835 NE Broadway, 503-281-0439. 5 pm-1 am Monday-Friday, 11 am-1 am Saturday and Sunday.
Established: End of February 2015
For the first few months of Black Water Bar's existence, its signage consisted of black plastic wrap covering a sign on Northeast Broadway advertising "Sai-Gon Vietnamese, Thai and Chinese Food." But as the lone beacon of all-ages punk action anywhere near Irvington, Black Water apparently didn't need a sign at all. To find it, just head west on Broadway until you spot the queue of leather-clad punkers milling about on the corner, a scene that's all but guaranteed considering how quickly this unicorn of an all-ages venue fills up when regional heavyweights like RVIVR and G.L.O.S.S. (RIP) roll through. The inside feels more like a darkened after-school-special hang than a proper bar on off nights, with a projection screen airing slasher flicks along with old horror-movie posters and Metal Madness and Elvira pinball machines serving as the primary adornments. The menu is surprisingly robust for charred imitation-meat-based vegan fare, with the Bougie Burger ($11) and the mozzarella bites ($8) being the most notable crowd pleasers. The $2 cans of PBR and Rainier are the way to go when circle pits are inevitable, but don't write off the stiff $4 wells or the $5 michelada if you plan to watch the mayhem from the peace of a booth instead. It'll take a few more years of beer and sweat to properly season Black Water as the true CBGB-esque venue it clearly strives to be, but you certainly can't fault the place for being a lot cleaner than your average punk dive.
Bar story: Founded by the owners of anarcho-lite Black Water Records—which kept getting noise complaints every time it tried to host shows—Black Water recently made good on its promise to start Portland's very first punk-vegan brewery. Its RyePA, called Hoperation Ryevy, occupied one of the bar's two taps on a recent visit.