19 SW 2nd Ave., 503-477-8637, bartryst.com. 4 pm-2:30 am Wednesday-Sunday.
Happy hour 4-7 pm daily: $1 off most drinks, $7 burger.
Established: March 4, 2016
Tryst is less rendezvous than refuge, the only place in Old Town that seems immune to Old Town's Thunderdome of chaos and decay. In the long burnished-hardwood bar space once home to Berbati's, the Ankeny Alley hang feels somehow better preserved than its predecessor, a domestic hideaway for those whose true home is dark bars—a feeling of warm and boozy welcome not dissuaded by friendly owner AdaZoe Freeman, who's almost always there slinging low-cost cocktails from a surprisingly thick book of them.
There's a healthy smattering of '90s-style Asian fusion on the menu—and this includes the beefy burger ($12 with fries), which mixes the chile-garlic of hoisin with Sichuan pepper infused into house pickles. The fact the burger is $7 at happy hour—and a mere $5 on Wednesday—remains one of the great privileges of the center city.
Bar story: That beautiful tangle of Jackson Pollock expressionist paint in the massive artwork behind the bar was made by an artist who lives in the upstairs bum apartments.