2958 NE Glisan St., 503-232-1504, laurelthirst.com. 11 am-midnight Sunday, 4 pm-midnight Monday-Tuesday, 4 pm-1 am Tuesday-Thursday, 4 pm-2 am Friday-Saturday. Happy hour: $1 off wells and micros daily before 6 pm.
At 28 years old, Laurelthirst Public House is pretty much a Portland heritage site, protected by bluegrass-loving devotees every bit as dedicated as Pentecostal churchgoers. The bar proudly boasts its status as Portland's oldest independent music venue, but its pride in tradition can't seem uptight in a bar decorated with amateur art and multiple makes of vintage tricycle. Behind the bar lit by tall Jesus candles, the top of the liquor shelves are crammed with seemingly every curio the decorator could find—an old bicycle, a mandolin, proto-roller skates—and sitting on the far end of the bar, there's a ficus with a small disco ball hanging from a branch.
A longtime home for Portland's bluegrass and folk, the bar hosts live music every night of the week, usually for free and often twice a day. It's commonly packed tight with friendly former bohemians who can now afford the Laurelhurst neighborhood—the kind of crowd whose aesthetic tastes range from trucker hats to feathered fedoras. Laurelthirst is a particularly neighborly neighborhood bar: most of the patrons are eager to chat up strangers over a pint when they're not swaying along to the retro fusion jams from regulars like Anita Margarita and the Rattlesnakes or the Kung Pao Chickens.
Bar story: Last fall, Laurelthirst's owners decided to retire, but they gave first dibs to supporters of the bar. Musician Lewi Longmire—who may have played more live shows in Portland than anyone who's not named Mel Brown—got together with a group of Laurelthirst employees and patrons and scraped the money together to buy the building and save the bar.