks off glass pours 5-6 pm nightly.
Entertainment: Good lighting.
2026 NE Alberta St., 473-8729,
theknowpdx.com. 4 pm-2:30 am nightly.
The Know is one of the loudest bars in town between 8 and 10 pm, when bands born of various abrasive strains of punk and metal take to the stage in the western wing. But before the rabble-rousers take over, this Alberta stalwart is one of the neighborhood’s premier blue-collar hangouts. The folks on the barstools seem to know each other almost too well (these are intoxicated friendships, after all), and they take great joy in watching bad TV with the bartenders after having a bad day with their bosses. It might not quite be a home away from home, but it’s a home away from something, which is enough, sometimes. CHRIS STAMM.
What to drink: This is cheap-beer heaven.
Happy hour: $1 tallboys, $2.50 well drinks, $3 Barefoot wine 4-7 pm daily.
Entertainment: Live music, trivia, pool, pinball, TVs.
4847 SE Division St., 894-8132,
thelandmarksaloon.com. 4 pm-2 am daily.
The hook for this newish country-twanged watering hole on Southeast Division is the soundtrack—owners Marc Curtis, Tim Hawk and Erica Nukaya have filled the chambers of this converted house with the scratchy, careworn voices of Merle Haggard, George Jones and Ernest Tubb. It works. From the Pendleton blankets hanging on the walls and gorgeous Doug fir bar to the barrel tables and Ball jars they serve your drinks in, Landmark is old-timey done right. Now, excuse me pardner, but I’ve got a High Plains Drifter (tequila spiked with lemon and bitter Aperol and sweetened with agave, $8) coming my way. KELLY CLARKE.
What to drink: A bottle of Old Speckled Hen or a pint of Double Mountain IPA.
Happy hour: $3 craft brews Mondays, whiskey discounts Wednesdays, women get $1 off craft beer and well drinks after 7 pm Thursdays.
Entertainment: TV, live country and bluegrass music, DJ, trivia nights, old records, patio, outdoor bar.
LaurelThirst Public House
2958 NE Glisan St., 232-1504,
laurelthirst.com. 4 pm-close Monday-Friday,
9 am-close Saturday-Sunday.
At the LaurelThirst, everybody knows your name, even if nobody can remember it. There’s no premium here on being young, hip or relevant, but this Kerns neighborhood institution is as comfortable as your grandfather’s cardigan. The decor looks as if it came out of a barn just before demolition, but the 17 beers on tap are cutting edge. You can get lots of veggie stuff, but what you really want is the plain old burger ($7) or the Cannonball, a bread bowl baked with garlic butter and filled with turkey chili ($6.75). NIGEL JAQUISS.
What to drink: Double Mountain IRA.
Happy hour: Daily drink specials 6-8 pm.
Entertainment: Mostly free live music, pool, pinball.
Leisure Public House
8002 N Lombard St., 289-7606,
leisurepublichouse.com. 4 pm-1 am Monday-Friday, noon-1 am Saturday-Sunday.
One could be forgiven, upon first visit, for mistaking Leisure Public House for a well-appointed rec room to which you’ve been invited for a cocktail. The back patio, in summer, is a little Edenic bower complete with bocce pit, bedding plants and pingpong. Indoors: scads of board games, framed and matted pictures, sprigs of this and that. The bar practically swims in a well-lived, lefty-middle-class domesticity one does not typically associate with St. Johns. But they’ll still get you politely drunk there, no worries. Trivia night on Tuesday, however, is ridiculously standing-room only, so don’t show up unless you intend to play. MATTHEW KORFHAGE.
What to drink: Any of the rotating menu of microbrews, scrawled in chalk behind the bar.
Happy hour: $1 off tap and well drinks, $2 off pitchers, $2 bruschetta 4-6 pm Monday-Friday.
Entertainment: Movies Sunday, open-mic Monday, trivia Tuesday. Board games aplenty, bocce, pingpong, jukebox.
938 N Cook St., 517-9931. 5 pm-midnight Sunday, 5 pm-2:30 am Monday-Saturday.
Years from now, when historians look back on the golden days of Portland culinary invention, it’s inevitable someone will mention the kitschy little pink house filled with antlers that serves nachos made with Triscuit crackers. It’s not like Liberty Glass is a one-trick pony; all the cocktails, which are mostly whiskey based, are delicious, and the cheese plate is one of the best in town (among bars, anyway). But it’s the nachos—salty, crispy and served with a fresh red-pepper salsa—that make Liberty Glass an ideal last call. MICHAEL MANNHEIMER.
What to drink: Liberty Glass Manhattan. It’s sweet.
Happy hour: $1 off all cocktails and pints midnight-2:30 am nightly.
Entertainment: Blackout Bingo on Monday nights.
Lion’s Eye Tavern
5919 SE 82nd Ave., 774-1468, facebook.com/lionseyetavern. 2 pm-2:30 am Monday-Tuesday, noon-2:30 am Wednesday-Sunday.
Rarely are turnarounds so complete. The former Becken’s Winning Hand Tavern was busted in 2006 for selling drugs across the bar. Not only the occasional seat cushion but also the carpet, tables and sign were held together by reams of duct tape. The homeless slept in corner booths, and the restrooms weren’t discussed. How surprising, then, that the Lion’s Eye has turned out to be such a boon to the neighborhood since it opened at the same location in February 2009. The new proprietress, Erin Wagner, tore out the phone booth and video-crack machines, re-felted the pool tables, hired a local muralist for the back patio and installed eight taps of discerningly picked microbrews and micro-microbrews (along with up to 50 bottles in her fridges). The bar gets all the local limited releases, and pool tournaments on Sundays also offer up free barbecue for the players. Wagner is pretty enough and buoyantly welcoming enough that the whole thing is almost hilariously Pollyannaish, the aftermath of an ’80s-movie brighten-the-corners montage. We repeat: Best. Former. Meth. Den. Ever. MATTHEW KORFHAGE.
What to drink: Cascade Brewing Defroster Winter Ale.
Happy hour: $2.50 domestic drafts 3-7 pm daily.
Entertainment: Pool, live music, pinball, jukebox.
3536 NE Martin Luther King Jr. Blvd., 282-1833, myspace.com/nelocallounge 4:30 pm-2 am daily.
Before my second drink at the Local Lounge, a disheveled homeless man plopped down next to me asking for change. Seconds later, instead of kicking him out, the bartender had the man move to his own table and gave him coffee. In summation, don’t let this cocktail lounge’s stylish and hip decor belie its general friendliness. The Local Lounge is an LGBT-friendly bar, and with that name and varied offerings (video lottery, fine cocktails, DJs, Glee nights), it also works well as an inviting neighborhood bar or a Saturday night destination. JASON SLOTKIN.
What to drink: A Spanish coffee (“I make great hot drinks,” the bartender boasted).
Happy hour: $3 well drinks and microbrews, $1 off food 4:30-7:30 pm daily.
Entertainment: Karaoke, LGBT events, dance nights, live music.
417 NW 21st Ave., 228-6614, mbarpdx.com. 6 pm-2:30 am nightly.
It’s dark in here, and it’s tiny. Most bars have bathrooms bigger than this candlelit nook, where all conversations are shared over glasses of really good wine or imperial pints from the best two taps in town. On a busy night, M Bar might hold 20 people, but I like it best on those slow winter evenings when a few solo drinkers trade stories in the gloom. Last time, I learned what it’s like to have Muhammad Ali fall on you on an escalator, and why New Jersey tomatoes are the nation’s finest. There’s no food, but you’re welcome to bring your own. You may wind up sharing. BEN WATERHOUSE.
What to drink: Whatever Heater Allen is on tap.
Happy hour: $4 beer and wine 6-8 pm nightly.
Entertainment: Bartender Justin has some great travel stories.
217 NW 4th Ave., 224-8472,
magicgardenportland.com. 11:45 am-2:30 am Monday-Saturday, 5:45 pm-2:30 am Sunday.
The dancers are slightly more enthusiastic than in years past, but Magic Garden is still the only strip club in Portland to take a shy-but-game first date, because the nudity here, lovely as it is (if you’re into Burning Angel girls), is quiet nudity, and the sexual charge doesn’t travel too far beyond the ring of chairs around the stage. It’s nearly impossible, of course, to avoid stealing secret glances at whatever languid writhing happens to be taking place in the soft light, but one can actually carry on a meaningful conversation here whilst doing so. Why you’d want to have a meaningful conversation here is anyone’s guess, but have at it, dweeb. CHRIS STAMM.
What to drink: Budweiser and PBR.
Entertainment: Strippers, pool.
