3702 SE Hawthorne Blvd., 236-9234, mcmenamins.com/BackStage. 5 pm-1:30 am Monday-Thursday, 5 pm-2:30 am Friday, noon-2:30 am Saturday, noon-1:30 am Sunday.
The best of the McMenamins bars is the one you probably haven’t been to. Sure, Al’s Den has the little shows hidden beneath an old gambler’s hotel, and Kennedy School brings the sheer debauched chaos, but Backstage—behind the movie screen of the Bagdad, with an entrance on 37th Avenue—has a sense of tarnished grandeur that none of the bros’ other rehabs quite approach. The place looks like the view from Tom Waits’ rear fire escape, with brick walls that climb to a ceiling so high you get vertigo, three-story Oriental-style rugs, signs from the circus and from North Portland’s old Jockey Club, and a massive chandelier that descends on a two-story chain to light up the pool tables and the long, long shuffleboard. It seems forgotten, and it is. But it is beautiful. MATTHEW KORFHAGE.
Happy hour: 3-6 pm and 10 pm-midnight (drinks), 10 pm-close (food). $3.75 wells and house brews, $6 wine, $2-6 food menu.
Entertainment: Three pool tables (all free!), long-table shuffleboard, movies and TV projected on a huge screen.