Drink before, eat after. Take it from a 32-year-old veteran of a couple thousand concerts. Why? First, alcohol is more effective on an empty stomach. Second, a large meal often leaves one groggy. Third, it's always nice to sober up before making your way home.
MusicfestNW, Portland's largest weekend of music, is upon us. That means you're likely to find yourself in an unfamiliar corner of the city, in need of booze and grub.
Downtown: Backspace, Star Theater, Roseland, Dante's, Crystal Ballroom
Drink before: If you're seeing Surfer Blood, the Bronx or Bleeding Rainbow, this probably isn't your first late and soggy night in Old Town. So just consider these reminders about places you know you like. Select fine suds from the digital board at Bailey's Taproom (213 SW Broadway, 295-1004, baileystaproom.com) or get one of Portland's best cocktails at Teardrop Lounge (1015 NW Everett St., 445-8109, teardroplounge.com) or grab a shot, a beer and something spicy at Shanghai Tunnel (211 SW Ankeny St., 220-4001).
Eat after: Chances are you'll easily stumble across a downtown food cart that's open after your show, but if you want to sit for a bit, grab a slice at the westside Sizzle Pie (926 W Burnside St., 234-7437, sizzlepie.com) or a massive burrito at Santeria (703 SW Ankeny St., 956-7624).
Inner East Side: Doug Fir, Branx, Bunk Bar, Holocene, White Owl Social Club
Drink before: Like a pair of thrift-store jeans surrounded by similarly styled designer jeans, B-Side Tavern (632 E Burnside St., 233-3113) is an actual rock bar surrounded by rock-styled bars. Tall boys run a buck or two, the music is loud and the patio is a haze of cigarette smoke.
Eat after: If you can help it, always end your night on the inner east side. Robo Taco (607 SE Morrison St., 232-3707) makes great tacos; the eastside Sizzle Pie (624 E Burnside St., 234-7437, sizzlepie.com) has cheap slices; and you can find a little of everything the drunken mind desires, from wonderfully glop-topped french fries to charred pepperoni pizzas and banana crepes, at the Cartopia pod (Southeast 12th Avenue and Hawthorne Boulevard). If it's raining, or if you need more booze, hit up Montage (301 SE Morrison St., 338-4419, montageportland.com) or My Father's Place (523 SE Grand Ave., 235-5494).
Drink before: If you go to this homey Southeast venue on Wednesday, when Justin Townes Earle plays, or on Thursday, when Mt. Eerie and Bonnie Prince Billy play, you'll love Bushwhacker Cider (1212-D SE Powell Blvd., 445-0577, bushwhackercider.com). Located around the corner from the Aladdin, it has about 200 fermented fruit drinks in bottles, cans and on tap. Those attending Saturday's Helio Sequence show are more likely to enjoy Apex (1216 SE Division St., 273-9227, apexbar.com). (Bring cash for that one.)
Eat after: Portland's best 24-hour eatery, Hotcake House (1002 SE Powell Blvd., 236-7402), is a block west of the Aladdin. If you'd rather just have a cup of coffee, head for the 24-hour Southeast Grind (1223 SE Powell Blvd., 473-8703, portlandgrind.com).
The Old Church
Drink before: If you're headed to see local bands Typhoon or Horse Feathers, you probably know your way around. Rather than the obvious (Rogue Hall, McMenamins' Market Street Pub), why not check out Gnarly Grey (1235 SW Jefferson St., 271-7407, gnarlygrey.com), a year-old pub operated by a pair of Portland State grads.
Eat after: Let's make tonight special. When's the last time you went to Higgins? (1239 SW Broadway, 222-9070, higginsportland.com). It's just a few blocks from the Old Church. The stalwart Portland restaurant's tavern is open until midnight, has a great burger for $14 and a huge selection of beer and wine.
Drink before: There's no shortage of bars on this stretch of Southeast Hawthorne Boulevard, but the place to start your evening is Gold Dust Meridian (3267 SE Hawthorne Blvd., 239-1143, golddustmeridian.com), where happy hour runs until 8 pm. It'll save you only 50 cents per drink, but you won't complain about hanging in this richly adorned and dimly lit room.
Pioneer Courthouse Square
Drink before: If you're headed downtown for Young the Giant or Neko Case, you'll probably like The Jack London Bar (529 SW 4th Ave., 228-7605). It's hidden under the Rialto Pool Room and is known for its history talks and reading series.
Eat after: Most Pioneer Courthouse Square shows are over early enough for dinner anywhere, but Luc Lac Vietnamese Kitchen (835 SW 2nd Ave., 222-0047, luclackitchen.com) will still make you pho at 3:45 am on Friday or Saturday.
Drink before: Try to start your night at Sloan's (36 N Russell St., 287-2262), which keeps the oddest tavern hours in town, closing at 11 pm on Friday and all day Saturday. Or head to Billy Ray's Tavern (2216 NE Martin Luther King Jr. Blvd., 287-7254), which is cash-only but has a nice patio and pingpong.
Eat after: This is a dead zone for late-night food. So just head downstairs for some tacos at Trigger (128 NE Russell St., 327-8234, triggerpdx.com).
Drink before: You could arrive early for a drink at one of Portland's great bars, Bar Bar (3939 N Mississippi Ave., 228-3895, mississippistudios.com/menu), barring a lack of seats at the bar, which is always crowded. Crow Bar (3954 N Mississippi Ave., 280-7099, crowbarpdx.com), across the street, is less crowded and has pool.
Eat after: Mississippi Pizza Pub (3552 N Mississippi Ave., 288-3231, mississippipizza.com) is open until at least midnight and makes the sort of puffy-dough pies you want to soak up a sixer of PBR.
Tickets and official site: musicfestnw.com