129 SW Broadway, 227-3023, marysclub.com. 11 am-2:30 am Monday-Saturday, 11:30-2:30 am Sunday.
Dark, dank Mary’s Club—at over 40 years in operation, the undisputed grande dame of West Coast strips—has an enduring relationship with celebrity. Courtney Love stripped there, back when the neighborhood was seedy enough to be a place where Courtney Love would strip; a signed picture on the wall says she “bought my very first guitar here showing my teeny little titties.” Viva Las Vegas, Portland’s most famous dancer/author/union organizer, dances there still. Tom Waits reputedly sang about it in “Pasties and a G-String.” It’s maybe not always fun to be there anymore, amid local transients who cobbled together just enough for the one-drink minimum, the late-night frat-boy nightclub refugees and besotted couples on dates, but it will remain always a stubbornly degenerate landmark of what Portland once was and still often is. MATTHEW KORFHAGE.
What to drink: Bad rum ordered neat, because at Mary’s, everyone’s a dirty sailor.
Happy hour: $2.50 PBR before 4:30 pm, for the nonworking crowd.
Entertainment: Girls/ladies, friendly also brassy, oddly classy, with sterling taste on the juke, who let you see all of their piercings and tattoos. Also, video poker.
1967 W Burnside St., 222-5822,
thematadorbar.com. Noon-2:30 am daily.
Despite being on sidewalk level with West Burnside Street, the Matador has always felt to me like it was located at least 6 feet underground. This atmosphere of Hell’s Lobby may have been due to the blacked-out windows, or the time I ended up watching most of Shakes the Clown muted on one of the TVs, but it’s probably because every time I’ve entered the premises, I’ve been blotto. The other night, I chanced to walk in sober, and wouldn’t you know—it’s a perfectly nice place. There’s even a great big midway-style sign with the bar’s name written in a rainbow of light bulbs. Still, most people probably experience the Matador in an inebriated condition, judging from the photo booth with an entire wall dedicated to women who have exposed their breasts and left the pictures behind. It is a staggering amount of women. AARON MESH.
What to drink: The electric sign above the bar suggests warm spiced wine, but I’d stick to the shot of Old Crow.
Happy hour: $1 PBR and $3.50 well drinks noon-7 pm daily.
Entertainment: Pool, pinball, TV, Pop-A-Shot, an electronically scored boxing bag.
3203 SE Division St., 234-7844,
matchboxlounge.com. 4 pm-2:30 am daily.
This comfortable neighborhood joint across the street from Pok Pok does happy hour right. For one, it offers the price special twice a day, in the early evening and then again after 10. And for two, the cost of its amazingly delicious burger, best ordered medium rare, plummets from $11 to just $5. With a small seating area and deep red walls decorated with interesting local art that changes every month, the Matchbox is casual, unpretentious and quite cozy. You’ll soon find yourself, like me, visiting twice a week. CHRISTINA COOKE.
What to drink: The Apollo, “Stoli vodka, housemade ginger limeade, angostura bitters and mint.”
Happy hour: Cheap food 4-6 pm and after 10 pm daily, and all day on Sundays. Entertainment: Sidewalk picnic tables, jukebox, live music two to three times a week.
Maui’s on Williams
3508 N Williams Ave., 282-1611. 3 pm-2:30 am Monday-Saturday, 9:30 am-2:30 am Sunday.
Contrary to what its name suggests, Maui’s is not a tiki bar. Yes, there are cheap painted murals of dolphins jumping over a rainbow and a picturesque waterfall, but this is not the type of place that serves you a cocktail with an umbrella in it. Instead, the bartenders at Maui’s mix what might be the most potent well drinks in town, if you play your cards right (i.e., show up with women), and it offers free pool and Nintendo Wii. The large, industrial-concrete space isn’t very aesthetically appealing, but that’s not really the point: Maui’s isn’t an island oasis so much as a nice neighborhood dive where you can get wasted and destroy your friends at Wii tennis for just a few bucks. MICHAEL MANNHEIMER.
What to drink: Cheap beer or a couple generous whiskey gingers.
Happy hour: $1 PBR, $2.25 well drinks, $3 microbrews 4-7 pm Monday-Friday.
Entertainment: Nintendo Wii, pool, pingpong, sports, Pirates of the Caribbean pinball machine.
2828 NE Glisan St., 206-5221, migrationbrewing.com. 11 am-11 pm Monday-Thursday, noon-midnight Friday-Saturday, noon-10 pm Sunday.
Once the sun finally comes out, Portlanders crave nothing more than a good pint and an empty picnic table—and maybe a great pulled-pork sandwich. Luckily, the remarkably chill Migration Brewing, which opened in early 2010, boasts all three. Brewer Mike Branes has already produced a respectable namesake pale ale, a smooth, rich Clem’s Cream Ale and pucker-worthy Lil’ Bitter, all brewed just off the pub’s airy main room, where drinkers nod along to reggae hits and watch the Blazers lose again. Just beyond the roll-up garage door, a converted parking lot hosts a grip of (often empty!) picnic tables where you can hunker down with that sandwich—the peppery pulled pork ($8.50) braised in smoky spices and ladled atop pillowy Fleur de Lis ciabatta with pepper jack cheese and sweet slaw. Ah, summer. KELLY CLARKE.
What to drink: Terry’s Porter.
Happy hour: $3.50 Migration pints 3-6 pm Monday-Friday.
Entertainment: Sports, darts.
Moon & Sixpence
2014 NE 42nd Ave., 288-7802. 3 pm-midnight Tuesday-Thursday, 3 pm-1 am Friday-Saturday, 4 pm-midnight Sunday.
Like a smaller country cousin to the Horse Brass, Moon & Sixpence is as authentic a British pub as you can get: The wooden interior feels like an 18th-century carriage drivers’ tavern, stains linger from smokier days, darts are king and rounds are delivered by appropriately crotchety servers. There’s a bevy of local brews on tap and a well-stocked selection of whiskey from the U.S. and across the pond. Hell, the place even serves rarebit ($3.50), a Welsh treat, and cottage pie ($7.95), as much marks of authenticity as a head-butt from a Manchester United fan. AP KRYZA.
What to drink: Any of the fine whisk(e)y selections, $5-$15.
Entertainment: Darts, outdoor seating, live music.
719 SE Morrison St., 236-7080. 11 am-close Monday-Friday, 5 pm-2:30 am Saturday, 5 pm-1 am Sunday.
From the looks of the sign outside, one would think Morrison Hotel would be a classy, throwback nod to old Portland, the type of place Don Draper would stop in to get an old fashioned. But with a jukebox turned to the classic alternative station (think Sonic Youth, the Smiths and Blur’s “Beetlebum”) and a fantastic beer selection that includes things you’ve never heard of in a bottle, the Morrison Hotel reminds me more of an English pub, only with the Boston Red Sox on the tube instead of Man United. Show up early for happy hour and a game to avoid the douchebag overflow from Grand Central on Saturday nights. MICHAEL MANNHEIMER.
What to drink: With more than 100 beer options, pick something you’ve never heard of.
Happy hour: $3 beers, $5.50 food 4-7 pm daily.
Entertainment: Pinball, darts, video poker, jukebox, Red Sox games.
5403 NE 42nd Ave., 288-8080, nepo42.com. 3 pm-midnight daily, Sunday brunch 10 am-3 pm.
NePo 42 seems intent on one thing: doing typical bar fare and entertainment exceedingly well. So well, indeed, that it can be a perfect compromise bar for groups with divergent bar interests. It’s got smoked wings and a large TV for game nights, a full menu and Sunday brunch for family meals out and a rotating list of draft beers and free pool for drinking nights. The main drawback, which is barely a complaint, is the tiny parking lot. Park on one of the side streets and walk over. JASON SLOTKIN.
What to drink: Any of the rotating draft beers.
Happy hour: $3 wells, $3.50 draft beers, $2 Old Germans, food specials 3-6 pm Monday-Friday and 3 pm to close Sunday.
Entertainment: Pool, open-mic nights, Sunday brunch.
New Old Lompoc
1616 NW 23rd Ave., 225-1855,
newoldlompoc.com. 11-2 am daily.
One of the few places to drink along Northwest 23rd Avenue where it’s easy to park and you can wear anything you want, the Old Lompoc is a casual brewpub with a lived-in feel and zero pretensions. Also, the beer, brewed on-site, is fantastic. It’s hard to beat the Sockeye Cream Stout on a windy winter day, although competition from the surrounding taps is stiff. Best of all, you can see the many TVs from any seat in the house, but the sound never drowns out civilized conversation. BECKY OHLSEN.
What to drink: LSD (Lompoc Strong Draft).
Happy hour: $2.50 pints all day Monday, $3 bloody Marys Sunday, $3.25 pints and $1 off cocktails 3-6 pm and 10 pm-close Tuesday- Friday.
Entertainment: Trivia 7:30 pm Tuesdays, darts, TV, patio.
