1739 SE Hawthorne Blvd., 238-3693, 442soccerbar.com. 11 am-10 pm Monday, 11 am-11 pm Tuesday-Thursday, 11 am-midnight Friday, 7 am-midnight Saturday, 8 am-10 pm Sunday.
When 4-4-2 opened it was an unassuming, quiet soccer pub as well-known for its Old-World hospitality and Bosnian spiced meats as for its three-flat-screen assault of le foot worldwide. These days, although the $5 happy-hour sis-cevap is still a draw, soccer fandom is front and center: The Venezuelans turn out in force for the Venezuelan games, everyone who speaks Spanish comes around for the Barcelona games, and seemingly half the neighborhood is packed in for the Timbers games—enough so that more than one patron has groused that the bar now needs a television outside. It probably does. It probably also needs a referee inside. MATTHEW KORFHAGE.
Happy hour: Food specials, $2 Pabst, $2.50 Tecate, $3 wells and $1 off local beers 3-6 pm Monday-Friday.
Entertainment: Soccer, calcio, football, futbol, soccer trivia.
3356 SE Belmont St., 235-6041, aaltolounge.com. 5 pm-2:30 am Monday-Thursday, 4 pm-2:30 am Friday-Sunday.
The Aalto Lounge, at one time a fashion-forward bar threading that delicate middle path between art-school posh and rock ’n’ roll, found itself on the wrong side of a cultural divide recently. Despite its criminal Monday special featuring Bulleit and a back for $3, the dark-painted bar looked dingy and neglected next to Belmont 3.0 neighbors Circa 33 and Sweet Hereafter. After a remodel, the Aalto’s interior now looks like a Swedish sauna minus the fat naked men, with wooden slats shimmering behind the heat waves from its many, many candles. But the bar still boasts the best DJs on the block, and the whiskey’s still way too cheap on Mondays; the hilariously cheap happy hour is a secret kept only because no one ever remembers what happened there. MATTHEW KORFHAGE.
Happy hour: $2 select cocktails, $2 grilled cheese sandwich and $10 wine bottles till 7 pm daily.
Entertainment: Smoking on the back patio, literally eavesdropping on the upstairs neighbors.
The Alibi Tiki Lounge
4024 N Interstate Ave., 287-5335, alibiportland.com. 11 am-2 am daily.
This Vegas-like landmark on North Interstate Avenue began in the late 1800s as Chat-n-Nibble, a horse-and-buggy stop along the dirt interstate trail. It’s since undergone an islander makeover, now boasting hula girl black-light murals and kitschy tiki décor with a ’70s vibe. The Alibi still retains landmark status and a hodgepodge crowd, serving up massive Macho Nachos and a shoyu chicken and Kahlua pork smasher with macaroni ($10) to college kids, lottery-playing locals and trucker types alike. Nightly karaoke makes it all one big, happy pork-fed family, helped by candy-sweet tropical drinks. The house specialty Kamonawannaleiya ($8) is a glass full of watermelon Jolly Rancher as overzealous as the décor. But the Alibi is the best type of kitschy: entertaining and not too self-important. ENID SPITZ.
Happy hour: $3 wells, $2 PBR, $5 mai tais 3-7 pm daily.
Entertainment: Karaoke, lottery, DJ.
632 E Burnside St., 233-3113. 4 pm-2:30 am daily.
B-Side is outfitted to resemble the parlor every punk practice space wished lay nearby. Maiden, Motorhead and Melvins roar from the jukebox, shots and Pabst tall boys overshadow the cocktails and craft beers on tap, and the interiors reflect an enlightened hardcore sensibility leavened by touches of whimsy (the medical X-rays attached to light fixtures above the hand-poured, concrete-slab bar top) and professionalism (the ceiling baffles erected to improve conversational acoustics). Like the best punks, it’s sincere and not exactly friendly, though endlessly protective of its nearest and dearest. Even when the wooden back patio fills beyond capacity on summer evenings, revelers stick to their picnic tables. Plus, there are few bars more comfortable for women who want to sit alone. The bar’s name may derive from its East Burnside Street address, but, in a way, B-Side also defines itself by its opposite: the hit-on single. JAY HORTON.
Crappy hour: $1 tall boys 4-7 pm.
Entertainment: Patio, jukebox, pinball, board games.
213 SW Broadway, 295-1004, baileystaproom.com. 2 pm-midnight Monday-Friday, 4 pm-midnight Saturday, 2-10 pm Sunday.
The west side’s premier beer hangout, Bailey’s Taproom impresses even eastsiders. Opened in 2007, Bailey’s features an eclectic tap selection guaranteed to please any palate: The woman seated next to me was happy with her Goose Island 312 Urban Wheat, as I struggled to choose between 2008 versions of Terminal Gravity’s Festivale and Alaskan’s Barley Wine Ale. Fortunately, the bar’s DigitalPour menu helps flip-floppers make up their minds by blinking a hurrying red for lighter kegs. Bailey’s best-kept secret is a bottle list of approximately 100 meticulously chosen beers going back a few years. JORDAN GREEN.
Entertainment: Staring at beer tweets on the digital screen.
3939 N Mississippi Ave., 288-3895, mississippistudios.com. Noon-2 am daily.
Bar Bar is the Siamese sidekick to Mississippi Studios. You might go to Mississippi for up-and-comer shows, but like the best sidekicks, Bar Bar steals your heart while Studios is showing off. It has an unassuming Americana vibe: picnic tables on the huge patio, a housemade barbeque burger ($7) and Harry Truman’s Oregon Mule (New Deal Vodka and ginger beer, $6). Even with mahogany floors and old-timey wall lamps inside, it escapes the total hipsterdom of places like the Ace Hotel by offering killer two-for-$5 sliders and a fire pit. On sunny days, the outside screen plays black-and-white sci-fi flicks for relaxing locals. Cyclist hordes flock to Prost up the street, and Mississippi Pizza gets the underaged, so Bar Bar is happily left with unpretentious showgoers and local bands eating burgers. ENID SPITZ.
Happy hour: Noon–7 pm Monday-Thursday, noon–6 pm Friday-Sunday. $3 drafts, $1 off cocktails.
Entertainment: Mississippi Studios concerts, patio.
3962 SE Hawthorne Blvd., 477-5266, bardobre.com. 5-11 pm Monday-Thursday, 5 pm-midnight Friday-Saturday.
This tucked-away bar along fast-gentrifying upper
Hawthorne Boulevard is a cozy place to slowly digest—whether Polish,
pizza or roasted-beet salad—and rich in aperitifs, with a drink menu
that takes its vodka extraordinarily seriously. With its deep-toned wood
panels, framed mirrors and cast-iron chandelier, the bar’s dim space is
the front room of your alcoholic grandma’s house. And she’s serving
unfiltered Belvedere Vodka, vodka-sparkling wine
cocktails ($9) and whiskey with Krupnik honey liqueur that’s like a
toddy without the tea ($9). The locale also sports quite simply the best
kielbasa plate I’ve had this side of Chicago. The $12 plate will serve
as anchoring paperweight for two, and includes spicy house-stuffed
sausage, seared kale ensconced in plentiful bacon, an airy potato
pancake and warmly brined sauerkraut.
4605 NE Fremont St., 971-229-0995, smallwarespdx.com. 5 pm-1 am daily.
Barwares exists only because of an architectural fluke.
Chef Johanna Ware’s Asian-leaning restaurant, Smallwares, needs a bar
the same size as its dining room about as much as drowsy Beaumont
Village needs a swanky place to hang at 2 am on a Tuesday. Given a
lemon, Ware slices it and serves it as a twist over a cocktail made with
rye whiskey and garam masala syrup ($8). The Barwares space is a modern
beauty done on a budget—concrete, wood and HVAC handiwork with accents
like the incongruous orange sofa on loan from Al Bundy. The service is
better and the food is best. There’s always something special coming out
of the kitchen—corn fried on the cob and drizzled with fish sauce was a
favorite—but I’m happy with a strong cocktail and a bowl of candied
Happy hour: Daily food specials, $1 off all beer Thursdays.
Entertainment: Watching the food come out?
Base Camp Brewing Co.
930 SE Oak St., 477-7479, basecampbrewingco.com. Noon-9 pm Sunday-Wednesday, 11 am Thursday-Saturday.
If you’re going to give your bar a theme, you might as well go extreme. Base Camp Brewing embraces this ethos in both concept and execution. The new inner-Southeast brewpub is basically REI in bar form: a cavernous, urban ski lodge decked out with tables and chairs made with rocks and timber from Klamath Falls, bungee cords, carabiners, camping lanterns and a huge upturned canoe on the ceiling, with a front patio sporting fire pits and log benches that would make Walt Disney proud. Perhaps strategically, Base Camp forms the apex of a neighborhood triangle between an indoor rock-climbing gym and Southeast Grand Avenue’s outdoor stores. My S’more Stout ($4.50) came served with a toasted marshmallow on the rim—a little over the top for me, but maybe not for the kind of people who think camping in the rain and dabbling in frostbite are enjoyable pastimes. RUTH BROWN.
Happy hour: Beer discounts all day Monday, 3-6pm Tuesday-Friday, 11 am-3 pm Saturday-Sunday.
Entertainment: Slow-dawning inebration as the tasters do their work.
Beaker & Flask
727 SE Washington St., 235-8180, beakerandflask.com. 5-11 pm Monday-Saturday.
Blame us: Ever since Willamette Week named Beaker & Flask Restaurant of the Year in 2009, Kevin Ludwig’s refined outpost—located directly behind his and Michael Shea’s more traditionally styled cocktail lounge Rum Club—has gained a reputation for its food more than the drinks. Coming from an ex-bar manager, this must be irksome. So let’s correct this now by saying Beaker & Flask has some dang good $9 cocktails. Try the And & And, a fizzy mix of vodka, blackberry liqueur and angostura bitters, or the tart bourbon-based Modern Day Hero. Like any good “serious” drinking establishment, B&F offers little in the way of amenities, so the concentration is on the liquid offerings themselves, but at sunset, the large bay windows are a better accoutrement than any pinball machine. MATTHEW SINGER.
Happy hour: Drink specials 4-5 pm Monday to Friday.
Beech Street Parlor
412 NE Beech St., 946-8184, beechstreetparlor.com. 5 pm-2 am Monday-Saturday.
Home is where Beech Street Parlor is. No, seriously. If you’re not looking for it, you might go right past the restored 107-year-old foursquare home, thinking the patrons cramming the porch are guests at a house party you’re not invited to. Oh, but you are! Just inside the doorway, a DJ spins back-in-vogue ’90s R&B underneath the staircase, while upstairs, a black cat trolling for a stroking winds its way through three adjoining rooms outfitted with vintage furniture. It ain’t exactly a rager—the general clientele is well past college age, and the handsome bar invites orders of Manhattans rather than Jell-O shots—but for the quarterlifers transitioning out of their 20s and into true adulthood, Beech Street makes a sophisticated bridge. MATTHEW SINGER.
Happy hour: $1 off drafts, $3.50 wells, $1 off house wine, food specials 5-7 pm.
Entertainment: DJs, patio, mystery pickled items, playing with the cat.
1410 SE Stark St., 233-2337, facebook.com/beerportland. 11 am-11 pm daily.
Sure, Beer is a generically named bar with $2.50 Miller High Lifes next to a shop that sells steak sandwiches. But those sandwiches are exceptional—sliced rare beef flank on ciabatta—from the shared ownership at Meat Cheese Bread, and the beer menu also includes a $15 sour ale that was aged in pinot noir barrels. The bar is a homey room lit by vintage beer signs and decorated with wall hangings made from flattened old labels. The close-in location draws a mixed crowd—this is not always a good thing, especially when bartenders used to sandwich-slingin’ take a light hand with obnoxious barflies—but the grub and suds are great. MARTIN CIZMAR.
