2600 NE Sandy Blvd., 503-206-8962, churchbarpdx.com. 4 pm-2 am daily. Happy hour 4-7 pm daily: $5-$7 cocktails, $1 off house wine, food specials.

Established: April 2013

If it weren't for the bold "Eat, Drink, Repent" lettering on the window of its outwardly drab building, one might mistake Church for anything but the sultry, gothic architecture-inspired bar that it is. Inside, patrons are met with a dim candlelight glow, weathered wood paneling and scattered religious décor like wrought-iron light fixtures, candelabra and a trinket that looks like a guillotine but is actually just a menacing old drawbridge. On slow nights, Church functions as a stand-alone neighborhood gathering point for sprawling Sandy Boulevard, while DJs spinning trap, soul and post-punk records have elevated its reputation as a crowded nightlife spot on weekends. Taken altogether, Church feels like a big boozy confession booth built for pre-emptively copping to that evening's seedy sins, complete with a photo booth masquerading as a confessional tucked in the corner. The cheekily named house cocktails like Drink Has No Name (grapefruit or orange juice, Piscologia and whipped egg white; $10) are worth dishing out extra for, and Church's uber-crunchy beer-battered french fries ($8) are perfect when a drunken craving for fried food hits.

(Emily Joan Greene)
(Emily Joan Greene)