517 NW 21st Ave., 248-6317, north45pub.com. 4 pm-late Monday-Friday, noon-late Saturday-Sunday.
The theme of this classy Nob Hill joint from the owners of Paddy’s is a loose amalgamation of international travel (customers’ vacation snaps surround a map on one wall) and unpopular sports (framed rugby and soccer jerseys adorn another), but the atmosphere is all romance; a quick survey of the bar on a recent Wednesday evening turned up eight couples on dates. And why not? The food is pretty good, easy to share and just spendy enough that you won’t seem like a cheapskate (an enormous bowl of mussels and fries runs $15); the marble bar and warm lights lend an air of anticipation; and the place is noisy enough that lulls in conversation don’t seem awkward. Also, you can drink beer from a glass the size and shape of a riding boot. BEN WATERHOUSE.
What to drink: Belgian beers in appropriate glassware.
Happy hour: $3.50 Pilsner pints, $4 well drinks, $5 margaritas and $3-$6 food 4-6 pm nightly, all night Monday, 10 pm-midnight Wednesday.
Entertainment: TV with football, rugby and soccer. Heated, covered patio. Travel photos.
8115 SE Stark St., 445-6284, theobservatorypdx.com. 11 am-10 pm Sunday-Monday, 11 am-midnight Tuesday-Saturday.
Time was, a trip to the Academy Theater in Montavilla meant just one thing: dinner at Ya Hala beforehand. But that changed when the Observatory opened and divided our loyalties with its siren song of golden rosemary-garlic fries, inventive twists on cafe standards and a veggie burger that even carnivores order repeatedly. The soothing color scheme, accented by a minimalist chandelier, helps create a casual-chic vibe (though the concrete floor does add to the ambient sound level). A spacious bar hints at the elaborate cocktail menu, but don’t be fooled into thinking the Observatory is just a glorified bar. Try the mussels, which are served in either a ginger-sake broth or a white wine one that’s dotted with chorizo. No matter your entree, you won’t have room for dessert. Which is fine—we’d rather end things with one of their sweet-toothed cocktails. Come to think of it, maybe we’ll stay for another, and skip the movie. HANNAH FELDMAN.
What to drink: Two allspice-spiked Spiced Manhattans and I’m under the table.
Happy hour: $3 draft beer and well drinks, $1 domestic cans, $5 house wine and cocktail special, $2-$5 insanely generous appetizers 3-6 pm daily and 10 pm-close Sunday-Thursday.
Old Market Pub
6959 SW Multnomah Blvd., 244-2337, drinkbeerhere.com. 11 am-midnight Sunday-Thursday, 11 am-1 am Friday-Saturday.
For drinking fans, Southwest Portland is a black hole of suckage. But nestled between Multnomah Village and Garden Home is a beautiful drinking sanctuary. The Old Market Pub’s in-house brewery gets overshadowed by McMenamins, but Old’s are far superior to Hammerhead or Ruby. Try the 10-beer sampler if you don’t believe. With TVs, pool tables and shuffleboard, Old Market Pub has enough entertainment to waste away an entire Sunday—especially since their hearty Bloody Marys are available for $3 all day long. WHITNEY HAWKE.
What to drink: Pinochle Pale Ale.
Happy hour: 3-6 pm Sunday-Thursday, 3-5:30 pm Friday-Saturday, 10 pm-close daily.
Entertainment: TV, pool, shuffleboard.
6535 SE Foster Road, 777-0495,
omalleyspdx.com. 3 pm-2 am daily.
This is my bar. There are many like it, but this one is mine. It is enormous. It is rarely crowded, and when it is, the crowd is friendly. It has a mural on the front, and couches inside. The pool and foosball are free, though the tables are worn. There is art on the walls. There is a pizza oven that turns out very good pizza. You can buy a 10-inch pie and a pint for $10 from 3 to 6 pm. Sandwiches are also an option. Monday is heavy-metal night. There is no cover. The jukebox is full of art, instead of album covers, so you have to look up your song in a binder. The music is good. The beer is excellent—Ninkasi, Firestone Walker, Everybody’s Brewing, Fort George. It is, in short, like every other bar, and it is perfect. BEN WATERHOUSE.
What to drink: Ninkasi Oatis.
Happy hour: 50 cents off all drinks, $10 beer and 10-inch pizza combo 3-6 pm Monday-Friday.
Entertainment: Pool, foosball, DJs, TV, jukebox, pinball (Doctor Who, Johnny Mnemonic, Twilight Zone), Donkey Kong, occasional live metal, punk and bluegrass.
Paddy’s Bar and Grill
65 SW Yamhill St., 224-5626, paddys.com.
11 am-2:30 am daily.
As far as Irish pubs go, Paddy’s isn’t much craic: Most of the beer is American, the TV plays Blazers games, the menu is about as Irish as Taco Bell, and it holds an annual Robbie Burns Supper; never mind Burns was a Scot. But what makes Paddy’s special isn’t its tenuous Irish theme, but rather its giant wall of booze—seven long glass shelves, stacked to the ceiling with premium liquor. Risking altitude sickness and a nasty fall, the bartenders deftly scale a rather shaky wooden ladder to retrieve bottles containing whiskey that is older than most of the patrons, bringing new meaning to the term “top shelf.” RUTH BROWN.
What to drink: Guinness if you’re skint, or splurge on a 21-year-old Bushmills single malt.
Happy hour: $3.50 Pilsner pints, $5 well drinks, $3 domestic bottled beer, $3-$6 food 4-7 pm and 10 pm-close daily.
Entertainment: Live music; traditional Scottish haggis suppers, apparently.
5101 N Interstate Ave., 230-0705. 11:30 am-1 am Monday-Saturday, noon-midnight Sunday.
An exercise in contradiction, Pause serves heartwarming comfort food in a strangely cold, hard-edged space. It’s far from rowdy but can be deafening when crowded. It is decidedly a bar, but it’s known as a hangout for parents and their kids. (Shorties are welcome until 8 pm.) But the good by far outweighs the uncomfortable; in fact, the kitchen’s little cheddar sliders could do that by themselves. Established by the folks behind the Low Brow Lounge, it has that same casual attitude, but the food is a notch classier, the vibe more restrained and the focus is on beer over liquor. BECKY OHLSEN.
What to drink: The Everyday Special: two beef sliders (one cheddar, one blue cheese and bacon), awesome fries and a pint of pale ale.
Entertainment: Patio. Kid-friendly (12-and-unders get their own corner of the menu).
8409 N Lombard St., 283-2243, plewsbrews.com. Noon-9 pm daily.
Prepare to be confused. Plew’s Brews is one of those unsettling enterprises whose organizing principle cannot be pinned down and grows more elusive the longer you stay. I think you’re probably supposed to be stoned. A former surplus-grocery outlet, the place is now vividly psychedelic in hue, with movie posters and autographed star photos everywhere, cushioned beer kegs as bar stools, thrift-store couches, a few tables and (ornamental?) bicycle-type things haphazardly strewn about the huge room. Bob Marley dominates the stereo and guards the entrance to the restroom, whose blacklight paint job makes for a baffling journey. Can’t argue with the beer list or prices. BECKY OHLSEN.
What to drink: Lost Coast Tangerine Wheat beer.
Happy hour: Constantly: pints $3, growlers $7.
Entertainment: Darts, live music, trippy glowing art, shimmery murals.
Pope House Bourbon Lounge
2075 NW Glisan St., 222-1056, popehouselounge.com. 4 pm-midnight Tuesday-Thursday and Sunday, 4 pm-1 am Friday-Saturday.
The Kentucky trappings of this whiskey-centric Nob Hill tavern—Frito pie on the menu, guns on the wall—go just far enough, all Southern hospitality without the NASCAR fixation. The four shelves behind the bar hold over 100 bourbons, whiskeys and whiskies, from Canadian Club ($5) to Hirsch Selection 28 Year ($70); make it through 50 of them and the bar will give you 10 percent off for life. It’s a cozy place, taking up the front three rooms of an 1890 Victorian; cozier still is the eight-seat bar, topped with a magnificent sheet of rolled copper. There are cocktails, but you should be having yours straight. And try the ice cream. BEN WATERHOUSE.
What to drink: Elmer T. Lee, neat.
Happy hour: $5 cocktails, $4 wine and select whiskies, $3.50 well drinks, $3 draft beer and $4-$6 food specials 4-7 pm Tuesday-Friday and all night Sunday.
Entertainment: TV, pub quiz 8 pm Sundays. Patio.
