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April 24th, 2013 WW Culture Staff | Bar Guide
 

Bar Guide 2013: Five Bar Crawls

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North Portland Bar Crawl

Red Fox
5128 N Albina Ave., 282-2934, redfoxpdx.com. 3 pm-1:30 am daily. Happy hour: Food specials and $1 off beer and well 3-6 pm daily.

Happy hour at Red Fox starts at 3 pm. This is a good thing: It’s going to be a long night, so it pays to start early. Squeeze onto a wooden bench out front, between the bamboo shoots and itty-bitty planter boxes, or head inside the red-walled pub and sink into one of the black vinyl booths, their fissures sealed with duct tape. It’s a delightfully convivial place, so ask about the taxidermied fox, or better yet, about the shrine in the back corner. There, on a tiny round table, rests a framed portrait of a man wearing a long curly wig and a vaguely Elizabethan tunic. Next to his distinguished visage is a flower made from an empty can of Rolling Rock. Who is this fellow? His name is Doug, the bar staff will tell you, and he’s a friend of the owner and a man of many trades: Shakespearean actor, fly fisherman, house painter, cat owner, general grump. As you line your belly with some spicy gumbo or a burger laden with pancetta and blue cheese ($9), dream of the day when Doug might stop by.


The Florida Room
435 N Killingsworth St., 287-5658. 3 pm-2 am daily. Happy hour: 50 cents off drafts and wells, food menu $3-$4 3-7 pm daily.

After several Old Germans at Red Fox, a bloody mary will do you well. The Florida Room is not a particularly somber (or sober) place, but it is serious about that particular cocktail. Try one with bacon or hot pepper vodka, or with cucumber gin if you’re going easier on your stomach lining ($5-$8). Portland Community College students play Magic: The Gathering on the patio, too engrossed by their game to notice the giant plate of nachos congealing next to them (in other words, steal some tortilla chips). Or pet the bichon frisé skidding across the patio as its owner languidly sips her PBR. Before you leave, wend your way through the labyrinthine set of turquoise-walled rooms and past all the chintzy gewgaws to the photo booth. It’s the only thing helping you remember the night.


Saraveza
1004 N Killingsworth St., 206-4252, saraveza.com. 11 am-midnight daily. Happy hour: $1 off drafts 4-6 pm daily, food menu $3.50-$6.75 4-6 pm weekdays.

At comfy beer bar and bottle shop Saraveza, curse the fact that you didn’t bring along those PCC friends you just made—those lucky bastards get special deals here (11 am-4 pm weekdays). Goodness knows that sipping a Russian River barrel-aged sour (or anything else from one of the nine rotating taps) helps with those Spanish flash cards, though you might end up too distracted by the bottle-cap-topped tables or the Green Bay Packers paraphernalia to do much studying. Make plans to return the second Monday of the month, when your pint is served with a side of free bacon.


George’s Corner Sports Bar
5501 N Interstate Ave., 289-0307. 10 am-2:30 am daily. Happy hour: 50 cents off wells, $1 PBR 4-7 pm weekdays.

It’s about time to hit a dive, and that’s what George’s Corner Sports Bar is. The blue-collar regulars are chummy and the beer is cheap ($1 PBRs at happy hour), and you can eat some fine fried chicken while watching a game on one of the bar’s many screens. Go find that guy who selected “Super Freak” on the jukebox, and you’ve got a friend for the rest of the night.


The Old Gold
2105 N Killingsworth St., 894-8937, theoldgoldpdx.com. 4 pm-midnight Monday-Tuesday, 4 pm-1 am Wednesday-Thursday, 2 pm-2 am Friday, noon-2 am Saturday, noon-midnight Sunday. Happy hour: $1 off wells, house wine, micros and sandwiches 4-7 pm weekdays.

Adding kombucha to a drink makes it good for you, right? That’s all the excuse you need to skip west to the Old Gold, which does that. Employees from nearby Adidas cluster at wooden booths, with cartoon portraits of baseball greats keeping watch over the bustling space. The drawing style makes sense—the Old Gold is co-owned by Ezra Caraeff, former music editor at The Portland Mercury. Once the Old Gold has booted you out, totter back to George’s for the latest last call in town. 

