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April 9th, 2014 WW Staff | Bar Guide
 

Bar Guide 2014: Southeast Bars

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4*4*2

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.

An unfussy, chummily efficient, welcoming-but-not-altogether-warm tavern kept aloft through the fitful patronage of solitary legions trending educated and transplant, 4*4*2 feels in most important respects indistinguishable from the Hideaway, the Vern or a dozen other Southeast watering holes inclined toward furious contemplation and beseeching stares. Admittedly, when everyone’s watching soccer, this seems less creepy. Our first sport bar (note the lack of plural), 4*4*2 bartenders/matchmakers pluck video feeds of the beautiful game from a dizzying array of leagues across the globe for those expats and ex-emigres sustaining far-flung fandom. Indeed, the owner’s Bosnian club jersey counts among the countless flags and kits blanketing the walls. JAY HORTON.

Happy hour: 3-6 pm Monday-Friday except during Timbers games. $2 PBR, $2.50 Tecate, $3 wells.

Entertainment: Televised soccer.


Aalto Lounge

3356 SE Belmont St., 235-6041, aaltolounge.com. 5 pm-2:30 am Monday-Thursday, 4 pm-2:30 am Friday-Sunday.

The most cosmopolitan bar east of 12th Street? Perhaps it’s Aalto Lounge, especially before the sloppy late night crew arrives. This Belmont gem is well-loved for its outrageous happy hour ($2 cocktails, $2 grilled cheese, $10 bottles of wine) but it’s even better around, say, 9 pm on a Friday. At that time you can slouch into the clean-lined Scandinavian modernist furniture (the bar is named for a $5,000 Finnish chair) as a lady DJ spins early hip-hop wax pressed in Queens or Brooklyn while sipping something from a killer lineup of stiff $8 cocktails that heavily favor gin and rye. MARTIN CIZMAR.

Happy hour: Open-7 pm daily. $2 cocktails, $2 food specials, $10 bottles of wine, buckets of beer. 


Apex

1216 SE Division St., 273-9227, apexbar.com. 11:30-2:30 am daily. 

Apex is a cash-only beer bar with a mile-long draft list to fuel a patio packed with flirting 20-somethings, and a lead bartender who answers to “the sheriff” and often plays the part. Actually, all of the bartenders sort of play that role. It’s a surly place, they don’t serve food and it’s not cheap. But you’ll end up here anyway. In a city where “beer-geek bar” is often an excuse to throw all notion of amenities to the wind, Apex boasts probably the best summertime, sun-drenched patio of the bunch. All that and an insane number of taps from all over the country and world; in local-centric Portland beer culture, Apex is willing to mail it in. MATTHEW KORFHAGE.

Happy hour: HA HA HA HA HA HA. No.


B-Side

632 E Burnside St., 233-3113. 4 pm-2:30 am daily.

The B-side’s “bar menu” is stickered white microwave topped with a porcelain poodle and framed by airbrushed artwork, metal show posters and purchasable panties advertising “I like it in the B-Side.” The bar has ambitions as a metal dive—a sign warns “Employees must carve Slayer into arms before returning to work”—but a Public Enemy comp sits across from High on Fire’s Blessed Black Wings in the wall-mounted jukebox. The drippy but warm back patio is a welcome spot to enjoy a beer year-round, and with taps from the likes of Elysian, Amnesia and GoodLife often under $5, there’ll be enough change to continue crawling Burnside. MITCH LILLIE. 

Crappy hour: 4-7 pm daily. $1 Hamm’s, Rainier and Tecate tallboys.  

Entertainment: Rolling Stones pinball, a jukebox and cigarettes. Lots of cigarettes.


Backstage

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.


Base Camp 

930 SE Oak St., 477-7479, basecampbrewingco.com. Noon-9pm Sunday-Wednesday, 11 am-midnight Thursday-Saturday.

Base Camp Brewing fits right in with neighbors like Next Adventure, Portland Rock Gym, Rack Attack, and Andy and Bax. A rock-climbing video is projected onto one wall, and the others are adorned with photographs fit for Outside magazine. Cute touches like carabiner coat hangers and s’more roasting kits ($3.50) balance out hanging kegs of water suspended by climbing ropes. It’s not all rugged, though: An iPad system allows you to order loaded shawarma fries from Gonzo food cart outside. Food is delivered to your table, so you can leave your puffy coat on the carabiners. If you do go outside, sit at one of four tables by the fire and put that s’more kit to use. Or opt for the S’more Stout, served with a toasted marshmallow on the rim. LYLA ROWEN.