204 SE Oak St., 232-8355, producerowcafe.com. 11 am-2 am Monday-Friday, 10 am-2 am Saturday-Sunday.
Those towering gray leather booths, the sunny, sleek patio, the sweeping art-nouveau mural and tiny, gritty oil paintings of PDX streets—it only took a two-month remodel for Alan Davis to turn this venerable Southeast industrial pub from crusty beer geek to suds chic. Don’t freak, regulars: For three decades-plus, ProRow has been a chill spot to sip a pint of Hales Cream Ale on nitro with a friend—now it feels like a chill spot to sip a pint (24 drafts and 20 bottles to choose from) and then have a shot at making out with that friend. This infusion of sex appeal is a great thing. Old soul songs now soundtrack drinkers downing the spot’s new namesake brew (a light ale created in collaboration by three Oregon brewers), exploring fun whiskey-beer pairings and gobbling pulled-pork sliders. Fabulous. KELLY CLARKE.
What to drink: One of the six beer and whiskey pairs. We like the Copper Quill, which offers Anderson Valley’s Boont Amber Ale with Eagle Rare Single Barrel.
Happy hour: $1 off draft beer, well and call drinks, $4-$5 food 4-7 pm daily.
Entertainment: Live music, DJs, movies on the patio in summer.
4237 N Mississippi Ave., 954-2674, prostportland.com. 11:30 am-2:30 am Monday-Friday, 11 am-2:30 am Saturday-Sunday.
Portland’s tiny version of a München Hofbräuhaus rings with the clinking of giant steins of clove-scented Weissbier, malty lager and Paulaner Oktoberfest nightly—it serves only German suds—while noisy groups of revelers chow on big plates of serviceable Bavarian Sausage Company bratwurst and sauerkraut. Come summer, the patio is packed with sun-seeking drinkers pairing their brews with grub from the food carts that share Prost!’s parking lot. Need a break from the beer? Prost! keeps a big glass vat of Jack Daniels floating with oranges, raisins and cinnamon sticks behind the bar. You should partake, it’s like a holiday in a shot. KELLY CLARKE.
What to drink: Huge 1-liter titan of Spaten Lager and a Neumann’s pretzel with German mustard.
Entertainment: TVs, patio, oversized glassware, occasional oompah-band sightings.
1101 NE Alberta St., 287-2346. radioroompdx.com. 7 am-2 am Monday-Friday, 9 am-2 am Saturday-Sunday.
Candlelit on the inside and bathed in the glow of fireplaces outside, Radio Room is a nice cross between Doug Fir, a Yukon cabin and a bingo lounge frequented by the Rat Pack. The latter part’s no accident; a massive bingo board decorates the kid-friendly dining area of the former gas station, which boasts Grandma’s favorite social activity every Monday. Bar-side is a dark, intimate place to kick back and drink cocktails, while outside features two great patio areas for making friends with stained teeth: an open-air section downstairs with a roaring gas fire and a covered rooftop patio with an adobe-style oven. AP KRYZA.
What to drink: A delicate Miller High Life, served in an elegant Champagne (of beers) flute.
Happy hour: $2.75 microbrew pints and well drinks 3-6 pm daily, cheap food 11 pm-2 am nightly.
Entertainment: Bingo, live music, fireplaces, trivia Tuesdays, bingo Mondays, board games.
Red Cap Garage
1035 SW Stark St., 226-4171,
redcapgarage.com. 4 pm-2:30 am daily.
Whither the Burnside Triangle? Once the epicenter of Portland’s gay scene, it is now being squeezed out by the trendy West End on one side and yuppie Pearl District on the other. But for those still carrying the rainbow flag, Red Cap Garage still parties like it’s 1987. The crowd is generally younger and less hairy than at nearby Scandals, but the huge, heaving sunken dance floor welcomes all comers—from queens to hags—while the entertainment ranges from bingo nights to all-male revues to simply sitting on the heated front patio watching unsuspecting tourists and yuppies wander in off the street—then quickly run out again. RUTH BROWN.
What to drink: Raspberry Drop.
Happy hour: $1 off tap beer and calls, $2.50 wells, $3-$5 cocktails, $3-$6 food menu, 4-9 pm daily, all day Sunday.
Entertainment: DJs, live music, bingo karaoke.
344 NE 28th Ave., 232-0507. 4 pm-2:30 am nightly.
When my friends talk about Red Flag, the first thing that comes up is the frozen margarita machine. And though the temptation to drown my sorrows in tequila and an awful brain freeze is hard to resist, I’d like to point out to all the slushie haters that this is a dive where you can also play pinball, load up the jukebox with jams from the Strokes and Pavement and talk to the bartender about how much you hate the Yankees. On weekends things can get hectic, and the cheap sandwiches (all in the $5 range) are nothing you couldn’t make at home. Still, Red Flag is a bar with a sense of humor; a sign by the cash register states, “If you were born after today’s date in 1989 or are Dave Matthews we won’t serve you.” Sorry, DMB fans, at least there’s a margarita machine. MICHAEL MANNHEIMER.
What to drink: Pitchers of PBR.
Happy hour: $1 off all drinks 4-7 pm Monday-Friday.
Entertainment: Jukebox, four pinball machines.
5128 N Albina Ave., 282-2934, redfoxpdx.com.
3 pm-1:30 am daily.
That long sunless stretch from September to April can be rough. But try dragging your cold husk out into the night and into Red Fox once in a while, for there is solace here, in the form of an almost parental concern for your fall-into-winter-into-second-winter blues. The kitchen dishes up gumbo fries ($7) to help keep your skeleton warm underneath a necessary layer of fat, while the magnificent Bärenjäger hot toddy ($7) attends to your sweet tooth and sour mood. Even the regulars evince empathy, their conversations conducted in hushed tones so as not to startle you out of your half-hibernation. Everything’s gonna be all right. CHRIS STAMM.
What to drink: Bärenjäger hot toddy.
Happy hour: $1 off beer and wine 4-6 pm daily.
2530 NE 82nd Ave., 256-3399, redroomportland.com. 5 pm-2:30 am nightly.
The bathroom graffiti has that whole “brevity = wit” equation down (“Eat my festering feces,” for instance, which works as an exhortation and a band name), and the proprietors of this crepuscular punk-’n’-roll den are just as gleefully rude with our tender language: Peep the food special called “Angry Monkey Fuck.” It probably contains very little actual monkey or fuck, because those things are expensive, and the Red Room is all about the affordable buzz. The bartenders don’t reach up to the top shelf often, and they will punish your refined airs with steep prices ($7.50 for a Maker’s and soda), so go cheap or go home. CHRIS STAMM.
What to drink: Anything your bartender does not have to stretch to reach.
Happy hour: $3 food 4-8 pm daily.
Entertainment: Live music, trivia, pool, TVs.
Reel M’ Inn
2430 SE Division St., 231-3880. 10 am-2:30 am daily.
Cheap beer, nice regulars and the best fried chicken in the known universe—is there anything more you could possibly ask from a bar? It may take a while to show up, but a plate of Reel M’ Inn’s chicken and jojos is worth the wait; take in the chalked graffiti, neon and assorted taxidermy. A measly $7.75 gets you three fist-sized hunks of juicy bird flesh with crisp brown breading and four potato halves, battered and fried to a mouth-scorching crunch. When you’ve licked every last salty crumb, order another round of beers, throw some Sam Cooke on the juke and feel the grease start to seep out your pores. Life is good. BEN WATERHOUSE.
What to drink: Three or four Sessions, with chicken.
Happy hour: Specials vary.
Entertainment: Internet jukebox, pool, Big Buck Safari, four TVs.
7819 SW Capitol Highway, 246-9097,
rennersgrill.com. 6:30-2:30 am Monday-Friday, 7-2:30 am Saturday-Sunday.
Multnomah Village may be home to Portlanders who look like Peter Yarrow’s aging groupies, and a recent visitor to Renner’s said the storied watering hole felt something akin to the 1959 setting of the Kevin Bacon movie Diner. And who really cares if the place feels like a throwback? Where else in Southwest Portland would an unemployed twentysomething aesthetician confess to having doubts about her profession? “If someone asked me to pay $75 for them to wash my face,” she said, “I’d tell them to fuck off, too.” BETH SLOVIC.
What to drink: Don’t get all fancy at Renner’s, where wine options are barely more descriptive than “red” and “white.” Save your money for the chili burger. The chili is homemade, somewhere.
Happy hour: Every hour if you like Jell-O shots, always $1. Well drinks $2.50 and beers $1.50-$3.50 11 am-7 pm weekdays, 3 -7 pm weekends. “Buck Night Tuesdays” 9 pm-midnight with $1 well drinks.
Entertainment: Renner’s has been known to bust out the bingo.
600 E Burnside St., 236-4536, rontoms.net. 4:30 pm-2:30 am daily.
When people complain that Portland is under a siege from skinny jeans, this is what they’re whining about: a pub with no name above the door, kids in headbands playing pingpong on the sprawling back deck, and bartenders more beautiful with a hangover than you were on the best day of your life. But Rontoms is actually one of the city’s most changeable nightspots: Depending on the date and the hour, it can be as cavernous and quiet as a church, or packed to capacity with people looking for a lay at last call. Neither is really cause for hatred; order a grilled cheese sandwich and tomato soup, watch the sunset above the garden planters and maybe you’ll feel beautiful enough to meet somebody. AARON MESH.
