It's easy to overlook literally all bars in the nebulous riverlands of far Southwest Portland—vestigial pockets of failed urbanity, bisected by highways whose bars were almost all roadside attractions like Hi Hat (RIP) and Henry Ford's (RIP).
But when the iconic nearby contemporaries began to disappear, Chinese spot Happy Fortune (10420 SW Barbur Blvd., 503-244-8356, happyfortuneportland.com) survived by shifting focus from dining to drinking while allowing its teeming lounge crowds to overtake the outsized and underserved restaurant.
Despite boasting the best prices by far (a "happy meal" serves up a pint of PBR and shot of whiskey for $5.50) along a stretch of Southwest Barbur Boulevard overrun by claptrap weekly-rate motels, Happy Fortune juggles an oddly congenial hot pot of upscale transients, Lewis & Clark undergrads, amiable suburbanites drinking through the commute, and an enviable corps of die-hard regulars.
The bar is open every day of the year, and patrons organize extensive potlucks on Thanksgiving and Christmas, and raise hell amid parking-lot fireworks on the Fourth of July. One customer built the front patio, another constructed the poolroom addition—extending the space footage by one-third—and a third painted the interiors. Favored barflies peddle craft specialties ranging from cocktail-replica candles (martini, margarita, Irish coffee) to miniature landscapes hand-painted on hollow eggshells.
Even in this fractured stretch of Southwest Portland, assembling this vibrant, eclectic, fiercely loyal clientele—Mustache Mondays and Wednesday Ladies' Nights—doesn't take a Multnomah Village.