Happy hour: All day Monday, 3-6 pm Tuesday-Friday, open-3 pm Saturday-Sunday. $1 off pints.


Bazi Bierbrasserie

1522 SE 32nd Ave., 234-8888, bazipdx.com. 3-11 pm Sunday-Thursday, 3 pm-1 am Friday-Saturday. 

Belgophiles know Bazi, though it’s slightly hidden off Hawthorne Boulevard, as our foremost bastion of Trappist ales, stoemp and frites. Owner Hilda Stevens opened this nook in 2011 to offer a tightly curated collection of beers, but Bazi isn’t priggish, so you’ll also find a few Northwest IPAs on tap, not to mention beer cocktails and genever cocktails with “sexy cubes,” as well as a very pleasant chutney burger with bacon, peanut butter and onion marmalade. MARTIN CIZMAR.

Happy hour: 3-7 pm and 10-close Monday-Saturday, all day Sunday. Cheap food, $1 off select drinks.


Beer

1410 SE Stark St., 233-2337, 11 am-11 pm daily.

Meat, Cheese, Bread—Beer. So it goes. John Stewart’s succinctly named beer and wine bar next to his hallowed sandwich shop is at first glance a beer snob’s parlor, but on closer acquaintance reveals itself as more of a neighborhood bar, a place where noobs don’t have to feel intimidated by daunting tasting vocabulary and turned-up noses. It’s also a to-go bar, with specials on mixed 4- and 6-packs. But if you care to stay it doesn’t get rowdy, so you can take your time tasting the large beer collection, from a German spruced traditional gose to a porter that tastes like chocolate milk. Be sure to visit the restroom, which is lined with retro wood plaques printed with unicorns, kitties and Elvis. Ask to see the backup plaques too; people keep stealing the ones from the restroom. AARON SPENCER.


Belmont Station

4500 SE Stark St., 232-8538, belmont-station.com. Bottle shop: 10 am-10 pm Monday-Saturday, noon-9 pm Sunday. Biercafe: Noon-11 pm Monday-Saturday, noon-10 pm Sunday. 

Kind of like Mary Tyler Moore to Dick Van Dyke, Belmont Station is a now wholly independent spin-off of the legendary Horse Brass Pub. All that remains of the one-time association is a name that just ends up confusing first-time visitors: It should really be called Stark Station by now. Regardless, the little bar is always cramped with some of the city’s most avid beer hounds for good reason. It’s priced reasonably and the staff there maintains its baseline among the 20 taps but has some seriously esoteric taste, from experimentally aged barleywines to foraged-yeast beers. And that’s not even counting the 1,200 bottles. Plus, the back patio is always pleasant (till 10 pm.) MATTHEW KORFHAGE.

Entertainment: Patio. Reading beer descriptions.


Bushwhacker

1212-D SE Powell Blvd., 445-0577, bushwhackercider.com. Noon-11 pm Sunday-Thursday, noon-midnight Friday-Saturday.

Today, the idea of opening a cider-only bar seems almost old hat, thanks to the recent boom in craft versions of the apple-based libation. But when Bushwhacker opened in the Brooklyn neighborhood in 2010, it was the country’s only cider pub. That mission hasn’t muddied: There are now eight ciders and not a single beer on tap, and the coolers hold hundreds of bottled ciders from around the world. It’s an unassuming and homey place, with dartboards on one wall and a mural on the other, and a golden-tinged painting of two girls in an orchard that looks like it belongs in a children’s book. Get the $7 taster tray—which will net you five samples from candy-sweet to toe-curlingly tart. REBECCA JACOBSON.

Happy hour: 2-4 pm Tuesday and Thursday, $1 off drafts.


Cascade Barrel House

939 SE Belmont St., 265-8603, cascadebrewingbarrelhouse.com. Noon-10 pm Sunday-Monday, noon-11 pm Tuesday-Thursday, noon-midnight Friday-Saturday.

Cascade Brewing may have lost a view—those Belmont goats trucked off to Lents—but the airy front patio and homey room still boasts a crazy selection of sour and innovative beers among its tap offerings, from a cherry kriek to their Oregon Pinot-drenched Sang Noir to the almost always on-tap Oblique Black and White Coffee Stout, one of the most vividly coffee-tasting beers in existence and one of our top beers of 2012. The food menu is usually some combination of meaty, spicy and pickled, which is to say it’s perfect for beer. Go on a Tap It Tuesday and they’ll uncork something special. MATTHEW KORFHAGE.


