533 SE Grand Ave., 503-230-7767, slowbar.net. 11:30 am-2:30 am daily. Happy hour 3-6 pm Monday-Friday, midnight-2:30 am Sunday-Thursday: $6 non-Slowburger burger, $6 ceviche.
Established: July 2004
Since Slow Bar opened in the central east side in 2004, it has been known to every bartender in town for stiff drinks, deep booths, a jukebox stacked with metal, and that towering beer-battered-onion-ring Slowburger ($12 with fries), cooked on a flat-top that has seasoned over time into something that might even be subtlety. Have you had the Slowburger only at Slowburger, the adjunct burger spot at the Ocean food mall on Northeast Glisan Street? Then you haven't had the Slowburger.
There is no bar burger that has sustained more loyalty in Portland through multiple generations of back-of-bar line cooks, and no burger that could more justify its place in our hearts. It is the unholy monster of Portland bar burgers, the behemoth that made even fancy-restaurant burgermakers take note. And yes, its towering construction makes it tenuous. The Thrillist website's national burger critic, Kevin Alexander, declared it too unwieldy for his presumably tiny hands. But Portland is not a welcome place for short-fingered vulgarians.
Bar story: Slow Bar's Belgian sour Duchesse de Bourgogne on tap seems to be part of a neighborhood trend. Down the street, Dig A Pony has a perma-tap of Petrus, and now Bit House has a permanent Rodenbach. What Belgian perma-tap will dive bar My Father's Place install, we wonder? (Note: we'd originally said Slow Bar was the first Belgian tap on the street—apparently Dig a Pony got there first.)