Entertainment: The slow dawn of a tap takeover.
7918 SE Stark St., 254-8200. 3-11 pm Monday-Thursday, 3 pm-midnight Friday, 1 pm-midnight Saturday, 1-10 pm Sunday.
Tucked away in a nondescript storefront in Montavilla, Beer Bunker is a neighborhood hangout as much as it’s a bottle shop. Antique beer cans sit on the shelves and hang from the ceiling, serving as lamp shades, above mismatched and durable furnishings. On a Tuesday, the Bunker is filled with several small groups, a couple on a date and a large party celebrating something. Everyone seems relaxed, here to unwind by sipping a beer and sitting on a metal stool atop a concrete floor. With 12 rotating taps and three glass sizes ranging from the 5-ounce “shorty” to a full pint, there are options. Four tasters run $5, and there are more than 100 bottled beers cooling in the glass cases around back—mostly from Oregon, with a smattering of imports and ciders. You could grab those bottles to go, but what’s the hurry? JOHN LOCANTHI.
Happy hour: $1 off pints and wine 3-6 pm.
Entertainment: Occasional tap takeovers, playing 100 Bottles of Beer in the Vault.
The Beer Mongers
1125 SE Division St., 234-6012, thebeermongers.com. 11 am-11 pm Sunday-Thursday, 11 am-midnight Friday-Saturday.
The Beer Mongers wasn’t kidding about the name: That’s what they do. They monger beer. This no-frilled bunker in the often irritatingly twee mini ’hood surrounding Southeast 12th Avenue and Division Street is home to the brew horde, with more than 500 bottles available in its array of beer coolers. While Apex bartenders across the street disgorge craft brews seemingly reluctantly as they pose for beer magazine spreads, bare-bones Beer Mongers opens its vault with obvious relish, happy to talk geekily about beer and sports: The owners broadcast every single Timbers and Blazers game. MATTHEW KORFHAGE.
Entertainment: TV, occasional live music.
5011 NE 21st Ave., 284-4445, bin21pdx.com. 4-10 pm Monday-Saturday.
If the first round of Alberta Street gentrification brought families with biodynamic veggie patches and a penchant for naked fire-twirling, the second will bring whoever is intended to live inside the concrete bunker being built at the intersection of 21st Avenue. The corner is already home to Indian joint Bollywood Theater and tourist magnet Salt & Straw. Hidden out back is Bin 21, an airy wine bar full of elegant, long-legged ladies sipping rosé and nibbling bruschetta. Easy-drinking pours hover around $6 to $9. The menu was, on my visit, skewed toward local regions and Spain, with three wines and three beers on tap. Sip your white peach sangria on the patio and marvel at the roller-derby store and punk bar across the street, which will soon hilariously be called “Old Alberta.” RUTH BROWN.
Happy hour: $3 craft beer, $5 wine pours 4-6 pm daily.
Entertainment: From inside to out, the people-watching pageant is a near complete stages-of-Portland microcosm.
820 NE Dekum St., 719-6475, breakside.com. Noon-10 pm Sunday, 3-10 pm Monday-Thursday, noon-11 pm Friday-Saturday.
Most breweries trade in kegs, pints or bottles. North Portland’s Breakside does its best work with taster trays. The brewery’s year-round offerings are solid—the choco-chili Aztec is one of our top 10 beers—but given that Breakside made a staggering 83 different brews last year, try as many nips as you can. A 4-ounce pour is often the right portion, too, with options ranging from pleasantly interesting offerings like ultra-hot Szechuan Blonde and super-smoky Toro Red, to over-salty Cucumber Gose and an overly herbal Nordic Porter. But that’s all part of the fun at this brewery, which pours beers made with beets and rooibos tea next to ambitious pub fare, including an opulent $10 hummus plate that’s actually worth $10. MARTIN CIZMAR.
Happy hour: Food specials 3-6 pm Sunday, 9 pm-close daily.
Entertainment: TV, a fine patio and wild-ass beer flavors.
Brooklyn Park Pub
3400 SE Milwaukie Ave., 234-7772. 2 pm-2:30 am Monday-Friday, noon-2:30 am Saturday-Sunday.
It’s not an exaggeration to say the Brooklyn Park Pub ran unopposed for top honors in its neglected neighborhood even before it opened seven years ago, and if the crowds took a little while to gather, let’s just agree they had reason to be wary. Save for the sports banner, the drearily utilitarian edifice looks more like a woodworking co-op than sports bar, and not all patrons welcome hyper-cluttered interiors splitting the difference between postgrad man cave and British pub. Nonetheless, a packed crowd on a recent Tuesday reminded me of either an old classmate unseen outside the lecture hall (fleece, starter beard) or a lout facing comical death in a Guy Ritchie feature (silk footie jersey, unblinking gaze). It takes a special thirst to justify the hundred-plus labels of artisan booze strewn under the board games and stuffed groundhogs. Brooklyn, they go hard. JAY HORTON.
Happy hour: $.50 off drafts and wells 4-6 pm Monday-Friday.
Entertainment: TV (Pac-12 Network), darts, Centipede, Rock ’Em Sock ’Em Robots.
1028 SE Water Ave., 894-9708, bunkbar.com. 11 am-midnight Sunday-Thursday, 11 am-1 am Friday-Saturday.
Bunk Bar—the spacious, hip cousin to Bunk Sandwiches’ original Southeast Morrison Street location—serves beer, offers pinball and sometimes throws a concert. Oh, and it serves the same impressive lineup of lunchtime staples that endeared Bunk to so many in the first place. From the roast beef ($9), with its silky caramelized onions and tangy horseradish, to the saucy Meatball Parmigiano Hero ($8), the sandwiches showcase unique flavors and meticulous attention to detail. While sandwiches are the name of Bunk’s game, sides like mole tots ($5) and fries with debris gravy and Bunk cheese ($5) are less expensive and just as filling. MICHAEL LOPEZ.
Happy hour: $1 off wells and beer 4-6 pm daily.
Entertainment: Live music.
701 E Burnside St., 946-8151, burnsidebrewco.com. 3-10 pm Sunday-Tuesday, 3 pm-midnight Wednesday-Friday, noon-midnight Saturday.
Burnside Brewing is at least as good at pairing food with its beer as it is at cramming foodie flavors into its brews. From its famous Sweet Heat—a standard chili beer even if it is brewed with apricot purée and Jamaican Scotch bonnet peppers—to sweet-appled winter strongs and sea-urchin Uni Ale, the brewery trumpets its use of obscurities like plum, mallow root and kaffir lime leaf. Still, most of Burnside’s beers turn out surprisingly conventional. So order food to complement. The atmosphere is stuck between medieval rustic and laser-cut modern. MITCH LILLIE.
Happy hour: Food specials 4-6 pm daily.
1212 SE Powell Blvd., Suite D, 445-0577, bushwhackercider.com. Noon-11 pm Sunday-Thursday, noon-midnight Friday-Saturday.
You have to respect the purity of purpose at Bushwacker Cider. It would be easy to broaden the comfortable, vaguely English pub’s appeal by tossing a few bottled Newcastles in the cooler next to 185 ciders. But it would do nothing to add to the atmosphere, which was informed one Saturday by a high-stakes dart game, a stray catalog for Settlers of Catan expansion packs, a man in a utility kilt and copies of a weekly, Portland-based, nerd-themed periodical. Settle in with a taster tray of tap ciders ($6) and some gluten-free pretzel sticks ($3). From the tasters, I was most taken with a barrel-aged version of the supermarket staple Woodchuck, which tasted like a well-blended but fairly syrupy bourbon cocktail. I ordered a pint, and learned maybe there were already a few compromises on the menu. “That stuff is way too sweet for me,” says the bartender. “But I want other people to find ciders they enjoy.” MARTIN CIZMAR.
Entertainment: Darts, games.
2035 NE Glisan St., 235-5690. 11:30 am-2:30 am daily.
Club 21 is a McDonald’s for legal drinkers, which I say with the kindest possible intentions. First: The building looks like a tiny white castle, and you enter through a door in the base of the tower. Second: The bar is located a mere five-minute walk from two rock-climbing gyms, which are themselves Pee-wee’s playhouses for the out-of-diapers set. Third: Club 21 is known for its cheap, extensive build-a-burger menu, which lets picky eaters avoid all the “ew, yucky!” condiments and put on weird crap like tomato bacon jam. However, none of this makes the bar off-putting. When you’re 6, McDonald’s is the apex of everything entertaining, delicious and desirable, and an appealing mix of youngsters, flannel-clad locals and rocker types seem to agree that Club 21 is a decent latter-day incarnation. But this time, with a better tap list. ADRIENNE SO.
Happy hour: $1 off food and wine, 50 cents off wells and draft 3-7 pm Monday-Friday.
Entertainment: Pinball, live music, patio.
Coalition Brewing Co.
2724 SE Ankeny St., 894-8080, coalitionbrewing.com. 3 pm-midnight Tuesday-Friday, noon-midnight Saturday-Sunday.
Even if it’s only about 3 years old, Coalition is very much a classic Portland brewpub. Though it now bottles and cans, Coalition’s soul is an inviting tasting room where a neighborhood crowd shows up to chat while serviced by some of our town’s friendlier bartenders. The flagship Two Dogs IPA is magnificently balanced, with the crisp bitterness of dandelion leaves and a melty caramel sweetness. It’s a throwback to when IPAs offered floral, zesty complexity instead of stinging acidity. It was a beer I remembered loving, even as I sipped my first pint. Founders Kiley Hoyt and Elan Walsky started as homebrewers participating in Widmer Brothers’ collaboration project, and the brewery pays it forward with a similar Coalator program. MARTIN CIZMAR.
Happy hour: Sausage specials 3-6 pm Monday-Friday.
Entertainment: Timbers and Blazers games on projectors.
2045 SE Belmont St., 232-3227. 4 pm-2:30 am daily.
Show up for a weekday happy hour at this self-consciously kitschy bar—the walls are lined with velvet portraits of Cortes look-alikes—and you’re likely to encounter women in (mostly) tasteful makeup and men in ironed button-downs. Return a few hours later, and you’ll find pinball-playing creatives and tattooed musicians. It’s a tension that, in some ways, carries through to the menu, where cocktails with names like “Hot Love If You Want It” (coconut rum, pepper vodka, passion fruit purée, cream, $8) exist alongside vegetarian, Latin-tilting dishes (empanadas, $3, are stuffed with caramelized mushrooms or spinach and hazelnuts). Deep black booths are comfortable for groups, and later in the evening DJs spin garage rock. REBECCA JACOBSON.
Happy hour: $2 PBR, $3 micros, $3.25 wells, $4.50 house wine, $5.25 margaritas, $2-$5 food menu 4-7 pm daily.
Entertainment: Free jukebox, DJs, shuffleboard, pinball, pool, patio.
1400 SE Morrison St., 235-8150, crushbar.com. 4 pm-2 am Tuesday-Saturday, noon-1 am Sunday.
The cocktails at Crush might tend toward sweet and fruity, but the menu descriptions are pure sass. Take note when ordering the Male Order Bride (ginger ale, grated ginger, vodka, $6): “All sales final.” Prefer the Green Monk, loaded with Green Chartreuse and vodka ($8)? Make sure to “picture hot French monks” quietly harvesting herbs. Crush attracts a largely queer crowd into its airy, red-and-black-walled space. The artwork seems vaguely inspired by both construction work and bondage, with hinges, pulleys and latches affixed to giant canvases. At happy hour, take a seat at the S-shaped bar to gab with the amiable bartenders as you nosh on nachos, or show up after dark for burlesque (and boylesque) shows and DJs spinning dance music. Nice and naughty, indeed. REBECCA JACOBSON.