Cheese Bar

6031 SE Belmont St., 222-6014, cheese-bar.com, 11 am-11 pm Tuesday-Sunday, closed Monday.

Just as the cheese comes before the bar in its name, the Cheese Bar considers itself first and foremost a cut-to-order retail cheese counter and artisan deli. This, however, also makes it nearly the ideal drinking establishment because, as anyone drunk or sober can attest, cheese is delicious. Thus combining a beautifully curated selection of beers and wines with a cheese shop is Nobel-worthy brilliance. And it’s not unusual to find the mastermind himself, cheesemonger Steve Jones, serving you personally, so feel free to fire away with questions about the perfect cheesy accompaniment for your Orval Trappist Ale or the ideal beverage to balance your soft-ripened Camembert. With a rotating selection of more than 200 cheeses, 50 bottled beers and 30 wines, good luck walking away without the world’s most awesome, lactose-induced hangover. PENELOPE BASS.

Entertainment: Cheese. 


Claudia’s

3006 SE Hawthorne Blvd., 232-1744, claudiaspub.com. 11 am-midnight Sunday-Thursday, 11 am-1 am Friday-Saturday.

You know that old baseball glove you spent a summer breaking in way back when? That scrap of buttery soft leather you still dig out for a game of catch? That’s Claudia’s, more or less. Here, you’ll find it makes sense to drink Miller High Life and join the mob in rooting against the Lakers. This 56-year-old sports bar boasts throne-style bar stools that look more comfortable than they are, doughy pizzas and a host of TVs on its east side. Peer through the gaps in the back bar and you’ll witness heated poker games on the west side of the building, no doubt part of the reason the bar remains popular, and things there stay just as they are. MARTIN CIZMAR.

Happy hour: 4-7 pm daily. Specials vary.

Entertainment: Sports, pool.


Conquistador

2045 SE Belmont St., 232-3227. 4 pm-2:30 am daily.

The Conquistador is sister bar to the Matador, the longtime hall of degeneracy across the river. It maintains its ties to old-guard rocker Portland and legions of off-shift service industry drinkers, but the little things have been upgraded: empanadas and arepas, not tater tots. Long-table shuffleboard, not Pop-A-Shot. Cocktails with elderberry, rather than breakfast sausage in a whiskey. There is dignity, perhaps, to the Spanish black-velvet portraits hung on the walls. The bar’s condo neighbors happily own happy hour, but at night the DJ decks come out, the deep soul cuts play and the smoking patio fills to capacity until 2 am. A touch of strangeness, though? A weird-ass post-druggie bachelor den that seems to scare everyone away unless it’s their birthday, when such things feel OK again. MATTHEW KORFHAGE.

Happy hour: 4-7 pm daily. $2 PBR, $3 micros, $3.25 wells, $4.50 house wine, $5.25 margaritas, $2-$5 food menu.

Entertainment: Free jukebox, DJs, shuffleboard, pinball, pool, patio.


Devils Point

5305 SE Foster Road, 774-4513,devilspoint.net. 11 am-2:30 am daily.

There are plenty of “rock-’n’-roll strip clubs” in Portland, but only Devils Point doubles as rock fantasy camp. At stripparaoke, held every Sunday, patrons can live like Vince Neil, singing “Girls Girls Girls” while dancers writhe around them, just like in the video. (And the best part is, when the song’s over, you can go back to not being Vince Neil.) The rest of the week, this popular Foster-Powell dive plays up its greaser bona fides, with deep-red lighting, a framed Bettie Page poster, Nick Cave and Link Wray on the house speakers and a roster of Suicide Girls-next-door hanging off both the pole and the two thick chains that look lifted from a fishing barge. MATTHEW SINGER.

Happy hour: 4-7 pm daily. $2.50 wells, food specials, beer discounts.

Entertainment: Live dancing, karaoke.


Dig a Pony

736 SE Grand Ave., 971-279-4409, digaponyportland.com. 4 pm-2 am daily.

Giving Rontoms a run for its money as the neighborhood’s go-to spot for good-looking dudes in designer skinny jeans vying for the attention of vintage dress-clad beauties, you’d be forgiven for mistaking the Beatles-referencing Dig a Pony for a trendy bar in the Silver Lake neighborhood of LA. That is, until you see that most Portland of bar oddities: The single-file line, jutting all the way back to the wall as people wait for a drink, despite the fact that there’s a gigantic fucking horseshoe bar in the middle of the dimly lit, shabby-chic space. There will be two or three bartenders working, but only one actually taking orders, so skip the perfectly fine Manhattan ($8) and double-fist PBRs. It’ll help you avoid that line…. But hey, if the point of hanging at DAP is to catch somebody’s eye, maybe it’s best to line up like a well-coiffed bull. AP KRYZA.