What to drink: Quaff local, and fancy. Try something with Aviation Gin.
Happy hour: $3 well drinks and $4 food menu 4:30-6:30 pm Monday-Friday.
Entertainment: Patio, fireplace, pingpong.
8105 SE Stark St., 255-0049. 10:30 am-midnight Monday-Friday, 8:30 am-Midnight Saturday-Sunday.
A beer lover’s paradise for people who think paradise is an unpretentious dive with pool tables and arcade games, Roscoe’s has 16 brews on tap—some local (King Kitty Red from Portland’s Coalition, Omega Tex IPA from Fort George in Astoria), some national (Chateau Jiahu—supposedly an ancient Chinese recipe—from Delaware’s Dogfish Head), some international (Germany’s Hefeweissbier)—and a cool down-to-earth crowd that seems unaware it’s drinking way out in the far Southeast. MATT SINGER.
What to drink: Ninkasi Unconvention Ale, an imperial stout made with lavender, tarragon and heather.
Happy hour: 4-7 pm daily, 50 cents off drinks.
Entertainment: Pool, pinball, arcade games, video poker.
Sam’s Hollywood Billiards
1845 NE 41st Ave., 282-8266. 7 am-1 am Monday-Thursday, 7 am-2 am Friday–Saturday, 8 am-1 am Sunday.
This is a great place both to spend a rainy night with the crack of billiard balls as your background noise and to grab an early morning breakfast in the hungover light of day. There are nine pool tables downstairs and six upstairs—enough so there’s nary a wait to play—along with an awesome pair of comfy couches on the second floor to plunk down and watch a Blazers game. The couches fit the old-house feel of this Hollywood neighborhood fixture. The place is well-worn with a clientele to match—as simple and efficient as Willie Mosconi lining up a 2 ball in the corner. HENRY STERN.
What to drink: A boilermaker.
Happy hour: $2.50 microbrews and well drinks, $2 Budweiser and Bud Light 4-7 pm daily.
Entertainment: Pool, TV, foosball, darts, video games, pinball.
The Sapphire Hotel
5008 SE Hawthorne Blvd., 232-6333, thesapphirehotel.com. 4 pm-2 am Monday-Friday, 9 am-2 am Saturday, 9 am-midnight Sunday.
With the motto “eat drink kiss,” deep red walls and a vase of peacock feathers just inside the front door, the Sapphire Hotel pays homage to its sultry history as the lobby of a “turn-of-the-century seedy hotel” with rooms for rent by the hour. The Asian-themed decorations of this neighborhood cocktail bar are ornate and seductive: Oriental rugs, giant framed mirrors, a gold-toned mural and candles that glint off the liquor bottles along the back wall. The cocktails are original, creative and exceedingly tasty. The Hotel is often packed with couples on intimate dates, boisterous parties of five or six and every combination in between. CHRISTINA COOKE.
What to drink: Going Down—“whiskey, housemade pimento dram and maple syrup muddled with orange and cherry.”
Happy hour: $5-$6 food, $4 well drinks and house wines, $5 weekly drink special 4-6 pm Monday- Friday, 2-6 pm Saturday-Sunday, 10 pm until close Sunday-Thursday.
Entertainment: Live jazz 8-10 pm on Sundays (no cover).
6910 N Interstate Ave., 719-5924.
3 pm-2 am daily.
Too many bars in Portland struggle to find an identity. Often, a new spot can’t decide whether it wants to be a neighborhood watering hole or a weekend concert venue. Fortunately, the Saratoga doesn’t have to pick a side—it excels at both. With cheap, stiff drinks, a photo booth, four pinball machines and a sign above the bar announcing that twins (both ordinary and, uh, conjoined) drink for free, the Saratoga is a perfect spot to stop in for a quick pint. The killer is the bar’s second side, with a small stage and ample space for bands, DJs and the odd soul-funk dance night. Right now the live music is mostly relegated to Saturday nights, but the room is big enough that it could—and hopefully will—become a haven for local garage-rock newbies. MICHAEL MANNHEIMER.
What to drink: Hot toddy.
Happy hour: $3 well drinks, $1 domestic beers, 50 cents off microbrews 3-7 pm daily.
Entertainment: Pinball, darts, sports, live music, karaoke Mondays, photo booth.
1004 N Killingsworth St., 206-4252, saraveza.com. 11 am-midnight Wednesday-Monday.
Saraveza’s beer menu is a lengthy son of a bitch. With nine rotating taps and over 250 bottles to choose from, an avid beer drinker could get wasted every day for months and still not taste the entire collection. I won’t try to capture the breadth of Saraveza’s international selection—just know it has everything, right down to Captured by Porches 22-ounce bottles and the most micro of microbrews on tap. The interior of this cozy beervana is clad in vintage beer signs; any other decor would seem contrived. To top it off, Saraveza’s housemade soups and British pasties are perfect for cushioning the beer in your gut. WHITNEY HAWKE.
What to drink: Something you haven’t before. Saraveza was made for beerventure.
Happy hour: $1 off drafts 3:30-5:30 pm daily.
927 SE Morrison St., 231-1606, sassysbar.com. 11 am-2:30 am daily.
Among the more famous strip clubs in town, Sassy’s is also the least “Portlandian” of the city’s high-profile nudie joints. Although it employs a few “alt” dancers—one girl with a foot-high mohawk, another who jiggles around the stage while wearing a hat with furry ear-warmers—it doesn’t have any sort of hook beyond the naked women. It’s pretty much just a strip club, where ladies emerge from behind red curtains, undulate to shitty music, and have dudes with baseball caps cocked to the side toss singles at them like they’re in a rap video. And that’s actually refreshing—sometimes, all you want is to look at a pair of fake breasts hanging upside down from a pole while listening to Marilyn Manson. MATT SINGER.
What to drink: PBR—save cash for the girls. Your money is helping put their kids through college.
Happy hour: $1.50 PBR, $1.75 other domestic beers, $2 microbrews, $1 off appetizers 11 am-7 pm daily.
Entertainment: Strippers, douchebag-watching, video poker.
The Secret Society Lounge
116 NE Russell St., 493-3600,
thesecretsocietylounge.com. 5 pm-midnight Sunday-Thursday, 5 pm-1 am Friday-Saturday.
When you’re ready to leave the well drinks behind, consider Secret Society Lounge and its list of cocktails both classic and custom (and absinthe!). With a menu that incorporates quail eggs and vintage decor that includes a fez-wearing hunting trophy, the Secret Society takes cues from private clubs frequented by 20th-century bluebloods and the fraternal orders the building once hosted. These days the bar is probably better suited for casual nights out with friends or a dinner date than the old boys’ club. JASON SLOTKIN.
What to drink: Sazerac.
Happy hour: $5 drink specials 5-7 pm Sunday-Thursday, $1 off vodka and whiskey mules 10 pm-close nightly.
Entertainment: Live music.
211 SW Ankeny St., 220-4001,
shanghaitunnel.com. 5 pm-2:30 am daily.
Shanghai Tunnel is not a bar, it’s an institution. Everyone has to spend at least one night slamming beer and shoveling a Shanghai noodle bowl down their throats before they can really call themselves a Portlander. In the dark depths of this iconic subterranean bar, cocktails are made with fresh-squeezed juices, which gives drinks like the Peach Blossom and Samurai Kiss a refreshing bite. Summer months at the Shanghai are something to look forward to, with cold drinks and grade-A premium people-watching on the patio. WHITNEY HAWKE.
What to drink: Peach Blossom.
Happy hour: $1 off beer, $2 off well drinks, cheap food 5-7 pm daily.
Entertainment: Pool, pinball, Big Buck Hunter.
1033 NW 16th Ave., 223-0099,
slabtownbar.net. 3 pm-2:30 am daily.
Slabtown has changed, man. But don’t freak out—it has changed for the better. The owners booted the video poker machines, presumably to make room for more pinball and video games (this place is still like Chuck E. Cheese’s for adults), upgraded the sound system a bit and incorporated a wider range of music into the schedule. The place feels more inclusive, and the building seems further from collapse than ever before. Which is great, because the Slabby is an oasis of awesome in stuffy Northwest Portland. The fact that the local hip-hop community has planted some roots here—alongside the punk and garage-rock constituency already on board—just makes it a bit less predictable and a bit more awesome. Slabtown is the kind of place you can go for an after-work beer and egg sandwich basket and stay until closing without really noticing because you’re a terrible alcoholic. CASEY JARMAN.
What to drink: A PBR tallboy should suffice.
Happy hour: $1 PBRs, $3 well drinks, $1 off food 3-7 pm daily.
Entertainment: Live music, pinball, pingpong, TV, air hockey, Pop-A-Shot, etc.