Happy hour: $1.50 PBR, $3.25 micros, $4.50 wine, $3 wells, $4-$4.50 select cocktails, $2.75-$5.75 food menu 4 pm-midnight Tuesday, 4-7 pm Wednesday-Sunday.
Entertainment: DJs, burlesque shows.
Deschutes Brewery Portland Public House
210 NW 11th Ave., 296-4906, deschutesbrewery.com. 11 am-10 pm Sunday-Tuesday. 11 am-11 pm Wednesday-Thursday. 11 am-midnight Friday-Saturday.
This Portland-outpost brewpub is a tight-tabled Pearl District beer barn, not overtly pleasant, but one settles in immediately upon tasting its rotating array of interesting seasonals and experimentals. Winter favorites included the Cassis Abbey, a wine-stained black currant sour with a dry finish, and the fireplace comforts of the house’s Bomb Squad Smoked Imperial, which clambers back to tickle the entire top of the palate, and maybe even the sinuses, before settling into dark chocolate. So even if you’re rammed too close to some dude who just tricked out his Dodge Ram for no reason at all, the taster tray will soon distract you, and the servers are overworked but quick on delivery. MATTHEW KORFHAGE.
Happy hour: $3.50 half-liter of the house choice, $4 ribs 4-6 pm Monday-Friday.
Entertainment: As the location would lead you to expect, the sporting events are on the tee-vees.
5305 SE Foster Road, 774-4513, devilspoint.net. 11 am-2:30 am daily.
A triangular den of enlightened iniquities set near the mouth of Foster Road, this favored daughter of Dante’s seems engineered to dispel any lingering illusions about strip bars. Devils Point may be, perhaps, darker than your average FoPo watering hole, but considerably less dingy. When daytime dancers tan themselves on smoking porches and mingle with patrons returning from the neighboring food-cart pod—a far wiser bet than the house cuisine—it’s less sinister than cinematic. The art-directed environs, paired with the sterling goth and rawk tunes chosen by performers and the strong pours of affable bartenders, retains a steady clientele of all genders. Come the carnal vaudeville eruptions of the New York Times-lauded Stripparaoke sessions, overeager women are more the rule. Abandon all pretense ye who enter here. JAY HORTON.
Happy hour: $3 drafts, $2.50 well, 50 cents off call liquor, half off food, 11 am-7 pm.
Entertainment: Video poker, pool, pinball, karaoke.
Dig a Pony
736 SE Grand Ave., 971-279-4409, digaponyportland.com. 4 pm-2 am daily.
For many Portlanders, Dig a Pony will never be a song by the Beatles. It will be dimly lit mahogany-and-leather booths surrounding a horseshoe bar in a Southeast Portland bar where wood-paneled walls are hung with vintage portraiture and an ironic houseplant that keeps the Instagramming doorman company. Dig a Pony might play the Beatles, but only ironically, deafening the crowd of oxford lace-ups, sleeve tattoos and deep-V-neck tees that gather to sip Manhattans ($8) and be seen. But for all its fried plantains ($4), lavender bitters (Patsy’s Cocktail, $8) and wax-dripping candles, Dig a Pony is actually uneccentric: It’s a familiar enough city-dwellers’ bar with an old-timey feel and a Tumblr presence. ENID SPITZ.
Drink this: Patsy’s Cocktail ($8) is a libation equivalent of the vintage flower painting hanging behind the bar: St. Germain, lemon and lavender.
Happy hour: 5-7 pm daily. $3 wells, brews and bites.
Entertainment: DJs, hipster-gazing.
Doug Fir Lounge
830 E Burnside St., 231-9663, dougfirlounge.com. 7 am-2:30 am daily.
Like a mountain-cabin coke den, the Doug Fir Lounge is all exposed logs and mirrors. It’s a pleasing mix of rugged and luxe, as though Rick James moved in with Paul Bunyan and they compromised on the décor. A steady stream of quality bands, local and otherwise, keep its basement venue crowded most nights, while the ambrosial bacon and other generally tasty grub have the upstairs dining room consistently hopping as well. The sleek-as-hell back patio feels about as L.A. as Portland ever could, and the adjoining Jupiter Hotel’s mod, IKEA-inspired rooms make this woodsy oasis feel like the sort of Shangri-la you could settle into for a long, long time. EMILY JENSEN.
Happy hour: $3 wells, wine and drafts, $2 PBR, $2-$5 bar food 3-6 pm daily.
Entertainment: Live music of the indie, hip-hop, straight-ahead rock, folk, singer-songwriter and generally listenable variety.
Fire on the Mountain
3443 NE 57th Ave., 894-8973, portlandwings.com. 11 am-11 pm daily.
The menu at Fire on the Mountain’s huge Fremont restaurant and brewery is like the ultimate special-edition disc of your favorite flick: Yes, it’s great to have the thing you originally loved—Portland’s best fried chicken wings in a variety of rich sauces—but it’s those Easter eggs that make you want to finally go Blu-ray. The menu’s stocked with great extras, starting with the seriously legit New Haven-style pizzas ($11-$26) with a little char and zesty marinara. There are also calzones ($13) and some great beer coming out of the tanks poking up behind the bar. And, wait, horchata? Fried Oreos and maple bacon knots for dessert? Craziest of all: At least one nutty bastard apparently drinks Pernod Absinthe with buffalo wings. MARTIN CIZMAR.
Happy hour: $1 off beers 3-6 pm daily and 11 pm-midnight Friday-Saturday; $2.50 pints, $9 pitchers Monday.
Entertainment: Sports TV, OCD licking of sticky fingers.
The Fixin’ To
8218 N Lombard St., 477-4995, thefixinto.com. 3 pm-2 am Monday-Saturday, 3 pm-1 am Sunday.
Did you know that Pabst Blue Ribbon comes in light form? The obscure B-side of the chart-topping brew gets a little play at St. Johns’ Fixin’ To, where a long shuffleboard table runs parallel to the bar and one of the city’s best pizza carts, Pizza Contadino, bakes pies out on the large front patio. In this place, it can be appreciated both ironically and not. Loud décor is “eclectic” in the same vein as the neighboring McMenamins theater and the patrons and bartenders seem quite familiar. This is the sort of place where a regular insists you take the hot toddy made for him and a basketball game no one cares about gets folks talking about the weekend they spent in Reno. MARTIN CIZMAR.
Happy hour: Food specials, $1 off wells and drafts 2-6 pm Monday-Friday.
Entertainment: Patio, TV, occasional live music.
The Foggy Notion
3416 N Lombard St., 240-0249, thefoggynotion.com. 5 pm-2:30 am Tuesday-Sunday.
There is no reason the Foggy Notion should be as awesome as it is. In a ramshackle-looking building on Lombard Street, this poorly marked pub opens up on tables and counters collaged with rock-album covers and strange pop-culture cutouts. It would be easy for it to go full-on dive, but instead owner Mel Brandy—whose shouts can always be heard above whatever’s on the jukebox—has an impressive array of house-infused and top-shelf liquors. A citrus juicer on the counter makes The Lolita, with tequila, fresh grapefruit juice, St. Germain elderflower liqueur on the rocks ($6) a standout. And it pays to get there early in the week. The bar’s best menu item hands-down is its pierogi ($8), made once a week on Monday. When it’s gone, it’s gone. ANDREA DAMEWOOD.
Happy hour: $1 off specialty and wells, drafts and food entrees 5-8 pm daily. There’s also Tatt2for1 Tuesdays: two-for-one drink specials to anyone who flashes their ink.
Entertainment: Live music, pinball, Skee-Ball, live music, DJs, karaoke, trivia, patio.
1325 NE Fremont St., 946-8161, freehousepdx.com. 4 pm-midnight daily.
Under the watchful eyes of Abraham Lincoln in two slightly creepy paintings on the walls of Free House, a dozen or so drinkers maintain a vibe of laid-back camaraderie. Reopening a couple of months ago under the joint ownership of Victory Bar chef Eric Moore and Olympic Provisions co-owner Martin Schwartz, the revamped Free House now boasts the best influences of both, with better-than-average bar food (banh mi, anyone?) and a rotating list of house cocktails that fall into the “Portland eclectic” category. I had a Tusken Raider (pisco, lemon, pineapple gomme and Prosecco), which I assume you’re supposed to drink one at a time so as to conceal your numbers. A partially covered patio is one of the bar’s new features and offers plenty of space for summertime drinking. Although it probably never gets too rowdy at Free House—after all, Honest Abe is watching. PENELOPE BASS.
Happy hour: A buck off whatever 4-5:30 pm daily.
2432 SE 11th Ave., 841-6734, funhouselounge.com. 5 pm-1 am Monday-Thursday, 4 pm-1 am Friday-Saturday, 4-11 pm Sunday.
A room full of clown paintings—from thoughtful oils to black velvets and a Christ-like Ronald McDonald—would be enough to give anyone nightmares. But the “clown room” at Funhouse Lounge serves as part of the entertainment, alongside a stack of board games and a Wii. The new bar/performance space serves as home to Portland improv troupe the Unscriptables, with most Saturdays offering one or two live shows like their current production Avenue PDX, a spoof on the puppet musical Avenue Q. The menu features mostly hot sandwiches and appetizers, and the bar has a concession-stand feel, with no draft beers—just cheap shots, mixed drinks, bottles, wine and soft drinks. It’s probably best to go on the night of a performance or event, such as the Sunday Funhouse game show. You wouldn’t want it to just be you and the clowns. PENELOPE BASS.
Happy hour: $2 cheap beer, 3.25 wells, $3.50 micros, half-price appetizers 5-7 pm Friday-Sunday.
Entertainment: Lots. It’s a funhouse. Wii, TV, live comedy, theater, live music, DJs.
511 NW Couch St., 796-9364, groundkontrol.com. Noon-2:30 am daily.
The blinking lights of arcade games and excited chatter of twentysomethings reliving their teenage glory while sipping beer can be a sensory overload when you first enter Ground Kontrol. Nerds, douchebags and gamers flock to this barcade for that nostalgic arcade experience, most too young to have lived through its golden age. House of the Dead, Joust, Turtles in Time, Asteroids and many other classics are all here. There are also relics like the pinball machine upstairs for the mostly forgotten mid-’90s film adaptation of The Shadow to bring you back to that bygone era. But now alcohol is involved. Grab yourself a stiff $4 whiskey Coke and challenge a complete stranger to Tekken Tag. Next drink’s on the loser. JOHN LOCANTHI.
Happy hour: $1 off beer and wine 5-7 pm daily.
Entertainment: Arcade, pinball, Rock Band karaoke on Tuesday.
Hair of the Dog
61 SE Water Ave., 232-6585, hairofthedog.com. 11:30 am-8 pm Sunday and Tuesday-Thursday, 11:30 am-10 pm Friday-Saturday.
Like Young Guns II or the video for Michael Jackson’s “Black or White,” a full accounting of Hair of the Dog’s importance requires some historical context. When Alan Sprints opened his brewery in 1993, Americans simply didn’t make barrel-aged or bottle-conditioned beers. Sprints found inspiration on a trip to Belgium. The brewery reserves special releases for its taproom, and Sprints is now a local legend and the type of guy who gets flown down to L.A. to host tastings at fancy pizzerias. Almost everything Hair of the Dog makes is impressive, even if it’s not as unique as it once was. The tasting room is a great place to sample pricey barrel-aged beers from the keg—or spring for a bottle of the 1994 vintage of Adam, 12 ounces of local history priced at $50. MARTIN CIZMAR.
Entertainment: Comparing different vintages of the same beer.
