720 SE Sandy Blvd., 503-265-8807, rumclubpdx.com. 4 pm-2 am daily. Happy hour 4-6 pm daily: $6 chilcano, $5 daily punch, or a $5 gin-and-tonic with much better tonic than you're used to.
Established: July 2011
When it opened in 2011 as the waiting room bar for the now-departed Beaker & Flask, Rum Club was, uh, rummy. Though still loosely tropical in name and spirit, with a full page of cane-based cocktails, it's outgrown the shtick to become one of the finest cocktail spots in town, by any jigger. The decor is tropical minimalist, with an African mahogany bar surrounded by leggy chairs.
On a recent visit we unconsciously steered the ship away from the sugary shores of Rum Island and ended up with killer cocktails built off gin and bourbon, kissed with citrus and chilled through some magic trick that leaves a wonderful, bracing stiffness. At happy hour, the manly men drink the $6 Hemingway daiquiri, but the real gem on that menu is a $6 Bolivian take on the Andean chilcano made with floral Bolivian muscat-grape spirit Singani.
Bar story: Readers would be surprised and perhaps disturbed to discover just how many of this publication's cocktail stories originate with an experience inside these walls. One perfect peach slushie manifested in roundups of slushies and peach cocktails, all from chasing a dragon we encountered here.