—REBECCA JACOBSON


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Northwest Portland Bar Crawl

Teardrop Lounge
1015 NW Everett St., 445-8109, teardroplounge.com. Happy hour: Food and cocktail specials 4-7 pm weekdays.

One starts off any night with the best of intentions, perhaps at a sleek-surfaced bar—much favored by airplane magazines—arranged in concentric rings around the hallowed cocktail station, where bitters line up in a variety that would make Crayola blush. A staid $5 happy-hour highball, perhaps, with 10-year Scotch, soda and Lillet Rose? We will all dazzle the tippling tech startup CEOs with trenchant wit and get marketing jobs that take over our lives, using venture-capital money as kindling for a candle burnt at both ends. Surely no one is foolhardy enough to get the $26 Church and State punch bowl that mixes vodka with green tea and the eggy sacrament of oleo saccharum?


Low Brow Lounge
1036 NW Hoyt St., 226-0200. 3 pm-2:30 am Monday-Saturday. Happy hour: $1 off drinks, food specials 5-7 pm.

After the punch bowl, nobody’s getting a job with IT Santa Claus. Might as well get back to our own kind, play rounds of Big Buck Safari and Big Buck HD, and sober up with some carb-laden $7 Tits ’n’ Tots (that’s chicken breasts and tater tots, people, nothing legally actionable) at the well-named Low Brow Lounge, the Pearl’s last bastion for the indelicate. Too bad the bar refuses to serve well drinks at an amplitude below face-blistering. All seriousness departs.


Slabtown
1033 NW 16th Ave., 971-229-1455, slabtownbar.net. Noon-2:30 am daily. Happy hour: Noon-7 pm weekdays.

It’s all fun and games from here on out. Old-school rock venue Slabtown is, as ever, a playtown for putative grown-ups (with occasional all-ages shows served up from the back entrance), with pinball, air hockey, Skee-Ball and Pop-A-Shot. The shows are always inexpensive and almost always local, and loser at air hockey buys pitchers, in a tradition established long ago, in ancient Portland. The bar’s jukebox remains, sadly, only as a nonfunctioning relic. But for any itinerant musicians, the bar does offer a vending machine that sells only bass and guitar strings.


Moonshine 
1020 NW 17th Ave., 943-2780. 2 pm-2:30 am daily. Happy hour: Food specials, 50 cents off taps and wells 2-6 pm daily.

On to Moonshine, home to the one of the best hidden pinball selections in the city—hidden doubly because the bar is housed under a sign for a Paymaster check-cashing station and because the long row of games is tucked behind a retaining wall, near the restroom. At the front of the bar, a drawing of the bar’s putative owner, Balls the Cat, pees happily, in anatomically disturbing fashion, into a moonshine jug; other jugs are shelved on the walls. Note to self: Order no liquors that come in jugs. Pinball loser buys a gin and tonic, to be drunk on the patio.


Le Happy
1011 NW 16th St., 226-1258, lehappy.com. 5 pm-midnight Monday-Thursday, 5 pm-1:30 am Friday-Saturday. Happy hour: $1 off most drinks 5-7 pm Monday-Thursday.

It is now time for yet another sobering station—this one with the feeling of one’s own living room. Once a raucous home to after-hours food, creperie Le Happy has calmed into a classy-to-casual cocktail-and-date spot with a few screwball touches, such as the wall of decade-old bar-patron photos lining the restroom door. But after a long night at the wells, there’s nothing more appropriate to ease past the finish line than a $7.50 special featuring a Le Trash Blanc bacon-and-cheddar crepe plus a PBR tall boy, and a rousing board-game session of That’s Truckin’, Santa Barbopoly or Connect 4. And if that 1 am last call is too early, Moonshine still beckons around the corner.