201 S 2nd St., Oregon City, 723-6789, highlandstillhouse.com. 11 am-midnight Tuesday-Saturday, 11 am-10 pm Sunday.
Its Oregon City locale keeps the iconic Highland Stillhouse well off the radar of most Portland locals. Too bad. The Stillhouse has, quite simply, the most extensive Scotch selection that you are likely to experience anywhere, including most places in Scotland. We recommend an early day weekend ride on the 33 or 35 bus, as you are not likely to imbibe lightly. Order some Scotch you’ve never heard of, and while some blowhard at the other table explains that Scotch is all about the water, you will be looking out at the fine waters of the Willamette from the patio. The voluminous beer list has plenty of rare imports from the British isles, but seriously: Stick to the Islay. There are 54 bottles of it to try before you even make it the Lowlands or the Speyside. MATTHEW KORFHAGE
Happy hour: Food specials Tuesday-Friday 3-6 pm.
Entertainment: Live music, TV, reading the whisky list over and over to yourself in a thick accent.
Horse Brass Pub
4534 SE Belmont St., 232-2202, horsebrass.com. 11 pm-2:30 am daily.
Horse Brass is the classic Portland beer bar, created in the image of a British pub by guys who’d never seen a British pub. They did a remarkable job, and the Brass remains vital even after the passing of legendary proprietor Don Younger. You go for the beer, which is poured from fully 50 taps, but the pub also serves inconsistent but sometimes great food, including four big, dark pieces of halibut that benefit greatly from a brightening squeeze of lemon and a twinkle of vinegar ($14.25). MARTIN CIZMAR
Entertainment: English Premier League soccer, occasional live music, darts.
Jack London Bar
529 SW 4th Ave., 228-7605. Open nightly for events beneath the Rialto poolroom.
After walking through a brightly lit hall of middle-aged men playing pool and watching UFC, it’s vaguely disconcerting to descend a staircase and suddenly find yourself in a dim room full of effete art-school kids selling zines, spinning glam rock on vinyl and doing spoken-word performances before a backdrop of crudely drawn penises. Somehow, the Jack London Bar, in a resurrected basement lounge below the dingy Rialto, has established itself as the new downtown darling of Portland’s alt-lit crowd, quietly playing host to lectures, readings and art shows while scary dudes with big bellies play video poker upstairs. Dark, grungy and graffitied, the bar suggests an edgier scene, but the Instagramming audience sipping box wine says otherwise. Still, something about the Jack London feels slightly illicit, like the folks upstairs might suddenly appear, brandishing their pool cues, to chase everyone back across Burnside. RUTH BROWN.
Happy hour: Same as Rialto’s, 4-7 pm daily. Entertainment: Readings, storytelling, DJs.
221 NW 10th Ave., 295-6542, jimmymaks.com. 5 pm-midnight Monday-Thursday, 5 pm-1 am Friday-Saturday.
Live music loud enough to enjoy yet quiet enough to allow you to hold a conversation with your dinner date will never go out of style. Jimmy Mak’s has that in spades. The dimly lit jazz lounge and restaurant is famous for the weekly sets by legendary Portland drummer Mel Brown, but it also features a wide variety of acts on weekends. A mix of well-to-do baby boomers, older couples and well-dressed (by Portland standards) tweeners fill out the crowd. The Greek food menu feels overpriced, and the refusal to serve beer in something other than 14-ounce “pints” is disappointing, but the music and ambience more than make up for it. Jimmy Mak’s is not a dance club. It’s a place to sit back, sip a Sazerac ($9.50) and ride that anise finish and melancholy music into the night. JOHN LOCANTHI.
Happy hour: $1 off pints and $3 wells 5-7pm Monday-Saturday.
Entertainment: Live music.
1215 SW Alder St., 241-7163, grunerpdx.com/kask. 5-11 pm Monday-Saturday.
Each page of Kask’s menu concludes with a quote. From F. Scott Fitzgerald, on the page devoted to grain and grape spirits: “Here’s to alcohol, the rose colored glasses of life.” Such lenses slide on easily at this West End saloon, oiled by the vast selection of smart cocktails and fortified by the fine cheese-and-charcuterie plates. It’s fitting, too, to find a quote from that quintessential American playboy: While Kask might be run by the same folks as Grüner, the Alpine eatery next door, the vibe here is hardly continental. With undersized tables and stools, a mammoth walnut bar and bison sketched on giant chalkboards, Kask is cozy and just a tad quaint. Start sipping one of those thoughtful cocktails—the adaption of the 1947 classic El Diablo ($9) is spicy but not too sharp, though on a budget opt for a $5 glass of punch—and you’ll be wearing those rosy specs in no time. REBECCA JACOBSON.
Entertainment: Menu quotes from Julia Child, Tom Robbins and Errol Flynn.
426 SW Washington St., 228-3669, kellysolympian.com. 10 am-2:30 am daily.
Kelly’s Olympian is the aesthetic hodgepodge you’d expect from Portland’s third-oldest continually operating bar/restaurant—it celebrated its 111th birthday this past February. Unused motorcycle parking spots sit out front while vintage motorcycles are suspended from the ceiling. A dark lounge is tucked in the very back of the bar. An eclectic selection of local bands plays in a side room off the main bar throughout the week. Kelly’s Olympian’s namesake, Olympia Beer, is mercifully left off the 20 beers on tap. Regulars, college kids and the occasional whiny person all seem to find themselves at Kelly’s for one reason or another. It’s a solid dive to drop $4.50 on a pint and watch just enough of a Blazers game to want to order another. JOHN LOCANTHI.
Happy hour: $1 off micros and imports, $3 wells, $4 wine 4-7pm daily, 11pm-1am Sunday-Thursday.
Entertainment: Live music, TV.
22 NE 7th Ave., 232-3063, kirwinebar.com. 5-10 pm Tuesday-Saturday.
Only blocks from the heavily announced Noble Rot, Amalie Roberts’ tiny wine den has become a mainstay for the small number of people who are able to find it, tucked a mere block away from the din of East Burnside’s sardine-packed bar scene. From the looks on a recent Friday, this seems to describe mostly arts patrons and artists over 30, enjoying carefully selected, mostly European bottles with an emphasis on Italians from malvasia to rose-sweet lambrusco. Don’t be surprised to find yourself staring cross-eyed at an unfamiliar selection: It’s OK. It’s a friendly, cozy little world where the enthusiastic server is happy to act as wine whisperer. MATTHEW KORFHAGE
Happy hour: $2 off wines 5-6 pm.
Entertainment: Daily competition for the scarce patio seats.
2026 NE Alberta St., 473-8729, theknowpdx.com. 3 pm-2:30 am daily.
A few years ago, musician Jonathan Richman walked into the Know and fell in love. He was in town to play the Aladdin Theater but promised to return and perform on the bar’s shin-high stage, which he’s done multiple times now. A lot of his punk-era peers would probably have the same reaction. More than just another dive, the Know has the battered aura of a classic rock club: Its bathroom stalls are lovingly defaced, the floors are sticky, the PBR practically flows from the faucets. Even though it’s only been open eight years, it feels like it’s been around forever. OK, maybe it’s not CBGB. Maybe it’s more like a neighborhood basement venue with a liquor license. And maybe that makes it even cooler. MATTHEW SINGER.
Happy hour: $1 tall cans, $3 drafts,$3 wells 3-7 pm.
Entertainment: Live music, karaoke, pinball, jukebox, TV, Blazers games.
4847 SE Division St., 894-8132, landmarksaloon.com. 2 pm-2 am daily.
If the Landmark Saloon were any more authentic, you’d need
a concealed carry permit. This young bar is a real-deal Texas
honky-tonk—just up from Stumptown Coffee on Southeast Division Street.
Inside, you’ll find that high, lonesome sound played live by bands like
the Rocky Butte Wranglers while men in denim jackets and women with hair
buns drink 24-ounce PBR taller boys and pints of Double Mountain. The
bar took over a converted home with wood floors and cozy rooms, but the
spacious street-side patio is the best part of the place. Grab a seat
next to a fire pit that’s nice this time of year or grab bags for the
Happy hour: 50 cents off drafts and wells 4-7pm Monday-Friday.
Entertainment: Patio, live music, cornhole.
938 N Cook St., 517-9931. 5 pm-2:30 am Monday-Saturday, 5 pm-midnight Sunday.
Portland’s other Big Pink, Liberty Glass, crams off-kilter rusticity into a building the color of a preteen girl’s diary. An antiquated two-story house standing a block away from where the “new Mississippi” begins, the bar replaced beloved restaurant Lovely Hula Hands in 2008, then became an institution itself by dodging the trendy hand of progress sweeping through the rest of the neighborhood. Disembodied antlers decorate the walls, water is served in tin cups and the craft beers in Mason jars, nobody’s bothered to remove the claw-foot tub from the restroom, and the most rhapsodized item on the menu is the Triscuit nachos. It maintains a vague literary feel—author Patrick deWitt based a three-legged dog in his award-winning novel, The Sisters Brothers, on the house pooch, Otis—while resembling a backwoods dollhouse, which is about as Portlandian as it gets. MATTHEW SINGER.
Happy hour: $1 off beer and appetizers 3-6 pm daily.
Lion’s Eye Tavern
5919 SE 82nd Ave., 774-1468.
No longtime Portlander is surprised to hear there’s great stuff in the outer reaches of Southeast 82nd Avenue. Even so, the Lion’s Eye Tavern comes as a bit of a shock. Turns out that one of Portland’s coolest bars—one with pool tables, pinball machines, a top-tier patio and a well-curated supply of about three dozen bottled beers and eight fine, cheap pints on tap, including the slightly fruity Lion’s Eye Bock—is spitting distance from Cobbler Bill’s footwear and Monique Salon. The rejuvenated Mount Scott dive shows Timbers games and hosts trivia nights, but it’s the little things—the nut-filled quarter machines built into the ’70s-wood-paneling bar, the stack of board games—that make this pint-sized spot feel warm and cozy. The housemade soups and sweet bartenders help, too. And all the sirens? You get used to them. CASEY JARMAN.
Happy hour: 3-7 pm daily.
Entertainment: TVs, much pool, pinball, board games, trivia, Timbers, patio.
3536 NE Martin Luther King Jr. Blvd., 282-1833, local-lounge.com. 3:30 pm-2 am daily.
Whether you’re lookin’ to twerk while taking tequila shots or are an amateur hoping to get sexy at strip night, the colorful, queer-friendly Local Lounge—better known as Shantay—is your huckleberry. Located on Martin Luther King Jr. Boulevard, well away from more traditional queer-centered nightlife, the lounge draws in crowds from all walks of life. Bears and blue-collars alike relish in the glory of cheap booze, seasonal cocktails ($8), and tater-tot casserole ($6), though if you come in on the wrong night the bartender may be your only company. Mondays get you a burger and PBR to nosh on for seven bucks while you take in the latest episode of RuPaul’s Drag Race. EMILLY PRADO.
Happy hour: $3 wells and draft beers 4-7:30 pm daily.
Entertainment: TV, Blazers games, pool, video lottery, karaoke, DJs, drag shows, queer strip night, dancing.
835 SW 2nd Ave., 222-0047, luclackitchen.com. 11 am-2:30 pm Monday-Friday, 4 pm-2 am Monday-Thursday,4 pm-4 am Friday-Saturday.
