M Bar

417 NW 21st Ave., 228-6614. 6 pm-2:30 am daily.

It's tough out there on Northwest 21st Avenue these days, what with the roving packs of suburban high-school athletes and celebrant Timbers fans, the high-pitched dissatisfied screeches of women wearing heels they've barely mastered. But M Bar, long a bastion of the simple and good in wine and beer and conversation, has a couple aces in its pinstripe-wallpapered hole in the wall. It's too small to bring in a group larger than four—too small also to be loud without noticing how loud you are—and the owner-bartender suffers fools gladly (thanks!), but never assholes. And so M Bar, a 12-by-12 box of two beer taps and a smattering of wine, remains a solitary but enduring flame in an ever-darkening desert full of people, a last charming refuge for conviviality at the base of a hill full of knobs. It is, as they say, appreciated. MATTHEW KORFHAGE.

Happy hour: 6-8 pm daily. $3 off wine, $1 off imperial pints.