Happy hour: 5-7 pm daily. $3 wells, brews and food specials.

Entertainment: DJs. 


Double Dragon

1235 SE Division St., 230-8340, doubledragonpdx.com. 11:30 am-10 pm Sunday-Thursday, 11:30 am-midnight Friday, 11:30 am-2 am Saturday. 

In its first incarnation as a bougie banh mi shop, Double Dragon had its fans. I was not one of them. But Double Dragon’s boozy reboot has bettered the place. They’ve kept the stylish branding on the walls, but moved the counter to make room for a long bar that serves an outstanding warm toddy called the Gold Soundz—which has lemongrass and an absinthe rinse—plus a variety of special alcoholic punches. The loungey space hosts Baby Ketten karaoke and geek trivia. The chicken chorizo banh mi is no rival for Binh Minh or An Xuyen, but it’s not an affront to the form, and an expanded menu of soups includes a coconut curry ramen. But you shouldn’t eat here when you’re feeling picky, or when too much sunlight streams through the massive windows facing Division Street. To my mind, this is a bar now. It has the same vibe as the old Dragon, but far more utility. MARTIN CIZMAR.

Happy hour: 3-6 pm weekdays and 10 pm-midnight daily. Various specials including a $10 pint-and-burger.


Gold Dust Meridian

3267 SE Hawthorne Blvd., 239-1143, golddustmeridian.com. 2 pm-2:30 am daily.

Since its inception a few years back, the Gold Dust has quietly held up its end as a utility bar for a seemingly endless array of social contingents—from happy-hour account managers to late-night dandies who stop in for a friend’s DJ set. The lighting is appropriately dim, the booths are deep enough for privacy, the rear patio is something of a local treasure—unless you ask the persnickety neighbors—the food menu is a step above regular bar fare and includes reliable shellfish dishes, and the beer taps lately pour the Commons Farmhouse Ale. It is a useful bar, and it is a good bar. And if you’re not a fiend for Belgian beer (in which case go to Bazi), it’s the best bar on Hawthorne. MATTHEW KORFHAGE.

Happy hour: 2-8 pm daily. Food specials, 50 cents off drafts and wells, $1 off wine.


The Goodfoot

2845 SE Stark, 239-9292, thegoodfoot.com, 5 pm-2:30 am daily

The Goodfoot is a kitchen-sink kind of bar in all the best ways possible. Upstairs, it’s a chill neighborhood pub, where curated rock- and movie-based art changes on a daily basis, amateurs participate in weekly drink-and-draw sessions while sipping on craft pints from the rotating tap, and pool sharks and pinball wizards provide the ball-clacking soundtrack that sometimes drowns out the hippie music on the PA. Downstairs, meanwhile, is a low-ceilinged venue that could be mistaken for an underground jazz club if the musicians didn’t skew jam and funk. Every Friday the downstairs lounge hosts one of the city’s best soul dance parties. You might call the Goodfoot schizophrenic, but all the personalities commingle into one of the neighborhood’s essential bars. AP KRYZA. 

Happy hour: 5-9 pm daily. Food specials, $2 PBR, $1 off cocktails and $2 off pitchers. 

Entertainment: TV, pinball, pool, jukebox, live music, trivia, art.


The High Dive

1406 SE 12th Ave., 384-2285, 4 pm-2:30 am daily. 

The word “dive” is a little misleading in this dimly lit little box of a bar. The psychedelic, movie-inspired art is far too classy, the ambiance is far too welcoming and the staff far too nice for the 2-year-old bar to be an actual dive. They certainly give it a go, serving up chili dogs and other microwavables alongside Jell-O shots on the giant Southeast 12th-facing patio, where you can ditch Frito pie for goods from the nearby carts or adjoining Que Pasa Cantina. But no actual dive would serve up quality cocktails like the Nutty Squirrel ($7) with Bulleit, pomegranate molasses and walnut liqueur. High Dive’s not a dive. It’s just a bar. Nothing more, and nothing less. And a damn fine one at that. AP KRYZA.

Happy hour: 4-7 pm daily. Food specials, $1 Jell-O shots, $3 wells & micros, $4 house wine.

Entertainment: Blazers, TV, live music. 


Holocene

1001 SE Morrison St., 239-7639, holocene.org. 8:30 pm-late Wednesday-Thursday and Saturday, 5 pm-late Friday, hours vary Sunday-Tuesday.