Luc Lac likes to sweeten the pot. The place, indeed, is beautiful. Surrounding a bar island at the room’s center, one wall is covered in metallic Victorian wallpaper, while the other includes a colossal ironized mural of a dragon. The Vietnamese bar cuisine is also a bit sweet, possibly even timid. It’s a place of mild-mannered culinary pleasantry and Asian-inflected cocktail dreams, garbed in colonial chic. The bo tai chanh, with peanut-studded rare steak cooked in lime and pineapple, remains one of the menu’s highlights ($7), and the sweet, tripe-free pho ($6.50-$9) is a popular slurp for the happy-hour and late-night crowds. Word to the wise, though: Go cheap and boozy. Luc Lac has one of the best happy hours in the city, with small-version menu items as cheap as $2. Note: Drinkers take priority if they’re smart. Skip the stupid food line and pony at the bar. MATTHEW KORFHAGE.
Happy hour: Insanely cheap food specials 4-7 pm Monday-Saturday.
4639 SE Woodstock Blvd., 774-0353, 11-2:30 am daily.
Six-decade-old neighborhood saloons don’t always survive the change of ownership, but this newly sleekened tavern-—bought by Crow Bar vets three years ago—somehow shows its age more than ever before. The Lutz retrovation approximates the effect of a gearhead restoring a 1947 Fleetmaster chassis and seat covers while tearing out the engine to ensure modern performance. Memorabilia advertising defunct breweries decorates the walls, the phone booth has been repurposed as an ATM and a partially enclosed back patio welcomes smokers. Early evening, the well-heeled demographic orders from a menu including the deadlier fringes of diner cuisine. The flat-billed hordes from parts east, who overwhelm the bar afterward, may have noticed only the availability of Jaeger. JAY HORTON.
Happy hour: $2.50 well, $1.50 PBR tall boys 4-7 pm daily.
Entertainment: Pool, pinball, patio, TV.
417 NW 21st Ave., 228-6614. 6 pm-2:30 am daily. Cash only.
M Bar is the Mill Ends Park of bars. An itty-bitty,
candelit establishment, it’s like a tiny Victorian parlor, rid of all
excessive frippery and staffed by a singularly friendly bartender. Since
Sterling Coffee moved in last June (it’s a cafe during the day and
undergoes a costume change for the evening), M Bar has been updated with
tastefully striped wallpaper, but the atmosphere is convivial as ever.
It had better be: The spot is so small that, while sipping your glass of
viognier or your 10 Barrel ISA (no liquor here), you’ll probably end up
swapping stories with your neighbors. On a recent weekend evening, I
discussed the Italian mob with the publisher of this very newspaper.
It’s cash only, and want a receipt? The bartender—dressed like those at
Teardrop but without an ounce of the pretension—will have to handwrite
it for you. I’m still charmed.
Happy hour: $4 20-ounce beers, $3 off glasses of wine 6-8 pm daily.
Entertainment: Friendly people, attractive wallpaper.
217 NW 4th Ave., 224-8472, magicgardenpdx.com. 11:45 am-2:30 am Monday-Saturday, 5:45 pm-2:30 am Sunday. Cash only.
The phrase “strip club” conjures up the image of fake-breasted blondes moving up and down poles while desperate men slip dollar bills into their G-strings and sip overpriced drinks. Magic Garden is exactly none of those things. It’s a dive bar that just happens to also have naked women dancing. A gruff, cagey old woman named Patty has tended the bar since time immemorial, and she doesn’t forget who the good tippers are. And $4 well drinks can go a long way if you play your cards right. Two dancers rotate between the small dance floor—where they also DJ—and help out around the bar. There is no stripper pole. The dancers’ song choices veer toward indie and garage rock, a welcome accompaniment to the duo shooting pool in the back and crowd hanging out at the bar. The stripping is more on the peripheries here. JOHN LOCANTHI.
Entertainment: Strippers, pool.
129 SW Broadway, 227-3023, marysclub.com. 11 am—2:30 am Monday-Saturday, 11:30 am—2:30 am Sunday.
Setting foot inside Mary’s Club is stepping into a slice of Portland unstuck in time. Antique fliers for the litany of performers who have graced Portland’s oldest strip club line the walls. The colorful mural of historic women painted along the back wall dates back to the ’50s. The cash register looks twice as old. A heavily tattooed dancer slides up and down the pole to the sultry chords of Velvet Underground’s “Venus in Furs” in front of a surprisingly gender-balanced crowd. There are 10 beers on tap, but I always find myself gravitating toward the one with a stripper handle at the end: Mary’s blonde ale ($4.75). It’s a fitting accompaniment as one takes in the wide range of women dancing at Mary’s, which at one point included Portland’s favorite daughter, Courtney Love. Mary’s Club is a strip club in that low-key, dive-y Portland kind of way. JOHN LOCANTHI.
Happy hour: $2.50 PBR 11 am-4:30 pm daily.
1967 W Burnside St., 222-5822, thematadorbar.com. Noon-2:30 am daily.
If the Most Interesting Man in the World held a punk-tinged lounge equivalent, this dimly lit jewel of West Burnside, long the spiritual link between uptown and the rock blocks, wouldn’t be a poor blueprint. The men’s restroom boasts carnation-colored, heart-shaped sink basins opposite a urinal perhaps reclaimed from the Titanic. Friendly bartenders do not tolerate fools, whether slumming debs or aspirational homeless or Timbers faithful spilling forth from nearby Jeld-Wen Field. The Scrabble tournaments on Super Bowl Sunday epitomize a somewhat conflicted relationship with sports yet shown on the flat screens. Rockers hoping to grab a cheap beer and hobnob with their fave DJ may be absorbed into a bachelorette party as quickly as IT wizards enjoying a higher-end tipple find their non-prescription eyeglasses blown clean off by the first chords of garage up-and-comers set up by the pool table. While recent Southeast settlement Conquistador seamlessly serves the rarefied tastes of the condo set at twilight and touring tastemakers ’round last call, the Matador doesn’t quite cater to any one vision of what a bar should be—save, after a fashion, the former owner and provocateur-in-chief whose portrait in black velvet hangs near the entrance---—and effectively demands the patrons to submit to the peculiar momentum of the moment. “Nobody ever lives their life all the way up except bullfighters,” but the right sort of bar helps immeasurably. JAY HORTON.
Happy hour: $3 wells and $5 pitchers, $1.50 pints PBR noon-7 pm Monday-Friday and “Recession Sundays.”
Entertainment: Pool, pinball, jukebox, video poker, video games, TV, DJs, photo booth.
3203 SE Division St., 234-7844, matchboxlounge.com. 4 pm-2:30 am daily.
The charms of Matchbox Lounge are time-dependent. Surrounded by food destinations like Wafu, Pok Pok and Sunshine Tavern, this straightforward cafelike bar makes its bones with a ridiculous happy-hour burger, which is only $6 from 4 to 6 pm and again from 10 pm to close. The art is nice, the beer selection, which leans toward Double Mountain and Breakside, is solid and the bartender manages a dozen customers split between the bar, the two-top tables and one big booth as well as any one man could. The burger is just as good at 7:30 pm, but the cost skyrockets to $11, pricier than Wafu’s exceptional abura soba. MARTIN CIZMAR.
Happy hour: food specials 46 pm Monday-Saturday, all day Sunday.
Entertainment: Occasional live music.
3508 N Williams Ave., 282-1611. 3 pm-2:30 am Monday-Saturday, noon-2:30 am Sunday.
Maui’s greets you with the olfactory wave of damp air and warm beer that screams dive. There are murals of frolicking dolphins on the cinder-block walls, but this is not a dive into pristine waters. It is a grown-up skater boy’s pool lounge, painted like an aquarium, with skateboards, snowboards and electric guitars suspended from the ceiling. Drinks that are stiff enough to spike the ocean fuel Blazers-clad throngs and alterna-culture posses through epic pingpong games on the patio. On game day, stalwarts can munch mac and cheese, bagged chips and deli sandwiches perfectly paired with the $2 PBRs. Maybe PBR tastes better with a killer whale hanging overhead? ENID SPITZ.
Happy hour: 3-7 pm Monday-Friday. $1 PBRs, $2.25 wells, $3 micros.
Entertainment: Pool, TV, pinball, darts.
3967 N Mississippi Ave., 288-6272, molokopdx.com. 4 pm-2 am daily.
Moloko ain’t subtle with the symbolism. We get it: The giant fish tanks on either side of the bar are a welcome invitation to drink like an aquatic invertebrate. But after at least the better part of a decade open on Mississippi, Moloko is a relative granddaddy on the block. With a cocktail list so expansive that the ’tender has to look up the more obscure items, we appreciate this joint’s willingness to play with taste-bud-challenging ingredients, including absinthe (its trademark mixer), Campari and house-infused liquors. The bar’s covered back patio with heat lamps—a friend to all smokers and friends of smokers—makes it a necessary stop on any Mississippi crawl. ANDREA DAMEWOOD.
Happy hour: $3.50 wells, $1 off beer and fresh-squeezed juices, $2 off panini 4-7 pm daily.
Entertainment: Big-ass fish tanks, DJs.
O’Malley’s Saloon & Grill
6535 SE Foster Road, 777-0495, omalleyspdx.com. 3 pm-2 am daily.
While newish slogan “Putting Neighbor Back in the ’Hood” doesn’t really speak to any grand design guiding the bar’s continual improvements—a 725-degree wood-fired oven and glassed-in sun room—there’s a warm welcome redolent of the spacious saloon’s ever-more-inviting upper Foster environs. The rotating taps still feature Hamm’s alongside modestly expanding craft-brew selections, while gluten-free bottled brews nestle comfortably beside Rainier tall boys below the sprawling collection of porcelain decanters. Their pizza still compares favorably to Sizzle Pie’s, at considerably less cost. Nobody would have dared predict that a makeshift stage this far from the river could regularly attract top local bands or their devoted throngs, but on lovingly curated bills most Saturday nights, they clear away the pool tables and introduce hoodies to the neighbors. JAY HORTON.
Happy hour: 50 cents off wells and tap pints, $12 one-topping pizza with one pint of craft beer or two 16-ounce Rainier cans. 3-6 pm daily.
Entertainment: TV, pinball, pool, trivia night, foosball.
2225 E Burnside St., 971-271-7166, pixpatisserie.com. 2 pm-2 am daily.
Near cases bursting with a rainbow of decadent macarons and $3 eau de vie-filled chocolates, patrons at the new Pix Patisserie location can sift through 11 pages of champagnes before deigning to turn pages onto mere midlist sparkling wines or an admirably broad selection of Belgian ales. Pix’s Cheryl Wakerhauser’s new, somewhat fussy tapas-bar concept, Bar Vivant, also shares this space. The liquors and beers are housed on one side of a massive ovoid bar; the tapas are on the other. Amid dampened swells of soft jazz and quiet huddles of seated patrons, the mood at Bar Vivant can be a bit church-like. One almost feels the need to whisper while eating its rich, low-cost Spanish tortillas, bacon-wrapped dates in maple syrup or lovely butterflied mackerel. Make sure to show up for the bar’s occasional gastronomical trivia tasting contests. You’ll lose, embarrassingly, but will be too fat and drunk to care. MATTHEW KORFHAGE.
Happy hour: Wine discounts and one free tapas plate per drink 2-4 pm daily.
10350 N Vancouver Way, 345-0300, ponderosalounge.com. 9 am-midnight Monday-Tuesday, 9 am-1 am Wednesday-Thursday, 9 am-2 am Friday, 8 am-2 am Saturday, 8 am-midnight Sunday.
Chrome exhaust pipes flank an entryway lined with country stars’ head shots, an apt welcome for this truck-stop wonderland near the Washington border. Jubitz is possibly the biggest gas station ever, a haven for tired truckers that draws hordes of country-lovin’ folk for weekend shows and dancing. Eating areas, dance floors and Keno machines stretch endlessly from the bar. But the real treat is drunkenly wandering the rest of Jubitz’s center with Keith Urban ringing in your ears. Past a restaurant of the apple pie and fried mozzarella stick variety, a museum of 18-wheelers leads to pinball machines, massage chairs, a hair salon and two-screen theater. Dancing lessons at the Ponderosa Lounge are just the beginning of this fall down a countrified rabbit hole. ENID SPITZ.