500 SE 8th Ave., 232-6504. 3 pm-2:30 am Monday-Friday,
noon-2:30 am Saturday,
10 am-2:30 am Sunday.
Walk into the Slammer and be transported back into a reassuring hybrid of your uncle’s basement den and freshman-year college parties. Intimacy presides in this former speak-easy. A cigarette vending machine, pinball and Big Buck Hunter offer ample distraction, and the “Do not fucking touch the speakers” sign complements the canned-food and toy drive for the holidays. Deli sandwiches, Funyuns and potato salad at 2 in the morning? Yes, please. Escape the no-man’s land of industrial Southeast Portland and be welcomed home to a strange, rowdy and delightful den of locals. STACY BROWNHILL.
What to drink: The Slammer, a signature sweet blend of Mom’s pink lemonade and your favorite college punch.
Happy hour: $2 well drinks (sans juice) 4-7 pm Monday, Tuesday, Thursday and Friday; $1.50 for 3 tacos Wednesday; $4 Bloody Marys and $2 biscuits and gravy Saturday and Sunday.
Entertainment: Trivia (2 pm Saturdays), jukebox, pinball, Big Buck Hunter, a cigarette vending machine and Chris, your new friend over there at the bar.
533 SE Grand Ave., 230-7767, slowbar.net. 11:30 am-2:30 am
5 pm-2:30 am Saturday-Sunday.
A step up from My Father’s Place next door, Slow Bar is perfect for late nights when you’re still riding out that post-concert high but hankering for something more glamorous than a dive bar. The burger, which incorporates an onion ring, ($9.50) is worth every cent, and the Southern Fry hush puppies ($5.50 at happy hour) are the best in town. The towering clamshell booths and red lights offer intimacy for scheming or flirting, as long as you don’t mind the fist-pumping rock music or casual service. STACY BROWNHILL.
What to drink: Gin and tonic.
Happy hour: $1 off all beers, $2.50 well drinks and $2.50-$5.50 food Monday-Friday.
Entertainment: Jukebox, Tic Tac Trivia.
125 NW 5th Ave., 248-1030, somedaylounge.com. 4 pm-2:30 am Monday-Friday, 8 pm-2:30 am Saturday-Sunday.
The more sophisticated, fully licensed brother of neighboring Backspace, Someday Lounge is where the Silicon Forest crowd comes to unwind after a hard day of staring at screens and arguing on Twitter. In the early evening, it’s a quiet place for a decent cocktail or imported beer (splash that start-up venture capital on a $14 bottle of Belgian Val-Dieu Grand Cru) by candlelight in the dark and sexy loft lounge, while at night, the large warehouse-style space below transforms into either a stage for avant-garde performance art or one big dance floor, as DJs spin dance, house, hip-hop and funk. But if you’re stuck in a late-night coding session, don’t worry—you can watch it all via webcam, natch. RUTH BROWN.
What to drink: Viva L’Arte—a shot of Jim Beam and a 16-ounce can of beer.
Happy hour: $1 Tecate cans, $3 wells and microbrews, reduced-price vegetarian menu 4-8 pm weekdays.
Entertainment: DJs, live music and performance, spelling bees.
4800 SE Hawthorne Blvd., 235-8303, spaceroomlounge.com.
11-2 am Monday-Friday,
9-2 am Saturday-Sunday.
There aren’t a lot of theme bars in Portland, so Space Room has an advantage right off the bat. But Hawthorne Boulevard’s dive bar of the future goes above and beyond in the chintzy decor department, and for that it is legendary: Its windowless walls are wrapped with DayGlo/blacklight Northwest nature scenes and a rough depiction of the Portland skyline; its ceiling is covered in white Christmas lights that stand in for stars. More Reno than Vegas, really, everything in the place, including the off-theme cafe/diner attachment on the building’s west end, feels endearingly artificial (“even for fake plants, these are pretty sad,” my girlfriend noted on our last visit). The drink list matches the interior design in gall: A wide variety of $7-ish fishbowl drinks (we prefer the tangy $7 Space Punch, but the Liz-a-Licious—a hideous concoction of strawberry vodka and Tang—has its appeal) join cheap happy-hour food (what other bar sells peanut butter-topped celery?) and a distinctly old-school cast of regulars and bar staff to make it one of the best afterparty destinations in Portland. Space truly is the place. CASEY JARMAN.
What to drink: The Space Punch fishbowl, of course!
Happy hour: $2.25 microbrews and $2.50 well drinks from open to 6 pm daily. Happy hour food 3-6 pm daily. Saturday and Sunday $5.50 Bloody Mary fishbowls from open to 4 pm.
Entertainment: TV, trivia Wednesdays, space shit.
The Spare Room
4830 NE 42nd Ave., 287-5800, spareroompdx.com. 7-2:30 am Sunday-Saturday.
The Spare Room—as its name helpfully implies—was once a bowling alley, but has become in the meantime the cavernous clearinghouse for every single old, true, good feeling of the Killingsworth-Fremont district, a repository for the contentedly lost and literary-articulate America that Tom Waits always sang about. Elderly couples on first dates sing country songs or swing gently to weekend live bands; young, gentle bohemes—I kid you not—crochet hats as they wait to sing ironic karaoke accompanied by sloppily ebullient live sax and guitar. Meanwhile, the drinks could blister makeup off a pretty girl’s face. Home, here, is classic as vinyl, welcome as yesterday, cheap as a life that doesn’t understand vice as sin. Also: $4 meatloaf on Tuesdays, $4 breakfast, $4 lunch. MATTHEW KORFHAGE.
What to drink: Jim Beam and Coke all night, every night.
Happy hour: $1.25 domestics and $5 burger and brew, noon-6 pm daily. $2 well drinks 3-6 pm daily.
Entertainment: Two always-empty pool tables, a jukebox shadowed over by karaoke each Monday-Wednesday, live country, R&B and blues on Friday-Saturday, occasional midcentury dancing, Lions bingo Monday, ladies’ night Wednesday, unparalleled community.
Spirit of 77
500 NE Martin Luther King Jr. Blvd., 232-9977, spiritof77bar.com. 11 am-midnight Monday-Friday, noon-midnight Saturday, 9 am-11 pm Sunday.
Let me get this out of the way early: Spirit of 77, the new Trail Blazers-themed watering hole, is not the best sports bar in town. But still, despite the fact you have to fight for a table—or show up before happy hour begins—and pay $6 for a 20-ounce imperial pint of Double Mountain Vaporizer pale ale, it’s easily the wildest place in the city to watch Nicolas Batum posterize poor members of the Utah Jazz. Watching any sporting event at Spirit of 77 is almost like being at the game: You’re surrounded by screaming diehards in Oden jerseys, and the giant flat-screen TV provides a better view than the cheap seats. And there’s free Pop-A-Shot. Good lord, the free Pop-A-Shot. OK, maybe it is the best sports bar in town. Just don’t expect to leave with any money in your wallet. MICHAEL MANNHEIMER.
What to drink: Imperial pint of Victory Hop Wallop. At 8.5 percent ABV, you won’t need a second.
Happy hour: $1-$3 canned beers and food 4-6 pm Monday-Friday.
Entertainment: Foosball, Pop-A-Shot, darts, sports.
639 SE Morrison St., 232-5553,
star-bar-rocks.com. 4 pm-2:30 am daily.
From the neon-sign logo referencing ’70s pop-rock band Big Star to the old pages of Creem magazine plastered all over the restrooms, this newcomer is clearly aiming to be Portland’s new rock-’n’-roll hangout. It’s got all the right ingredients: a jukebox crammed with classics, cheap drinks (taps are $2 to $4), a seriously tasty build-your-own-burger menu (starting at $7), a solid happy hour, suitably tattooed barstaff and vinyl-only DJs every night. It’s just missing one thing: loud, sweaty, drunken rock pigs to make it their home. Right now, it feels a bit like a nice bar with a rock-’n’-roll theme. The squeaky-clean leather couches are crying out for some beer, blood and vomit stains. Walls need to be dirtier, floors need to be stickier. Let’s help them, shall we? RUTH BROWN.
What to drink: Sparks.
Happy hour: $1.50 PBR, $3 well drinks, $4 house wine and $1.50 sliders 4-7 pm Monday-Saturday, all night Sunday.
Entertainment: Jukebox, DJs.
1932 NE Broadway, 288-3333,
swift-lounge.com. 4 pm-2 am daily.
Small, comfy and low-lit, Swift Lounge is probably the classiest-looking joint to have ever offered a $4 bucket of Four Loko. Thankfully, the bar doesn’t appear to have been staking its success on the patronage of frat boys and homeless drunks, so the recent ban shouldn’t affect its clientele much. It instead prefers to show off its various infused liquors, sitting in large jars on a shelf behind the counter, and its selection of hot “dranks,” including the $7 Bacon’s Rebellion made with—wait for it—bacon-infused vodka. MATT SINGER.