—MATTHEW KORFHAGE


North | Northeast | Northwest | Southeast | Southwest


Northeast Portland Bar Crawl

LaurelThirst Public House 
2958 NE Glisan St., 232-1504, laurelthirst.com. 4 pm-midnight Monday-Wednesday, 4 pm-1 am Thursday, 4 pm-2 am Friday, 9 am-2 am Saturday, 9 am-midnight Sunday. Happy hour: $1 off micros, $2 PBR pints 4-6 pm weekdays.

A night out in Northeast must begin at the LaurelThirst, because the night always begins there first. You’ll have a beer in your palm by 5 pm, be on the dance floor by 6 and out the door with a good starting buzz and a slight ring in your ears even before the sun has fully set. Nightly free music during happy hour—from rootsy party-starters like Lewi Longmire, Jackstraw and Freak Mountain Family—has grown this small brick-lined tavern from a quintessential corner bar into a destination, even for less folk-inclined folks. Finding a seat is usually a challenge, but taking a pint out to the sidewalk on a warm early evening is all part of the experience.


Red Flag
344 NE 28th Ave., 232-0507. 4 pm-2:30 am daily.

A sign near the cash register warns, “If you were born after today’s date in 1992 or are Mumford & Sons we will not serve you.” Indeed, the indie-rock Red Flag does not take kindly to those who suck. A policy against chart-topping folk-pop acts might not seem particularly welcoming to the pretension-free LaurelThirst crowd, but the often-open booths and lack of live banjos provide a relaxed atmosphere in which to regroup and quaff a stiff whiskey and soda. And, judging by the cardboard cutouts hanging above the pinball machines, if Snoop Dogg or Billy Dee Williams happens to be in your crew, the drinks will be on the house. Just avoid the frozen margarita machine, or your crawl will turn literal in a hurry.


Beulahland
118 NE 28th Ave., 235-2794, beulahlandpdx.com. 9 am-2 am daily. Happy hour: $3 wells, $2 PBR pints, $3.50 micro pints, $1 Old German cans, $1 off all menu items 4-7 pm daily.

Three doors down from Red Flag, the deceptively cavernous Beulahland is where the party revs back up. Although it fancies itself a soccer bar—Timbers games and Euro league matchups get equal TV play—don’t worry too much about running into a horde of rowdy hooligans. More likely are fashionably trashed rockers and off-duty bartenders dancing semi-ironically to DJs spinning ’80s synth-funk, in between glugs of wacky cocktails made with Ovaltine and pepperoncini. If you’re prone to grumbling about so-called “hipsters,” this is basically the stereotype’s ground zero. But, hey, at least most hipsters won’t crack a bottle over your head.


The Standard
14 NE 22nd Ave., 233-4181, thestandardpdx.com. 3 pm-2:30 am daily. Happy hour: $1 off wells and drafts, drink specials 3-6 pm daily.

Shoved into a corrugated steel shed behind a pet store right off East Burnside Street, the Standard is the Kerns neighborhood’s best open secret, which got infinitely better when it replaced the city’s worst shuffleboard table with the much rarer indoor cornhole beanbag game. At this point, you’re going to need something to coat your stomach. Order a plate of Little Smokies and a Hamm’s—the giant cartoon bear behind the bar commands it—and crawl into the photo booth, because your memories are about to become hazy.


Chopsticks II
2651 E Burnside St., 234-6171, chopstickskaraoke.com. Noon-2 am Monday-Thursday, noon-2:30 am Friday, 5 pm-2:30 am Saturday, 5 pm-2 am Sunday. Happy hour: 3-7 pm daily.

You’re getting groggy. Your better judgment is turning to vapor. You started the night with music, and you want to end it with music. Actually, scratch that: You want to end music. At Chopsticks II, the art of singing along to Muzak renditions of bygone top-40 hits becomes an orgiastic communal experience. A few karaoke regulars have passable chops, but past midnight or so, every performance devolves into an atonal variation of “Don’t Stop Believin’”—it doesn’t matter what the actual song is—fueled by drinks that hit like a wrench to the teeth. And no, you’re not hallucinating: The Asian guy on the banner near the KJ booth boasting the Engrish slogan “How Can Be?” has materialized in the flesh to sing “Sweet Caroline.” Get up there and help him out. He is your new best friend. 