Happy hour: 3-7 pm and 10-midnight Monday-Saturday, all day Sunday. Nightly drink specials ($5 margarita Mondays, $10 beer bucket Tuesdays, $4 Jack Daniels Wednesdays, $1 wells and $2 drafts Thursdays, $5 cosmos and lemon drops Fridays, $2 mimosas Sundays).
Entertainment: Live music, dancing, pool, darts, lottery, arcade games, TV.
Pope House Bourbon Lounge
2075 NW Glisan St., 222-1056, popehouselounge.com. 4 pm-late daily.
Fewer afternoons lend themselves to greater pleasure than a few hours whiled away with a delectable glass of neat bourbon and a sunny place to take in the sights. With one of the city’s most impressive brown-liquor lists and a big ol’ patio out front, the Pope House is a go-to spot to build a buzz as the city keeps on spinning. It’s a Nob Hill spot, so more people show up in gym wear than I prefer to see when exercising my liver, but they fade to the background in the face of well-crafted cocktails and an epic selection of bourbon, Scotch and whiskey. Inside is a Kentucky Derby-devoted theme—add a Maker’s Manhattan ($9) and it’s Southern comfort in Northwest Portland at its finest. ANDREA DAMEWOOD.
Happy hour: $5 cocktails, $3.50 wells with food specials 4-7 pm and 10 pm-close daily, all day Sunday.
Entertainment: Patio, Blazers games, Sunday night trivia.
204 SE Oak St., 232-8355, producerowcafe.com. 11 am-midnight Monday-Saturday, 11 am-10 pm Sunday.
I wish I’d seen Produce Row before they fancied it up. This old-time Eastside Industrial bar was refurbished in 2010 and now is polished, with sparse but tasteful furnishings and fine food and drink. In the old days, it was a gritty rocker bar where Pete Krebs hung out and early Oregon craft brews from Widmer and Deschutes found their first taps. These days, handsome wood tables display cauliflower panzanella and grilled polenta just down from the similarly decorated Olympic Provisions charcuterie shop. It’s all very nice—the beer list is just as edgy, with plenty of serious offerings—but it’s hard to compare it to the charm of its legend. MARTIN CIZMAR.
Happy hour: Food specials, $1 off wells and pints 4-7 pm daily.
Entertainment: Board games, TV, live music, massive back patio.
4237 N Mississippi Ave., 954-2674, prostportland.com. 11:30 am-2:30 am Monday-Friday, 11 am-2:30 am Saturday-Sunday.
What’s better than 2 liters of delicious, imported German beer? Two liters of that beer in a giant boot–yours, for the night, after a deposit of $50. While Prost! can get cramped with burly beer dudes on weekends and soccer fans during Timbers games, this small, German-style pub offers an impressive array of locally sourced snacks and authentic beers served accordingly in traditional glassware. Although it can be tempting to swing by a nearby food cart, the options at hand—like a chewy pretzel sandwich ($9.50) with two types of sausage and fixins—won’t disappoint. Not feeling the beer scene? Opt for an autumnal Herbst Whiskey of Jim Beam infused with raisins, oranges and cinnamon (cold for $6.50, hot for $7.50). Amid the rustic wood walls, old-timey family photos and ceramic novelty mugs, there is one novelty on offer at a point well past grim familiarity: After consuming a mere 1,000 drinks on your punch card, you can own your own barstool here. EMILLY PRADO.
Entertainment: Blazers games, MLS and Timbers games, darts, patio.
7915 SE Stark St., 841-5118, redwoodpdx.com. 4 pm-late daily.
Redwood’s small gastropub menu includes a solid selection of the Southern-fried Northwest larder that has, for better or worse, come to dominate Portland’s food scene. This place won’t prompt westsiders to find their way to the backside of the volcano—Tanuki covers that base—but it’s a good addition to the neighborhood, and worth a try before catching a movie across the street. Its best dish is a generous portion of seared, deboned trout ($14), served in its skin and topped with sprigs of cilantro and a thick, refreshing poblano vinaigrette I’d favorably compare to the salsa verde found in squeeze bottles at good taquerias. The desserts and cocktails are nothing special, however. MARTIN CIZMAR.
Happy hour: Bar snacks, $3 wells, $1 Miller High Life, $3.50 drafts 4-6 pm, 10 pm-close.
2430 SE Division St., 231-3880. 10 am-2:30 am Monday-Saturday, 10 am-1 am Sunday.
This fantastically ramshackle tavern has mastered the recipe for a perfect dive bar. The ingredients are simple: cheap beer, fried chicken and no judgment. This is a joint that lets the drunken soul run amuck, with colored chalk handy for scrawling inspired messages on the wallboards and rafters (our favorite reading: “BACON 2013”), a slew of mindless entertainment from shooting games to video lottery, and a wall-mounted condom dispenser, should one need to procure some hasty birth control. The fried-chicken dinner ($7.50 for two pieces) with mammoth jojos is widely considered some of the best battered bird in the city, and comes with six dipping sauces—a sloppy feast fit for a soused king. EMILY JENSEN.
Entertainment: Big Buck Safari, video lottery, Internet jukebox, pool table, TV.
7819 SW Capitol Highway, 246-9097, rennersgrill.com. 11-2:30 am daily.
Given its outsized reputation among Oregon saloon lore over seven decades of operation, infrequent visitors to Multnomah Village, Southwest Portland’s lone civilized stretch, always forget a central tenet of Renner’s Grill: The bar is teensy. A decent birthday party could overfill the Suburban Room, Renner’s elevated lounge-within-a-lounge, not to mention disturb the early evening array of well-turned-out couples finishing their dinner, just-off-work locals starting their drunk and the still-imposing pensioners staring down the Blazers game. But the interiors are less cramped than finely proportioned, and there’s an easy bonhomie across age and collar that has all but vanished in Portland proper. The generous pours and cozy environs help, of course, but sometimes it takes a village. JAY HORTON.
Happy hour: $3 wells, $1.50 PBR, $1 off micros 3-7 pm daily.
Entertainment: TV, bingo.
1000 SE 12th Ave., 233-0743, 3 pm-1 am daily. Cash only.
Contrary to popular belief, Roadside Attraction was never a
Chinese restaurant. You could be easily fooled, though, by the crimson
walls and the serpentine golden dragons framing the arch into the back
poolroom. Then again, other curios recall a tiki lounge, summer camp or
your Burner cousin’s overgrown backyard, so you’d also be forgiven for
assigning this inner-Southeast pub a different ancestry entirely. It’s a
place where all Portlanders must land at some point, though it’s
disproportionately patronized by the sartorially adventurous: On a
recent evening, I spotted several Utilikilts, a woman in a sequined Mrs.
Claus getup and a chap going shirtless underneath a fur-trimmed vest.
Much is free (including the jukebox, the pool table and the Andes mints
at the bar), the drinks are cheap (pints of Oakshire and Upright for
$4), the patio bonfire toasts your toes, and the tin sheeting keeps you
dry. If only all sideshows were so rewarding.
Happy hour: $3.50 drafts 3-6 pm daily.
Entertainment: Jukebox, pool, piano, patio with bonfire, endlessly fascinating knickknacks and creatively dressed patrons.
600 E Burnside St., 236-4536. 4:30 pm-2:30 am daily.
With its lack of signage, vast patio and occasionally
hipper-than-thou bartenders, Rontoms has long been a bastion of low-key
swank. But in the last year, its free Sunday Sessions—which feature
newer or lesser-known local bands—have made the airy yet intimate bar
even more of a destination. In the winter, acts play in the sunken
indoor pit, surrounded by comfortable, low-slung couches, and in the
summer they take to the sprawling back deck, which also boasts a
fireplace and pingpong table. The menu tends toward comfort food (think
fondue and Swedish meatballs) and the drink menu is standard, but while
sipping a glass of Oregon pinot on an oh-so-long summer night, there’s
scarcely a better place to be.
Happy hour: $1 off wells, $4.50 food menu 4:30-6:30 pm Mondays-Saturdays.
Entertainment: Live music, pingpong, fireplace, patio.
1331 SW Broadway, 222-7673, ravenandrosepdx.com. 5 pm-midnight daily.
The cavernous Rookery—above Raven & Rose in the ancient Ladd Carriage House—looks like the thick-raftered parlor of a man whose things are not to be fucked with. The bar’s dark-marbled rock looks to have been cracked and hardened by first magma, then cooling river. The liquor selection is even more impressive than the room—oft-neglected rum sports a meticulous selection including Zaya, Appleton Estate, Neisson, DonQ and Mount Gay Black—but rarely has such imposing opulence been put to such pedestrian, if eminently tasteful, purpose. Cocktails, such as a $12 Old Fashioned named after the founder of Reed College, are designed less to surprise than to pickle drinkers in history. Middle-aged diners talk quietly and contentedly in easy chairs near the large gas-lit hearth, approximately 15 years après-ski. MATTHEW KORFHAGE.
Happy hour: Food specials and select drink specials 3:30-5 pm Monday-Friday.
Entertainment: Timbers, Blazers, pool.
8105 SE Stark St., 255-0049. 2 pm-2:30 am Monday-Friday, noon-2:30 am Saturday-Sunday.
True love apparently can tame the most savage man—or bar, as the case may be. Onetime biker-rowdy, obscene-minded Roscoe’s has been wizened into an old pussycat by its one true and abiding passion: beer. Plinys both Younger and Elder pass through the fast-rotating taps, as do sours both local and Belgian. And while the house menu’s Cajun, you can get sushi from neighboring Miyamoto delivered to your barstool. The bar even offers sushi-beer pairing advice. One thing, however, that remains wild there is hair, both on the patrons’ faces and in the scruff of their loose-running dogs. More than the new bougie builds, the bar stands as emblem to a gentler Montavilla that nonetheless still bears the scars of its roadhouse past in both chipped red brick and the occasional live rock show. MATTHEW KORFHAGE.
Happy hour: $1 off wells and cheap snacks 2-6 pm daily.
Entertainment: Sports TV, pool, live music.
Sasquatch Brewing Company
6440 SW Capitol Highway, 402-1999, sasquatchbrewery.com. 3-11 pm Monday-Thursday, noon-midnight Friday-Saturday, noon-9 pm Sunday.
As the rest of the city blossomed into a food and brewing mecca, Portland’s most affluent quadrant became depressingly irrelevant during the last decade. For Southwest Portlanders, finding a decent bite means at least a five-mile trip, often across the river. Fortunately, Sasquatch Brewing is one of the first steps in rectifying that malaise. Sunk off Capitol Highway on Hillsdale’s west end, Sasquatch serves up an impressive array of in-house brews, guest taps and ciders. The food is even better, with seasonal burgers among the best I’ve had and a “small plate” of fried chicken and fingerling potatoes that is definitely not small. The space, while decked in warm woods and tasteful Portland nostalgia, is a bit cramped when it’s too cold for the patio, but that’s nitpicking. Here’s hoping Sasquatch is around for a while and helps lead a renaissance of these forgotten hills. JORDAN GREEN.
Happy hour: Beer, wine and food specials 3-5 pm and 9pm-close daily.
Entertainment: Open-mic Mondays.