As far as clubs go, Holocene is the incumbent champion, if only recently so. Cult Chicago DJs, the raucous meat market of Booty Bassment and local indie folksters have all shared the sprawling eastside warehouse space in its decade of existence. A seasonal cocktail program is anchored by the evergreen—and well-balanced—Ginger Rogers and cucumber-happy Town and Country gin and tonic (both $7). Beyond cocktails and rotating slush specials, bottled beer and wine options abound by the dozen. The best time for casual sipping is the weekly Friday happy hour, where the lighting is up and the DJs down. For a spot that exudes medical-grade cool, the service and staff are welcoming and speedy, even on the steamiest club nights. MITCH LILLIE. 

Happy hour: 5-8 pm Friday. Food and drink specials vary—think kale and Hungarian sausage. 

Entertainment: Hip DJs and bands of all stripes perform nightly.


The Horse Brass

4534 SE Belmont St., 232-2202, horsebrass.com. 11 am-2:30 am daily.

If you want some sense of Horse Brass’ stature within the local beer scene, consider how it handled Pliny The Younger. While Russian River Brewing’s other favored accounts were determining how to best leverage their keg of the highly sought beer, the Brass brass simply tapped it on a random Thursday night without fanfare. There was no limit to how many 4-ounce pours you could you could buy and no hullabaloo when the keg finally blew just before 8 pm. Across the dimly lit Brit-styled pub, you could see table after table look up from their plates of crispy fried halibut and chunky chips sopped in brown sauce, to learn the news, suffer a moment of disappointment and then contentedly order something else from deep lists spread over two pages of water-pocked paper menu. MARTIN CIZMAR.


(NEW!) Imperial Bottle Shop & Taproom

3090 SE Division St., 971-302-6899, imperialbottleshop.com. Noon-10 pm Sunday-Thursday, Noon-midnight Friday-Saturday.

Imperial Bottle Shop & Taproom is the first place I’ve seen use a grocery store-style Wine Well bottle chiller . That’s good, because this concrete-roofed bunker on Southeast Division Street needs innovation to stand out in the neighborhood’s very beery blocks. Imperial’s digital beer board, jazz soundtrack, heavy wood seating and tables, and IPA-heavy tap list are all familiar at Portland beer bars. Less familiar, though, are Imperial’s wide windows, ability to fill 16-ounce bottles from tap lines that employ a homebrewer’s narrow, carbonation-saving wands and a bartender who’ll answer questions by researching what he doesn’t already know on the iPad/cash register. I’m not sure how many new beer bars Portland needs, but it always needs new ideas, and Imperial has a few. MARTIN CIZMAR.


Lion’s Eye

5919 SE 82nd Ave., 774-1468, facebook.com/lionseyetavern. Noon-2:30 am daily.

The older sister to our bar of the year runner-up, Eagle Eye, this homey pub would be more at home in the industrial inner east side than in the wilds of deep-south Mt. Scott. There’s still a bit of the grit from before owner Erin Wagner took over this spacious 82nd Avenue pub after previous tenant Becken’s Winning Hand Tavern was busted selling drugs inside the bar. It’s still the kind of place where the men’s room urinal might be marked out of service with a trash bag and duct tape, but it also has a soup of the day and a serious drink program. MARTIN CIZMAR.

Happy hour: 3-7 pm, daily. $4 premium wells, $3.50 craft pints, $2.50 domestics, $3 food specials.


The Lovecraft

421 SE Grand Ave., 971-270-7760, thelovecraftbar.com. 8 pm-2 am Sunday-Thursday, 4 pm-2 am Friday-Saturday.

In any meaningful way, the D.H. Lawrence-named Lovecraft is no more a goth bar than its nearest neighbors East End and My Father’s Place are actually a pub and an elder-care center. Ignore the Cthulhu artwork and the occasional stage gig—the children of the night…what awful music they make sometimes—and ignore any worries about the dress code. Lingering genre associations initially attracted a few local tastemaker DJs to fuel dance nights (while the lingering goth stigma prevents douchier elements from overcrowding), but Lovecraft’s sorta success boils down to experienced staff, cleverly spaced interiors and the importance of consistent mediocrity within a nightlife realm that ordinarily booms and then busts. Turns out, there’s nothing quite so useful as a club that’s always undead. JAY HORTON.

Happy hour: 8-10 pm Sunday-Thursday, 4-8 pm Friday-Saturday.

Entertainment: Live music, DJ sets, films, tarot readings.