—MATTHEW SINGER


North | Northeast | Northwest | Southeast | Southwest


Southeast Portland Bar Crawl

Holocene
1001 SE Morrison St., 239-7639, holocene.org. 8:30pm-close Wednesday-Thursday, 5 pm-close Friday, 8:30 pm-close Saturday. Happy hour: Free snacks 5-8 pm Friday.

Start at the sweaty Holocene dance club, which, at this hour, is not sweaty, nor a dance club. Rather, it’s a bright warehouselike space on the outer edge of the eastside industrial area. The dance floor is empty even as a DJ spins moderately loud indie rock and patrons here crowd into the narrow bar for free appetizers (“aperitivo”). On one recent Friday, those free snacks included truffle-oiled popcorn, a radicchio and walnut salad, herbed rice and panna cotta. Happy-hour deals include two strong cocktails: “Chord Blood” (tequila, mescal, pomegranate, lime and a little too much black pepper, $5) and “No Nips” (bitter Stumptown coffee, hotly alcoholic Lemon Hart 151 rum, amaro and cream, $6). Consider leaving a little in the glass; it’s gonna be a long night.


Cascade Brewing Barrel House
939 SE Belmont St., 265-8603, cascadebrewingbarrelhouse.com. noon-10 pm Sunday-Monday, noon-11 pm Tuesday-Thursday, noon-midnight Friday-Saturday.

Home of the best sour beers in the world, as determined by a New York Times tasting panel helmed by wine critic Eric Asimov, this steel-burnished tasting room is a barrel house where simple brews from Cascade’s brewery at Raccoon Lodge are made magical by spending a few months in barrels brimming with tiny bacteria. The atmosphere is sterile and the crowd leans toward beer pilgrims and gentlemen of a certain age, so don’t commit to anything beyond a few two-ounce tasters (priced between $2 and $3.50), and then make your way to the more friendly environs directly across the street.


Green Dragon
928 SE 9th Ave., 517-0660, pdxgreendragon.com. 11 am-11 pm Sunday-Wednesday, 11 am-1 am Thursday-Saturday. Happy hour: food specials 4-6 pm and 9 pm-close Sunday-Wednesday, 4-6 pm and 10 pm-close Thursday-Saturday.

This green Quonset hut gets points for bigness: Taps, tables and patio space are all plentiful at this Rogue-owned alehouse. Try something from Buckman Botanical, the in-house maker of hopless brews called gruets. Check out the Parnold Almer Kolsch, made with lemon peel and leaves from Steven Smith Teamaker.


White Owl Social Club
1305 SE 8th Ave., 236-9672. facebook.com/WhiteOwlSocialClub. 3 pm-2:30 am daily. Happy hour: 3-6 pm and 1 am-close.

Are you fit for membership to the White Owl Social Club? According to club propaganda, a $25 fee and pledging your soul to “Ye Olde Serpent of the Bottomless Pit” gets you a membership card and a few drink tokens. No membership is required to stop in for a drink, but a taste for Metallica and local liquor helps. Essentially a large-scale spin-off of the studded and shredded Sizzle Pie late-night pizzeria, the White Owl occupies a large space in industrial inner Southeast. There aren’t any neighbors to disturb, which is good, because the music is loud and the crowd favors nicotine and leather.


The High Dive
1406 SE 12th Ave., 384-2285, facebook.com/thehighdivepdx. 4:30 pm-close daily. Happy hour: Drink specials 4-7 pm daily.

Just as the name suggests, this is a crisp, clean, better-lit version of a Portland dive bar. That, along with decadent late-night eats at the Cartopia pod next door, make this the perfect place to end your evening. Selection is limited and mixed drinks generally are low power, but you’re too old to end your night in a place where the restroom is too gross to use.