What to drink: Seriously, you’re not going to try the Bacon’s Rebellion? Then how about Churchill’s Breakfast, with whiskey, maple syrup and cider?
Happy hour: $3 drafts, $4 house wine, $1 off sangria and 16-ounce Mason jars 4-8 pm Monday-Saturday and all day Sunday.
Entertainment: Pinball, board games, Centipede.
4825 SE Hawthorne Blvd., 445-4635, tankerpdx.com. 3 pm-12:30 am Monday-Friday, noon-2:30 am Saturday, 10 am-2:30 am Sunday.
You can win porn and other related objects Tuesday nights at this cargo ship-themed tavern (which features, along with porthole windows, a painting of a kraken about to have its way with a pirate ship flying a Tanker flag), in a rousing round of “naughty bingo.” For classier drunks, there are various versions of Big Buck Hunter and a wide selection of board games. If, after an exhausting show at the Mount Tabor Theater, you’re seeking refuge to gather your thoughts and sip on a tallboy, the Tanker will help get you sufficiently tanked. LEIGHTON COSSEBOOM.
What to drink: Strongbow cider.
Happy hour: $1 PBR and $1 off well drinks and draft pints, $4 quesadillas 3-8 pm daily.
Entertainment: Bingo, board games, pinball, video games, Wii.
413 NW 21st Ave., 241-7667, tanukipdx.com. 4 pm-close (always 10 pm or later) Tuesday-Saturday.
Janis Martin’s endearingly odd bar has a lot in common with inexpensive restaurants all over Japan, in that it is tiny, cramped and not quite level with the sidewalk, pays little attention to decor, and serves food so strange and delicious it might make you cry. I get a little weepy just thinking about the kimchi fried rice, spiced duck hearts, spicy noodles and squid jerky. For a real adventure, give over control of your dinner to Martin; you name the price per person, and she’ll bring out amazing stuff you would never have considered ordering on your own. BEN WATERHOUSE.
What to drink: Shot of sake and a beer.
Happy hour: $2 Sapporo, $4 Hite and sake, $1-$5 food specials 4-6 pm Tuesday-Saturday.
Entertainment: Creepy, sometimes obscene Japanese movies.
1015 NW Everett St., 445-8109, teardroplounge.com. 4 pm-close Monday-Saturday.
Entering Teardrop Lounge can be a bit intimidating for the average lush, with its posh decor and use of 400-year-old spirits such as Batavia Arrack and Carpano Antica. But the benefit of imbibing at an establishment that announces its intention to “revive the lost art of mixing drinks” is that the well-manicured bartenders know how to pour ’em. Obscure vintage libations like the $10 Biarritz Monk Buck are made with an artist’s touch, but they will still get you fucking drunk. And it is possible to grab a simple $5 microbrew—but speaking from experience, ordering a beer here if you’re with a cocktail enthusiast will put a serious damper on your relationship. MATT SINGER.
What to drink: Another Time, Another Place—a little pink number with whiskey, orange bitters, amaro and some other fancy shit.
Happy hour: Small food items for $4, classic cocktails $5-$6 4-7 pm Monday-Friday.
Entertainment: If you’re paying attention to anything besides your drink, you’re in the wrong place.
1465 NE Prescott St., 288-5534, tigabar.com.
5 pm-1 am Monday-Thursday, 5 pm-2 am Friday-Saturday.
If Portland, as often suggested, is Indie Rock Disneyland, then Tiga is the Mad Tea Party: not the iconic battlement of Sleeping Beauty Castle, but the whimsical attraction where everyone eventually gathers to feel dizziness and wonderment. The place is even known for spinning, as name musicians DJ with their vinyl collections on most nights. To sip a $5.50 glass of sangiovese and munch excellent pork-loin medallions ($9) while listening to the full cut of Philip Glass’ “Einstein on the Beach” is to understand why so many people arrive in this city and abandon all further ambition. AARON MESH.
What to drink: Ginger whiskey lemon drop.
Happy hour: $1 off drafts and well drinks 5-8 pm daily.
Entertainment: DJs, patio, seeing somebody whose records you own.
317 NW Broadway, 467-4111, tigerbarpdx.com. 5 pm-2.30 am Tuesday-Friday, 7 pm-2:30 am Saturday.
Nothing like its original incarnation as a slinky, becurtained makeout bar, today’s Tiger Bar is a brick shoebox heavy on the rock-and-roll attitude. It’s the kind of place where the door guy stands under a Rock Star Energy Drink banner drinking a Rock Star Energy Drink (his second so far). Every type of Absolut vodka is enticingly displayed in a backlighted shrine thing, including the limited editions Boston and Brooklyn. The key to loving the Tiger Bar, as you should, is to enjoy (exploit?) its generous happy hour, perhaps while reading a close-captioned Seagal movie, then make a graceful pre-band exit. BECKY OHLSEN.
What to drink: Jack and Coke.
Happy hour: $3 well drinks, $1.75 pints of PBR 5-8 pm Tuesday-Friday, happy-hour and late-night food specials ($3-$5).
Entertainment: Karaoke from Hell on Thursdays, Strip Bingo at 8 pm Fridays, live music, DJs, giant TVs, movies, motorcycle parking.
Top of the Hill Tavern
9252 NE Glisan St., 254-1756. 4 pm-2 am daily.
Thirty seconds have passed since I stepped into the Top of the Hill Tavern, and I’m already engaging in the first of the evening’s many high-fives. “What’s a Grape Bomb?” I’ve asked Mouse, the world’s friendliest bartender, in reference to the $5.75 special. “You can’t go to Top of the Hill without havin’ a Grape Bomb!” the gentleman on my left promptly enthuses before ordering one for each of us and introducing me to all the grizzled old-timers seated at the bar. As it turns out, a Grape Bomb is a heady concoction of grape substance, Red Bull and vodka designed to emulate Four Loko. It’s instant friendship elixir—within seconds, I’m yelling my life story over the whirring fan, high-fiving everyone within a two-arm radius and considering scrapping 10 years of vegetarianism to try something called gizzards ($2.75). CAITLIN GIDDINGS.
What to drink: Grape Bomb!
Entertainment: Karaoke Fridays, pool.
18 NW 3rd Ave., 241-8823. 5 pm-2 am nightly.
It is sort of like partying inside a test tube, but somehow, the party fits. Despite being almost uncomfortably small, Tube manages to shove DJs (usually of the hip-hop variety) and live bands into its delightfully dingy quarters in Chinatown. Once a denizen of the hipsterati, it has lately siphoned off a bit of the brah crowd from neighboring Dirty, but remains an almost literal hole in the wall that can get packed to the walls very quickly on a Friday night. MATT SINGER.
What to drink: Stick with cheap beer.
Entertainment: DJs, live music.
711 SW Ankeny St., 226-2508, d2m.com/Tugwebsite. 5-10 pm Monday, 4 pm-midnight Tuesday-Thursday, 4 pm-1 am Friday-Saturday.
You’d be forgiven mistaking Tugboat for a classy Prohibition-era speak-easy. The dimly lit microbrewery, Portland’s smallest and downtown’s oldest, brews tiny batches of browns, ambers and stouts. Hidden around the corner from Broadway’s hustle and bustle, the laid-back pub is surrounded by books; regulars strike up conversation from behind a battered copy of Ulysses. The place even has an Emmy on display, and while Tugboat has never shared a stage with Ray Romano, it has nabbed some much-deserved medals for its unfiltered beers, making it a perfect environment for casual drinkers looking for peace and conversation. AP KRYZA.
What to drink: A pitcher of the nutty brown ale.
Happy hour: $1 off pints 4-7 pm daily.
Entertainment: Library, live music, non-sports TV.
232 SW Ankeny St., 248-1600, valentineslifeblood.blogspot.com. 5 pm-2:30 am nightly.
Despite looking like some 1970s Aspen fondue hut, Valentine’s is more 1919 West Bank in character, a defiantly bohemian holdout in Old Town’s fratbag-and-Voodoo triangle. The place even serves absinthe (the real stuff, with wormwood, for $10); you almost expect to see Toulouse-Lautrec watching the poetry readings and alt-comedy shows from the upstairs loft. Adding to the European atmosphere, the crêpe window next door will deliver its confections to your table so you can enjoy them along with a glass of Fernet ($7) or a Gin Rickey ($5). Ooh là là. AARON MESH.
What to drink: The ginger-infused Jim Beam cuts out the middleman from a whiskey ginger. Get it with soda water and a lime.
Happy hour: $3 well drinks, drafts and house wine 5-9 pm nightly, and all night Wednesday.
Entertainment: Live music, DJs, readings, movie screenings.
