From the Editor:
I didn’t know there would be cake. But there was cake.
The Standard, a little neighborhood bar just off East Burnside, was marking the retirement of its bartender and chef. Annelies, a 40-year veteran of the bar trade, had finally decided to retire this March, after years of cooking the best damn chile verde you could ever get made by a Dutch woman in a bar. At a neighborhood hangout where there is never a line out the door, there was a line out the door. One of the regulars had taken a collection, and everybody had put together more than a thousand dollars to help buy Annelies a motor scooter so she could jet around the city in her retirement. “I don’t know what we’re going to do without her,” said owner Reed Lamb. For nearly the first time, he’d allowed flowers in the bar.
Portland is the least religious city in the country, they tell me. And adults just don’t hang out in shopping malls. And so the bars—whether a pingpong bar or a laundromat bar or a bar that looks like your house—are Portland’s true town squares, the “third place” after work and home, and the only place most people meet their neighbors. This is why we lamented the passing of so many of the old places this past year, as construction accelerates—even when many of those mourning the Matador or Pal’s Shanty hadn’t been there in years.
This bar guide is devoted to the places we come to know our city best, one beer at a time, from the sports bars to the English pubs to the strip clubs that double as hangouts for people who aren’t even particularly randy. We celebrate our favorite new public houses, from a German beer hall to a bar that’s probably just a house party in disguise (Habesha, here). And we fete a neighborhood that shows why all those central-city condos aren’t so scary after all.
And if you haven’t found a bar that feels like home in Portland, don’t worry. We have more than 170 heartfelt suggestions.
—Matthew Korfhage, 2015 Bar Guide editor