—MARTIN CIZMAR


Southwest Portland Bar Crawl

The Driftwood Room
729 SW 15th Ave., 820-2076, hoteldeluxeportland.com. 2-11:30 pm Sunday-Thursday, 2 pm-12:30 am Friday-Saturday. Happy hour: Champagne cocktails, glass or bottle of wine, draft beer, food specials 2-6:30 pm, 9:30 pm-close daily.

Drinkers on Portland’s west side are increasingly faced with two options: Go to Old Town and sin, or cast your lot with the actually old in a place where all sins have been forgiven many times over. That means Goose Hollow, and the Driftwood Room. Once a candidate for the city’s smokiest lounge (and still a prime adultery location, since there are no windows and there is an adjacent hotel), it has been retrofitted with mod furnishings and an imaginative cocktail list. Nurse a four-Manhattan sampler tray ($12) for the afternoon until all that poisonous direct sunlight slips away.


Leaky Roof
1538 SW Jefferson St., 222-3745, theleakyroof.com. 11 am-10 pm Monday-Saturday, 11 am-9 pm Sunday. Happy hour: Food specials 3-6 pm.

The Driftwood looks like a preschool next to the Leaky Roof, a bar so established it has its own official-looking road sign pointing the way. Prime time at this restaurant—started as a food cart roughly 60 years before people took notice of such things—is the early-bird special. Now a reassuringly stable pub (though built, like so many structures in the glen, at three-quarters size), the Roof serves a stocked Irish whiskey shelf to a cast of ancient mariners. On a recent visit, one of them explained at length to the kitchen staff why he became a pescatarian.


Goose Hollow Inn
1927 SW Jefferson St., 228-7010, goosehollowinn.com. 11 am-midnight Sunday-Thursday, 11 am-1 am Friday-Saturday. Happy hour: Wine, beer, cocktail specials 9 pm-midnight Sunday-Monday.

The deck of Bud Clark’s redoubtable tavern exists in a twilit shade where the time is always 1984, and the owner is conspiring to smash the face of Big Brother by getting himself elected Portland’s mayor. Far be it from me to shatter that eternity—Clark is my landlord, and his family just fixed my door lock—but the best hour to be here is dusk, when you can take in the air, listen to the jingle of the MAX whisking Intel bachelor parties into Old Town, and get a bit of separation from the man inside carrying around a stuffed puma and asking fellow patrons, “Have you seen my pussy?” He is not quite the “stimulating company” promised by the beer coasters, but after enough evenings in City Hall, he will suffice.


Cassidy’s 
1331 SW Washington St., 223-0054, cassidysrestaurant.com. 4 pm-2 am daily. Happy hour: All menu items $6.50 4 pm-6 pm, 10 pm-midnight. 

At some point soon, you’ll be needing some food—and, if it’s Saturday, an escape from the army Goose-stepping out of Jeld-Wen Field after a Portland Timbers draw. One can actually eat quite contentedly at any of the three previous stops (Driftwood has a fine Kobe burger, the Roof prepares excellent salmon, and the Goose offers a deservedly celebrated Reuben), but the bar menu at Cassidy’s is a westside secret handshake—we only trust you once you’ve admitted it’s the best in town. And it gets extraordinarily cheap at 10 pm. Try the pasta shells with pepper jack, and prepare yourself for a final push.


The Commodore
1650 W Burnside St., 224-7606, commodoreloungeandgrillpdx.com. 7 am-2:30 am daily. Happy hour: $2.75 wells 7-11 am.

Most of your earlier stops will be closed by the time you reach this final destination, the night’s only true dive. Note the address: The Commodore last year was forced out of the apartment building that shares its name, so Italian restaurant Gilda’s could add an eponymous bar. The new location is not so wonderfully lived in—it still resembles nothing so much as an appliance showroom—but the regulars have come along to enjoy tall boys of Shift ($3.75) along with views of flashing police lights on Burnside. The singularly stacked CD jukebox hasn’t made the journey, but the patrons have acquired such refined musical taste that their selections on the Internet juke can inspire a last-call dance party.

—AARON MESH

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