537 SE Ash St., No. 102, 971-258-5829, sauvagepdx.com. 5-10 pm Tuesday-Thursday, 5-11 pm Friday-Saturday.
Though its name means “savage” in French, absolutely nothing at Sauvage falls below perfectly refined, except maybe the taxidermied goose perched imposingly on a stack of wine barrels near the bar. Hardly identifiable from the street, the entry is a chalkboard wall simply scrawled with “#102 Sauvage” and a veiled door. Once one enters the secret wine nook, it’s as pretentious as the welcome suggests: Hanging glass orbs and candles make the mahogany tables glow, a mixture of random fine art and wine barrels stack the walls, and the owners prattle off varietals with tongue-twisting dexterity. This is oenogeek turf and don’t forget it, says the large glass door leading to Sauvage’s on-site winery, Fausse Piste. But after a whiff of Kobe beef carpaccio and a few glasses from the extensive wine list (try the $19 flight of orange wines for something different), that mounted goose looks a lot more welcoming. ENID SPITZ.
Happy hour: $2-$6 food specials, $5 wine special, 4-6 pm and 10-11 pm Tuesday-Friday.
Entertainment: Winery tours.
500 SE Clinton St., 808-9999, savoypdx.com. 4 pm-late daily.
Savoy Tavern is named after France, self-consciously patterned after the Midwest and more Portland than it wants to give itself credit for, with a décor fashioned from taxidermy and the store-bought class of thrift-store paintings, infused liquors with the bar’s own name on them and beer taps rarely sourced from more than 100 miles out of the town center—not to mention live music in a tiny space and weekly DJ nights spinning indie and soul. And where Chicago disallows any and all happy hours, Savoy has two: one in the afternoon and one in the evening. But if the geography is confused, the mood is warm. And if there’s one thing the Midwest is good for, it’s forgiveness. And if there’s one thing the French are good for, it’s being forgiven. MATTHEW KORFHAGE.
Happy hour: $1 off wells, $5 cocktail specials, $4 craft beers and food specials 4-6 pm, 10 pm-close daily; nightly drink specials.
Entertainment: DJs, live music.
The Secret Society
116 NE Russell St., 493-3600, secretsociety.net. 5 pm-midnight Sunday-Thursday, 5 pm-1 am Friday-Saturday.
If you’ve ever wondered what it’s like to sip fancy drinks in a tiny old library, this is the closest you may ever come. Nestled in a historic Victorian-era hall, this classy establishment has come a long way since its frat-house origins of 1907. The lounge offers more than 40 vintage cocktails on the menu alongside a rotating selection of draft beers and wines. While the mounted kudu and javelina heads oversee your visit, consider ordering the punchy Sazerac—“one of the world’s oldest cocktails”—made with rye whiskey, absinthe, simple syrup and bitters for $9. Food options are tasty, straightforward and available all night. Contrary to the cozy, candlelit feel of weekdays, though, things are sure to get loud and happenin’ during ballroom events next door. EMILLY PRADO.
Happy hour: $6 cocktail specials, $1 off wine and draft beer 5-7 pm Sunday-Thursday; food discounts, $1 off Moscow Mules, wine and draft beer 10pm-close Sunday-Thursday.
Entertainment: Live music.
Sellwood Public House
8132 SE 13th Ave., 736-0179, sellwoodpublichouse.com. 3 pm-midnight Monday-Thursday, 3 pm-2:30 am Friday-Saturday, Noon-2 am Sunday.
When you enter Sellwood Public House, you are greeted with a flight of stairs, which doesn’t seem a great start. At the top of those stairs are two locked doors that look like they house yoga studios for septuagenarians. To the right is a short hall, and that hall is painted on both sides like the view from the middle of the Sellwood Bridge. This may sound lame, but I assure you it is not. And then you’re in the Sellwood Public House, a charmingly cozy pub up off the quiet end of 13th Avenue. The service is outstanding (especially at the bar), the food is wide-ranging and well made, and there’s a quality tap and liquor selection. The clientele ranges in age from mid-20s to late 30s and is composed of regular, everyday Portlanders, the sort that don’t see the city as a giant performance art piece (though they’re cool, too). The bar is actually divided in half, with the non-bar side playing host to games (pool, darts and the like) and live music, and the bar half is for talking and watching the game. JORDAN GREEN.
Happy hour: $1 off wells, drafts and food 3-6 pm.
Entertainment: Live music, pool, darts, pingpong, sports TV.
The Slammer Tavern
500 SE 8th Ave., 232-6504. 3 pm-2:30 am Monday-Friday, noon-2:30 am Saturday-Sunday. Cash only.
The shambling mini mead hall hastily decorated for Christmases past and shoved underneath a private residence along a disused swath of lesser Sandy Boulevard never looked anything less than bizarre, but the Slammer’s core clientele of square-jawed stalwarts with uncomplicated wardrobes (Eagles jacket shelved for Slammer Softball jersey at the first flush of spring) once typified the East Side Industrial District. But from Skee-Ball to the giddy negation of propriety, it’s always been more funhouse than frat house. The bartenders don’t make good cocktails—they make stiff cocktails (less so if you’re an ass, more so if you deserve a lesson). Even after cocktail mecca Rum Club dropped anchor the other side of the road, a staff that refuses credit card purchases for their own convenience didn’t exactly rush to master mixology. The 30 feet between doors might as well be worlds apart, separating what Portland was from all it’s trying so desperately to become. The mood remains cordial, though Lord help the Rum Club should they ever field a softball team. JAY HORTON.
Happy hour: Well discounts and food specials 3-7 pm daily, 5-7 pm.
Entertainment: TV, Skee-Ball, pinball, Pac-Man, Super Mario.
36 N Russell St., 287-2262, 11 am-10 pm Monday-Thursday, 11 am-midnight Friday.
Throughout a vibrant but never cluttered ’70s interior, the high art of low culture has been lovingly assembled to breathtaking effect utterly shorn of irony or, strange as this may sound, excess. From the animatronic band figures above the jukebox to the cabinetmaking flourishes around the fuse box, form at Sloan’s follows function. Why don’t more cocktail tables blink around the sides? Why aren’t all lounge ceilings mirrored? The blend of fashion-forward cocktails with time-swept food (our visit, the food special was beef stroganoff; the drink special, house-infused cucumber gin) reflects a clientele with both neighborhood holdovers and gay and lesbian transplants. It’s the sort of hard-earned integration of clientele easily spoiled by nightlife tourists, but Sloan’s schedule and locale just far enough from several beaten paths have thus far prevented the wholesale invasion. There’s no better way to avoid weekenders than to avoid weekends. JAY HORTON.
Happy hour: $3 well, $3.50 micros 4-6 pm Monday-Friday.
Entertainment: Pool, trivia nights, DJ nights, video poker.
533 SE Grand Ave., 230-7767, slowbar.net. 11:30 am-2:30 am daily.
Sometimes you just need a bartender who will tell you what
to do. When I edged up to the bar in this handsome but sparsely adorned
space early on a Saturday evening, uncertain of what I wanted but
sorely in need of a stiff drink, the barkeep insisted that I ditch the
cocktail menu (which, for the record, looked pretty solid) and instead
whipped me up a ballsy tequila concoction. It was tart, smoky,
face-contortingly strong, and exactly what I needed. That’s Slow Bar for
you: Originally intended to be a “bartender’s bar,” they’ve got a
rock-star attitude and the chops to back it up. They’ve also got a bar
burger so legendary that it spawned its own offshoot restaurant, but it
seems only right that one’s first-ever bite of the onion ring-crowned
Slow Burger ($9.50) should be enjoyed here at its birthplace.
Happy hour: $1 off drinks, $2-$5.50 bar food 3-6 pm Monday-Friday.
Entertainment: TV, juke.
The Spare Room
4830 NE 42nd Ave., 287-5800. 7 am-2:30 am daily.
“This place is kind of amazing,” a first-time visitor to this vast, perpetually crepuscular dive remarked, gazing into the carpeted recesses where pink lights twinkled. “Was it…a bowling alley?” Correct on both counts. And she hadn’t even seen the square-dancing nights or the KJ who accompanies most songs with saxophone (even if they do not traditionally have saxophone parts) or the ladies’ night. Come to think of it, I haven’t seen the ladies’ night, but I trust that it is amazing, because it is advertised on the biggest, reddest sign in town. And also because everything here is miraculous. My drinking companion and I downed $2 happy-hour wells and watched Florida Gulf Coast University beat the University of Florida until exactly the moment we left. AARON MESH.
Happy hour: $2 wells, $1.75 drafts, $1.50 PBR and Old German tall boys 3-6 pm daily; $3 Jim Beam and Coke all day every day.
Entertainment: Live music, Pac-12 games, dance nights, karaoke with live saxophone, finding God.
639 SE Morrison St., 232-5553. 4 pm-2:30 am daily.
Visiting the Star Bar isn’t as much a social event as an anthropological one. Alice Cooper and Gene Simmons ogle you from framed prints as you order at the bar, and if you’re not dressed in black leather and chains, there’s a good chance you’ll feel a little out of place. But after a few minutes, you realize that the bar has comfortable couches, dozens of hilarious black velvet paintings, a decent food and cocktail menu, and moneyed refugees from Dig a Pony monopolizing the photo booth. Star Bar remains true to the spirit of the authentically gritty dive in only one important way: Every time the bathroom door opens, it pervades the bar with an acidic urine stench strong enough to make a construction worker gag. Sit as far away from the back as you can. ADRIENNE SO.
Happy hour: $3 wells, $3 micros, $1.50 PBR pints, $5 house wine 4-8 pm daily.
Entertainment: Live music, outdoor seating, juke, pinball, photo booth.
2703 NE Alberta St., 284-4491, albertasubstation.com. 4 pm-2 am Monday-Friday, 4 pm-2 am Saturday-Sunday.
Housed in the 80-year-old brown stucco building previously occupied by Thai restaurant Siam Society, the sports pub Station takes its name from the original tenant, the Northwestern Electric Co., which operated a power station in that spot in the 1930s. So it’s basically a McMenamins-style repurposing job, helmed by Circa 33’s Josh Johnston and Jim Hall. A large, arched doorway leads into a room outfitted with cathedral windows, a massive projection screen and a mirrored bar whose top shelf must be accessed by ladder. It’s like they shoved an upscale man cave inside an old community playhouse. As incongruous as the mix of faded industrialism and nouveau-westside chic comes across, though, it makes for an appealingly strange atmosphere to watch a Ducks game. And there’s little quibbling with the cocktail menu, in particular the Knee Jerk ($7), a thick, sweet rum drink blending honey syrup, lemon juice and egg whites and dusted with just enough cayenne to leave a pleasant burn. MATTHEW SINGER.
Happy hour: Food specials, $2 tall boys, $4 draft, $5 wine, $2 off cocktails 4-7 pm daily, all day Monday.
Entertainment: Sports, man. On the TVs. Timbers, Blazers, etc.
Suki’s Bar & Grill
2401 SW 4th Ave., 226-1181, sukisbargrill.com. 7 am-2:30 am daily.
As one beloved dive after another falls to condo developments and reclamation projects rendering unrecognizable all former charms—keep Portland weird, the current ethos reads, but never unclean—it’s some small miracle that Suki’s Bar & Grill has remained resolutely unreconstructed. Something beyond ambiance draws the motley assemblage of daytime patrons (adventurous PSU students, yellow-eyed office cubicle refugees, guests of an adjoining motel primarily chosen for proximity to VA and OHSU hospitals) to pass through the throng of Oregon Lottery regulars and approach the surprisingly spacious lounge for serviceable food, passingly stiff drinks and a thriving karaoke scene. While devoted fans may credit the mayhem cultivated by KJ Dick, there’s a freedom afforded by bars that allow the full plunge. JAY HORTON.
Happy hour: $3 micros, wine and wells, $2-$4 food 4-8 pm daily.
Entertainment: TV, karaoke, video poker, pool.