4306 N Williams Ave., 288-1085, myspace.com/vendettapdx. 3 pm-2 am daily.
What exactly makes a good neighborhood bar? How about a friendly, attentive bartender who asks if you want whiskey or brandy in your hot toddy? Or a place with a spacious patio for breezy summer nights and a shuffleboard table inside for escaping the rain? Vendetta is the perfect joint for anyone within stumbling distance of Fifth Quadrant, especially on Tuesday nights for trivia and $1.50 Olympia tallboys. I only have one piece of advice for Vendetta: It’s never OK to play an album twice in a row, even if it’s Kanye West. MICHAEL MANNHEIMER.
What to drink: A delicious hot toddy so hot that it might burn your fingers if you hold it too long.
Happy hour: $3 well drinks, $3.50 microbrews, $1.50 tallboys on Tuesday nights.
Entertainment: Shuffleboard, jukebox, free comics by the front door.
The Victory Bar
3652 SE Division St., 236-8755,
thevictorybar.com. 5 pm-1 am nightly.
Adventurous beer drinkers, take note. Named “One of the Top 100 Places to Drink Beer in America” by Imbibe magazine, the Victory Bar serves a selection of international beers you won’t find elsewhere. Take the Regenboog ’Tsmisje Fiori spiced Belgian ale, for example, or the Belhaven Scottish Stout. With its half-curtained windows, flickering tabletop candles and rounded leather bench seats, the Victory Bar manages to be both classy and comfortable at the same time. In addition, there’s the spaetzle ($7). Pronounce the word how you like; this rich and creamy baked pasta and cheese made with Gruyère and topped with crispy shallots will fill you up and keep you coming back. Another excellent choice: the venison burger ($10). Yum. CHRISTINA COOKE.
What to drink: The bourbon ginger cocktail, made with fresh ginger pulp, housemade cardamom bitters and spicy ginger.
Happy hour: $3 well drinks, $3.50 local IPA or amber pints, $1.75 Old Germans, $4 house red and white wines, $4 Manhattans and martinis, $5 bourbon ginger and $5 hush puppies, salami plates and baked spaetzles, 5-7 pm daily; the above drink deals, plus $3 bread and olives, $5 Belgian fries, $5 hush puppies and baked spaetzles after 11 pm daily.
Entertainment: Ms. Pac-Man tables, board games including Oregon trivia and my personal favorite, the ’80s board game Heartthrob.
Vintage Cocktail Lounge
7907 SE Stark St., 262-0696, vintagepdx.com.
5 pm-2 am nightly.
Many of us have entertained fantasies of opening a little bar in our basements and garages, a cozy place with stools and red walls and lots of wood where we might fill shelves with an expansive liquor collection and eat sandwiches with our friends. Jaeymee and Justin Akins did just that, albeit not in their garage. Their narrow, red-walled Montavilla neighborhood storefront feels awfully homey, but your home does not come equipped with 28 liqueurs and 25 whiskies. The classic cocktails are good, and so’s the conversation—everyone here is just hip enough to be interesting, but I didn’t see a single set of ironic knuckle tats. BEN WATERHOUSE.
What to drink: Old Screw (Scotch, St. Germain, allspice tincture).
Happy hour: $1.50 domestic tallboys, $2.50 well drinks, $4 wine 5-7 pm and 11 pm-2 am nightly. OLCC cardholders get 20 percent off most items daily and 50 percent off on Thursdays.
4815 SE Hawthorne Blvd., 234-4970. 11 am-2:30 am Monday-Saturday, noon-2:30 am Sunday.
The Watertrough looks like a well-appointed 1980s swinger’s basement, all wood paneling and Ms. Pac-Man. With lots of room and entertainment options, the bar is a neighborhood staple for the young and old alike; it’s the kind of place you can wear your favorite flannel shirt and be both trendy and time-honored. Proof of the establishment’s younger patrons can be read on the men’s room wall, where “Seniors 09” is written next to a penis that indicates “Kyle was here.” Despite the rockabilly, meat-and-potatoes vibe one gets from the ’Trough, vegetarian corn dogs are indeed on the menu, and good old-fashioned rock ’n’ roll can be found on the jukebox. LEIGHTON COSSEBOOM.
What to drink: Deschutes Jubelale.
Happy hour: $3 Bloody Marys noon-3 pm Sundays.
Entertainment: Billiards, darts, video bowling, shuffleboard, jukebox.
Whiskey Soda Lounge
3131 SE Division St., 232-0102, whiskeysodalounge.com. 5
5 pm-1 am Friday-Saturday.
Andy Ricker’s Thai bar and de facto Pok Pok waiting room is a cheap Southeast Asian vacation. Score a seat in the wood-paneled space and order a tableful of Thai drinking bites, like salty little deep-fried anchovies and turmeric-laced meatballs and deep-fried pig intestines served with black vinegar sauce, which taste like sweet-and-sour churros. The namesake whiskey soda, spiked with puckery tamarind and palm sugar, is a requisite accessory, but when it’s hot outside, slurp down a bia wun (“jelly beer”)—an alcoholic slushie made by slowly freezing 22-ounce bottles of Thailand’s national beer, Singha, in a revolving contraption that looks like a plastic wine barrel. KELLY CLARKE.
What to drink: Pok Pok Bloody Mary—it’s like they blended the spicy soul of Thailand with tomato juice and served it chilled. And those drinking vinegars, which come in a rainbow of housemade flavors from Taiwan lemon to blackberry, are so refreshing the Ricker gang’s now selling them retail at all of the empire’s locations.
Happy hour: Drink cheap “things that are served in cans and glasses” 10 pm-close nightly.
Entertainment: Ike’s legendary fish sauce wings, oddly appealing Thai surf rock.
The World Famous
2025 N Kilpatrick St., 285-3718,
kentonclub.com. 10-2:30 am daily.
The “world famous” Kenton Club, hidden right off the NoPo neighborhood’s North Denver main drag, likes to boast about its cameo in Raquel Welch’s 1972 roller derby flick, Kansas City Bomber (hence the skates proudly displayed in the main room), but these days the wood-paneled spot is better known for cheap drinks, cheap pool and convivial country and punk shows. On a slow weekday, grab a pint of Everybody’s Brewing’s Daily Bread Common Ale ($4) and join the rest of the regulars for a round of video crack or a quick game of Wheel of Fortune pinball. If somebody would hurry up and invent a cigarette smoke-scented air freshener, this place would be dive-bar perfection. That’s not to say the old girl doesn’t have a trick or two up her sleeve: Later this year Kenton Club is going to start brewing its own beer. KELLY CLARKE.
What to drink: PBR and tots.
Happy hour: $3.50 well drinks and cheap food 4-6 pm Monday-Friday.
Entertainment: Pinball, darts, live music, DJs, TV, trivia Thursdays, pool, patio. Excellent overheard conversations: “You know that girl at Magic Gardens that’s, like, triple jointed? She can bend her leg all the way over her head? I saw her on the bus the other day. Nice person…good heart. She asked me where I’d been.”
Yen Ha Lounge
6820 NE Sandy Blvd.,
yenhapdx.com. 11 am-2:30 am Sunday-Saturday.
Yen Ha Lounge would maybe be just a poor man’s acetone-stiff-drink dive bar—which it is, anyway, in the daytime—were it not for some serious perks. Its association with the eponymous Vietnamese restaurant there-adjoined offers it, until 11 pm, perhaps the most extensive menu of any bar in Portland, with over 150 items, including broiled escargot, whole crab, marinated goat, liver porridge and bird nest. The bar is best known, however, for its truly unhinged weekend karaoke—from side-wing party boat to degenerate loner to lonely oldster—with precious few concessions made to accuracy, decency or sobriety. MATTHEW KORFHAGE.
What to drink: Drinks whose ingredients are also the names of the drinks. Expect more whiskey than Coke, more vodka than soda.
Happy hour: $1 cheap domestic, $3 micro, $3.50 well, 3-7 pm.
Entertainment: Karaoke Thursday-Sunday, occasional mustache contests.
Yes and No
20 NW 3rd Ave., 241-5128, 5 pm-2 am nightly.
Drinking at Yes and No is a no-frills affair. Located in the heart of Old Town, this narrow little dive bar is a nice change of pace from the velvet-roped clubs 100 feet down the block. The clientele of Yes and No looks rough around the edges, but it turns out customers are so friendly you feel comfortable chatting up people with nose rings the size of horseshoes with one-inch gauges. Curious drinkers beware: Perched on a midlevel bar shelf is a bottle of pink liquid wearing a party hat labeled “black root.” Do not drink the black root. The dregs of all liquor bottles at Yes and No are combined to make black root. Stick with the good crop of beers (cans and bottles only), or a cheap mixed drink that sure packs a wallop. WHITNEY HAWKE.
What to drink: Lagunitas IPA.
Entertainment: Jukebox, TVs playing obscure movies, DJ.