Lutz Tavern

4639 SE Woodstock Blvd., 774-0353. 11 am-2:30 am daily.

The Lutz claims to have reclaimed Pabst Blue Ribbon for the modern Portland youth. It’s a dubious claim—I credit Dennis Hopper in Blue Velvet—but it is true that for decades this old-school, diner-countered, deep-boothed drinking hole managed to serve Reedies, old rockers and rank-and-file preservers of the AFL-CIO to equal satisfaction. And PBR’s a union beer, served to young and old alike ($2 tall boys, thanks). Even the bartenders were traditionally split among old and new: one for you, one for me, like a Steven Soderbergh film resume. The bar’s been upgraded in recent years, but this mostly just mean’s the diner-style food’s edible and there’s no pay phone. But if you hang around past 11 pm on a Friday, the wild union boys of Woodstock again arrive to reclaim the place, smokin’, hootin’, hollerin’, who cares? It’s the Lutz. MATTHEW KORFHAGE.

Happy hour: 4-6 pm and 11 pm-2 am daily. Food specials.

Entertainment: Pool, Metallica pinball, patio.


(NEW!) The Nest

2715 SE Belmont St., 764-9023. 3 pm-2:30 am Monday-Friday, 2 pm-2:30 am Saturday-Sunday.

Alberta Street party dive The Nest, which was destroyed in a fire last year (the sole evacuee was a cat, which firefighters treated with oxygen), inspired virulent loyalty among its regulars—enough so that they followed the bar south to its brand-new location in a multistory Buckman house. Most of the DNA’s intact, if rearranged: the same boudoir paintings in the bar, the same sun-and-moon mural on the patio. A ping-pong table stands in a garagelike rec-room space, while a pool table is tucked into an upstairs bachelor-pad den that seems made for hanky-panky. Man in Black-cover band Counterfeit Cash once again plays first Fridays and the drinks are still cheap and stiff and basic. Many Northeast Portland regulars have moved or branched out to Southeast, and they trickle two-by-two through the door. Consider it a punk-rock family reunion in a little cabin in the wilds of Belmont. MATTHEW KORFHAGE.

Happy hour: 3-7 pm daily. $3.50 micros, $2.50 wells.

Entertainment: Pool, pingpong, patio, Blazer games, Johnny Cash covers.


(NEW!) Oso Market and Bar

726 SE Grand Ave., 232-6400, osomarket.com. 11am - 10 pm Tuesday-Thursday, 11 am-11 pm Friday-Saturday, 11 am-7 pm Sunday. 

Just down the road from Hawks PDX sex club and My Father’s Place, Oso Market and Bar joins Enso, Clay Pigeon and Sauvage wine bars at the frontier of gentrification. But unlike those locally focused wine haunts, former House Spirits distiller Colin Howard takes his bottle bar on a discriminating tour of old Europe, and the well-selected beer case sports both Commons and VanderGhinste. The bar’s train-car space is a brightly lit, neutral-toned version of upmarket Portland—right down to the ubiquitous interior light-bulby “OSO” sign. Its market shelves are packed with three brands of local salumi, high-end vermouths and raw-milk cheese, and the menu runs from boquerones to the occasional 3-for-$5 oyster deals. The crowd toggles among North Facers, middle-aged doctors and the smarter end of the party set—whoever’s got good taste in drinks, I guess. MATTHEW KORFHAGE.

Happy hour: 4-6 pm Tuesday-Saturday. $1 off drafts, bottle-beer specials, $2 off wine, food specials.


Pix Patisserie/Bar Vivant

2225 E Burnside St., 971-271-7166, pixpatisserie.myshopify.com. 2 pm-2 am Friday-Saturday, 2 pm-midnight Sunday-Thursday

When Portland’s macaron doyenne Cheryl Wakerhauser installed Bar Vivant during a 2012 consolidation of Pix Patisserie on a dry stretch of lowish East Burnside, the ensuing Spanish tapas/French pastry border wars only further drew attention from a spacious lounge area hidden toward the rear of the whimsically renovated former daycare. While a bigger room for more small plates necessarily surrendered Pix’ past-date-night atmospherics, the benign neglect and sheer space of the bar encourages a considerably more diverse clientele: proto-bros bending an elbow on the circular bar’s seamier side (beer, sans ice-cream-float pairing), golden girls drinking their way through the wine cellar, a steady stream of confectionery shoppers. All are equally at home, though some may have wished the Foreigner medley at slightly lower volume. JAY HORTON.

Happy hour: 2-4 pm and midnight-2 am daily. Wine discounts, oyster special, $1 off cocktails, free tapas with each drink.

Entertainment: Pétanque court. Patio. 