3326 SE Belmont St. 4 pm-2 am Monday-Friday, 12 pm-2 am Saturday-Sunday.
The Sweet Hereafter is, in its own way, an afterlife for the old-school bar. It has no phone and no website, but this is less low-tech apathy than a post-everything abnegation of the world. The food is likewise post-meat and post-dairy (post-gluten should be next), and the garage-doored patio—at least the part that isn’t a strange gravel pit best suited for a backyard tofurky grill—is emphatically post-smoking. But it’s not a eulogy we’re writing, because the bar is indeed lively. Because of its pedigree as an offshoot of Bye And Bye, it has garnered an inexplicable reputation as a hipster bar that is nonetheless not borne out by the clientele. The place is downright homey and crowded with personable people who have actual jobs until, suddenly, it isn’t: At about 11 pm any night but Saturday, the happily crowded bar collectively checks its watch and drinks up. It’s kind of amazing. Also, “vegan bar” or no, no one I know intentionally eats food here. (Portland, it seems, is post-vegan.) MATTHEW KORFHAGE
Happy hour: $1 off entrees, taps, wine and wells 4-7 pm daily.
1932 NE Broadway, 288-3333, swiftloungepdx.com. 4 pm-2 am daily.
Yeah, they put a bird on it. Yawn. But that doesn’t stop the Swift Lounge from being a downright pleasant place for a liquor-fueled lark. It’s famous for Mason-jar concoctions in super-happy-fun (for now) “Fatty” 32-ounce jars ($8) or “I’m not going to barf later” 16-ounce “Sissy” jars ($6). Some of the drinks skew too sweet, but the Stoned Finch, a combo of cucumber-infused vodka, basil, mint, cucumber and elderflower syrup hits the right note without being saccharine. Throw in a happy-hour special of fondue fries ($4) and a bowl of kimchi and brown rice ($2) and pray for a table outside on the sidewalk. ANDREA DAMEWOOD.
Happy hour: “Jolly hour” food menu and drink discounts 4-8 pm Monday-Saturday, all day Sunday.
Entertainment: DJs, pinball, Jenga, sidewalk tables.
The Tannery Bar
5425 E Burnside St., 236-3610. 5 pm-1 am Monday-Saturday.
The bar’s tiny room consists of a one-plank bar, a pair of communal tables and a chocolate Lab half asleep near the record players as if music were a warm fire. But the seeming simplicity is deceptive; the Tannery’s terrific meat plate is sourced from Portland all the way to Iowa, while a 4-inch-thick ham-Gruyere Monte Cristo ($12) looks like a porn version of French toast. The house drinks are just as decadent, with a $9 Suisse-sour deepening Cherry Heering and citrus juices with bitters and herbal Fernet Vallet. The bar also stocks dry, oaky ciders and keeps a sour beer perennially on tap. Still, the Gasthaus architecture and spare wood framing gives the bar a self-contained, Teutonic distance. You don’t feel at home there so much as you feel like you’ve been treated to unexpected hospitality in an obscure land, somewhere high in the mountains of Tabor. MATTHEW KORFHAGE.
Happy hour: Rotating specials 5-7 pm nightly.
Entertainment: DJs, playing with the dog.
8029 SE Stark St., 477-6030, tanukipdx.com. 5-10 pm (or later) Tuesday-Saturday.
Tanuki is a strange little world. Known for its food but appointed as a bar, chef-owner Janis Martin’s Montavilla izakaya is a dim, nearly unmarked space frequented mostly by a small, self-selecting group of adventurous eaters and service-industry pros. This will be doubly so now that Tanuki is starkly limiting food seating to maintain its licensing status as a sake joint. Still, it has maybe the most distinctive (and maybe the most vegetarian-unfriendly) bar food in the city, with Japanese-Korean-inflected small plates and ingredient combinations that often defy easy categorization, alongside similarly singular drinks—in particular the Dejima ($7), a mixture of gin, St. Germain elderflower liqueur, rhubarb bitters and cucumber served ice cold in a cedar masu (square, wooden drinking cup). MATTHEW KORFHAGE.
Happy hour: Huge array of cheap-ass food or drink 5-6 pm nightly.
Entertainment: Japanese tentacle porn, horrorsploitation, twisted children’s fare, pinball.
1465 NE Prescott St., 288-5534, tigabar.com. 5 pm-1 am Monday-Saturday.
At the crest of the Alameda Ridge sits Portland’s indie-rock garden party, its semi-famous denizens undiminished by age, mortgages or the various infused gins they’ve ingested. There are, I suppose, cracks in the beautiful-loser façade of Tiga, mostly the product of its tiny footprint. The DJ turntable is located one elbow’s length away from the bar, and sensitive nonsmokers will never be able to escape the sensation that Joe Camel is parked outside the open garage door. But no whining in Eden, please. As with so much of the new Portland, no one is ever going to notice that this is merely an extra-wide sidewalk, some ashtrays and some artfully scattered rocks: It is heaven because we are here. AARON MESH.
Happy hour: $1 off drafts and wells, $1 off house cocktails, food specials 5-8 pm nightly.
Entertainment: DJs, patio.
3940 N Mississippi Ave., 281-8248, uchusushi.com. Noon-10 pm Monday-Thursday, noon-11 pm Friday-Saturday, noon-9 pm Sunday.
Though very much the next step in the Mississippi neighborhood’s relentless gentrification, Uchu maintains some of that neighborhood’s art-damaged edge, as opposed to the wholesale bourgeoisie of the flower-in-tundra Williams-Vancouver restaurant colony: Uchu’s décor balances a sleek, airy wood design with two massive aquariums stocked with vibrantly colored tropical fish. And the happy-hour menu is killer. It features sushi rolls and subtly spiced fried chicken wings for $4, along with a selection of $5 cocktails, including the signature Uchu, a cloudy mixture of rum, lime and agave. MATTHEW SINGER.
Happy hour: Many food and drink deals all day Monday-Wednesday, 2-6 pm and 9 pm-close Thursday-Saturday, 2-6 pm Sunday.
Entertainment: Fish tank!
1969 NE 42nd Ave.,922-2012, velocult.com. 10 am-10 pm daily.
I dunno, man, it’s hard to explain. If you ride, you get it. But if you’ve never shown up to work late and dripping, your teeth tingly from some potholed street, you won’t understand. For us 5.8 percenters—Portland’s bike commuters—a place like Velo Cult makes sense. It’s a cavernous bicycle shop with beer on tap, a stage and a makeshift museum. Sitting at the bar fashioned from scrappy wood, admiring the collection of old mountain bikes and drinking a can of Anderson Valley—shit, it’s cool. If you ride, you get why the owners moved this shop up from San Diego. The plan to serve pour-over coffee and tamales makes sense, too. And you’re stoked they held a screening of Smokey and the Bandit director Hal Needham’s 1986 cult classic, Rad, about a kid who skips the SAT for a BMX race. If not, this ain’t your scene. MARTIN CIZMAR.
Entertainment: Watching bike repair, occasional movies and concerts.
Vintage Cocktail Lounge
7907 SE Stark St., 262-0696, vintagepdx.com. 5 pm-close daily.
Montavilla’s Vintage cocktail lounge is a great place to do the whole absinthe thing. On one hand, this upscale cocktail bar—a deep, narrow nook along Stark Street’s canopied sidewalks—has all the appropriate accoutrements, from the fountain to spoon. On the other hand, this dark neighborhood bar is not so fashionable that anyone will look at you cross-eyed for indulging in the pleasant little ritual a few years past the height of the trend. Cocktails stand up to anything on the city side of the volcano, uniformly well made by friendly bartenders and mostly priced between $8 and $12. MARTIN CIZMAR.
Happy hour: $1 off select cocktails, wine, beer 5-7pm.
3120 N Williams Ave., 367-3182, thewaypost.com. 10 am-11 pm Tuesday-Thursday, Sunday; 10 am-midnight Friday-Saturday.
On a recent episode of Portlandia, the Waypost acted as visual shorthand for the kind of establishment that harbors the artistically challenged. That’s unfair, but not wholly inaccurate. At night, the small Boise-Eliot cafe-cum-tavern hosts all manner of events, from poetry readings to fiddle jams to “dinosaur tarot” readings. Draped in thrift-store chic, the place resembles a coffee shop more than a bar and actually acts as such during the day—which, ironically, is the best time to stop in for a cocktail, when there’s no interpretive dance showcase scheduled and you can peacefully enjoy a cucumber-infused vodka cranberry on the patio, naturally situated next to a community garden. MATTHEW SINGER.
Happy hour: $1 off draft, wells, wine, pot pies (!) 4-7 pm daily.
Entertainment: Live music, lectures, karaoke, trivia, pinball.
2225 NE Martin Luther King Jr. Blvd., 284-3366, oxpdx.com. 4-11 pm Tuesday-Sunday.
Waiting is an intrinsic part of Portland life, whether for brunch or ice cream. Either way, it was only a matter of time before local restaurateurs opened spin-off establishments where they can send waiting customers. Pok Pok has Whiskey Soda Lounge, and now Ox has Whey Bar. Originally meant to be a private dining room, the converted storage shed resembles a rustic hospital lobby, with firewood and Edison lamps lining the walls, and serves as a staging area for patrons who have 90 minutes to kill before going H.A.M. on a rib eye. It’s a bit hidden away to stand on its own as a bar, but that doesn’t mean the drinks are an afterthought. There are $9 shots of barrel-aged Fernet, whey cocktails and cocktails named the Dirty Agnes (vodka, dry vermouth, pickle juice) and Devil in a New Dress (tequila, red pepper, orange liqueur, lime, mezcal). Meanwhile, new bar manager Justin Diaz plans to upgrade the bar menu. MATTHEW SINGER.
White Owl Social Club
1305 SE 8th Ave., 236-9672. 3 pm-2:30 am daily.
According to Club propaganda, a $25 fee and pledging your soul to “Ye Olde Serpent of the Bottomless Pit” gets you a membership card and a few drink tokens. No membership is required to stop in for a drink, but a taste for Metallica and local liquor helps. Essentially a large-scale spin-off of the studded and shredded Sizzle Pie late-night pizzeria, the White Owl occupies a large space in industrial inner Southeast. There aren’t any neighbors to disturb, which is good because the music is loud and the crowd favors nicotine and leather. A restaurantlike indoor section, where we got $5 pints and a disappointing salmon burger, has nothing novel to offer. But a massive patio packed with picnic tables, projectors and an old pickup truck hauling a few kegs shows promise come summer. MARTIN CIZMAR.
Happy hour: $5 sandwiches, $2 pints, $1 off wells, food specials 5-7 pm. Food specials 11 pm-1 am.
Entertainment: Patio, live music, karaoke.
The World Famous Kenton Club
2025 N Kilpatrick St., 285-3718, kentonclub.com. 10:30 am-2:30 am daily.
The World Famous Kenton Club bills itself as music, booze and regrets. Our thumping eardrums and hangovers couldn’t agree more. NoPo’s most iconic dive bar—serving up generous pours of liquor and holding live shows most nights of the week—has been around since 1947. Dubbed “world famous” after the bar had a cameo in a 1972 Raquel Welch roller-derby flick, today it’s definitely the go-to spot for the neighborhood. (Parking our car, we saw a twentysomething leave her apartment across the street and plant herself on a bar stool for the rest of the night.) It’s been 66 years, and Kenton Club’s put down roots as a raucous, dark, dirty-in-the-best-way-possible dive—and that shit’s timeless. ANDREA DAMEWOOD.
Happy hour: $3.50 wells and micros, $1.50 PBR 4-6 pm Monday-Friday.
Entertainment: Live music, pool, pinball, darts, trivia, TV, patio.