Reel M’ Inn

2430 SE Division St., 231-3880. 10 am-2:30 am Monday-Saturday, 10 am-1 am Sunday.

The graffiti-strewn interiors of Reel M’Inn don’t seem like where you’d find your lunch. But nonetheless. Recently name-checked by Nashville celebrity chef Sean Brock of Husk as inspiration, the downmarket neighborhood pub’s no-frills technique enables the bartender on duty to plop lightly spiced, freshly breaded poultry into precisely heated oil behind the bar for ginormous servings bursting with flavor. A single breast ($3.50) or leg and thigh ($1.75; $3) should be all the chicken any man ever needs, and the three-piece meal ($7.75) allows plentiful space to daub a half-dozen sauces upon meats white and dark, though tread softly with the accompanying jojos lest ye carb-load for the season. JAY HORTON.

Happy hour: “We’re amazingly cheap all the time,” their bartender told us.

Entertainment: Pool, sports TV, jukebox.


(NEW!) The Richmond Bar

3203 SE Division St., 208-3075, therichmondbar.com. 4 pm-2 am daily.

The Richmond Bar has honed the refined, unshowy comforts now expected of a Portland bar—a model bar co-owner Nate Tilden helped create at Clyde Common. The Richmond’s drinks skew to the sweetly medicinal, especially in the herbal Sassafras ($10), named after the dominant note in the Root spirit mixed with tequila, mezcal and Cynar; it’s like sarsaparilla with some heat in the nose. The beer list is deep with offerings from Oregon and Europe, the wine is refreshingly far flung, the crowd is a dead-even mix of creative class and service industry, and the food is upscale-casual, from beef tongue pasty ($7) to double-digit burger. The cozy, tasteful little bar does absolutely nothing wrong—except, perhaps, do nothing wrong. MATTHEW KORFHAGE.

Happy hour: 4-6 pm daily. $1 off everything.


Rontoms

600 E Burnside St., 236-4536, rontoms.net, 3 pm-2:30am daily.

Upon immigrating to Portland, you’ll inevitably cruise by the corner of East Burnside Street and 6th Avenue on a Sunday night and wonder why the sidewalk is choked with the city’s young, broke and fabulous. Rontoms’ Sunday Sessions are an essential addition to the bucket list of any young Portlander. A glorious outdoor patio exists to provide respite from the interior congestion that makes ordering a Saphira (ginger vodka, lemon juice, cayenne, $9) a bad idea unless you’re keen on slurping it off the midcentury modern chaise lounge you’re likely to spill it on. An evening at Rontoms is as any night on the town should be—a high-fashion, low-concept communion of those who prefer to see and be seen. PETE COTTELL.

Happy hour: 3-6:30 pm daily. $1 off wells and drafts. 

Entertainment: Free live music Sundays at 9 pm.


Roscoe’s

8105 SE Stark St., 255-0049, facebook.com/Roscoespdx. 11-2:30 am Monday-Friday, noon-2:30 am Saturday-Sunday.

True story: A contributor to this very publication once deemed Roscoe’s “scary.” While this Montavilla faux dive’s rugged exterior scares off suburban mooks, inside it’s now a warm den of wood and brew. Look for sampler flights, tap takeovers and special tastings on the last Friday of the month. Also look for sushi delivery, from the neighboring Miyamoto Sushi, to pair with Roscoe’s homegrown Southern fare. Because why not? MARTIN CIZMAR.

Happy hour: 2-6, food specials, $1 off wells.


Sassy’s

927 SE Morrison St., 231-1606, sassysbar.com. 10:30-2:30 am daily.

Sassy’s is like a party where everyone got invited: drunken art-school kids stumbling over from Yale Union, a ruddy-cheeked Canadian rugby team, a gaggle of bachelorettes. Heck, a member of Macklemore’s entourage recently forgot a Macklemore LLC credit card out on its sidewalk. The always-packed, pink-tinged palace of comfortable decadence caters to all by emphasizing show-womanship over more direct appeals to sex. It’s assumed you’re just there to, you know, hang out—smoking on the back patio, eating the best strip-club steak in town (suck it, Acropolis!), drinking from a 30-tap bar. I’ve seen a bride go to Sassy’s right after her wedding, just because she liked it so much. MATTHEW KORFHAGE.

Happy hour: 10:30 am-7 pm. $2.50 craft pints. Hooo!

Entertainment: Dancers, video poker.


Sauvage

537 SE Ash St., No. 102, 971-258-5829, sauvagepdx.com. 5-10 pm Tuesday-Thursday, 5-11 pm Friday-Saturday.

Sauvage, Buckman’s little French bistro and wine bar, offers 50 wines by the glass. A few of those are made in the back room. Under the Fausse Piste label (which means “wrong track” in French), Sauvage makes a handful of Rhone styles including viognier, roussanne and syrah. In one corner, stuffed waterfowl perch on a stack of barrels. In another is the door to the barrel room. There’s a bar to sit at if you’re drinking and not dining. A flight of three Fausse Piste wines in generous 2.5-ounce pours is $14. The best from our round was the 2011 “Vegetable and Lamb” pinot noir. MARTIN CIZMAR.


Savoy Tavern

2500 SE Clinton St., 808-9999, savoypdx.com. 4 pm-midnight or later daily.

Savoy’s catchphrase, “Midwest-inspired American food,” is a little confusing. Isn’t the Midwest still part of America? And yet it makes a little more sense once you’ve made your selections from the “bill of fare” (known as a “menu” in the Midwest). This cozy tavern next to Broder is very much a coastal man’s idea about what people eat and drink in snowy flatlands between the Appalachians and Rockies. It’s not wrong, exactly. Midwesterners do like sweet brandy old-fashioneds ($8) and hot toddies made with clover honey. And they do like fried things (cheese curds, chicken wings, cod) or cheesy things (cheese curds, beer cheese soup). They also like soft chairs, friendly servers, a little live music and the odd DJ set from R.E.M.’s Peter Buck under the watchful eye of a mounted buck’s head. MARTIN CIZMAR.

Happy hour: 4-6 pm and 10 pm-close daily. $4 tap beers, $1 off cocktails, $8 burger and fries, other food specials.


Slow Bar

533 SE Grand Ave., 230-7767, slowbar.net. 11:30-2:30 am daily.

With its exposed bricks and minimalist setup, Slow Bar might be mistaken for a quiet locals spot on New York’s Lower East Side…that is, until you see the cocktail list that includes a fantastic Manhattan for a mere $6. This is a no-nonsense bar through and through, with a laid-back staff that’s happy to eschew the cocktail menu for something tailored to you and mixed up with mixologist care by a tatted barkeep who couldn’t give a shit about designer bitters. Pair it with the bar’s world-famous burger, a half-pound, onion ring-topped beauty that now has its own restaurant in the form of Slow Burger. Somehow, though, it doesn’t taste as good outside Slow Bar. AP KRYZA.

Happy hour: 3-6 pm Monday-Friday, midnight-2:30 am Sunday-Thursday. $1 off drinks, $2-$5.50 bar food.

Entertainment: TV, jukebox.


Southeast Wine Collective

2425 SE 35th Place, 208-2061, sewinecollective.com. 4-10 pm Wednesday-Friday, 1-10 pm Saturday, 1-8 pm Sunday.

Southeast Wine Collective is a solution to a problem. It’s expensive to get wine equipment together for small-batch wines. So they brought umpteen wineries together under the same roof to press their grapes, including Division Winemaking Co., Helioterra Wines and Vincent Wine Co. The wineries get use of the gear and can sell their wares out of the tasting room just off restaurant-heavy Southeast Division Street. Inside the dimly lit tasting room that doubles as a giant bottle rack, there are $2 tasters, $7 glasses and $23 bottles from member wineries plus an $8 flight of tap wines and a $10 flight with pours from Crowley, Bow & Arrow, Vincent and Teutonic (the revolving-door roster changes frequently). Even the deviled eggs ($6) come as a flight. MARTIN CIZMAR.


Star Bar

639 SE Morrison St., 232-5553, star-bar-rocks.com, 4pm-2:30am daily.

If it weren’t for the fierce competition among tots-and-tall boy joints in Southeast Portland, Star Bar would have never had to hone its craft this tightly to pack in the metal bros and Rod-Stewart-haired children of Johnny Thunders. The tap selection is liberal, the whiskey is cheap, and the sliders are a steal at $2 during happy hour. But the cliques of leather-clad Sabbath worshippers and the ’70s rockers who take the bar’s name as a totem aren’t really here for cheap drinks. As a clique of Tony Iommi look-alikes spill out of a misty Club Wagon across the street on a recent Metal Monday, it’s revealed that cheap drinks are secondary to the communal vibe of getting plastered while Thin Lizzy is cranked to 11. PETE COTTELL.

Happy hour: 4 pm-8 pm daily. $3 wells, $3 micros, $1.50 PBR pints, $5 house wine.

Entertainment: Metal Monday, pinball, live music a few times a month.


Sweet Hereafter

3326 SE Belmont St., hereafterpdx.com. 4 pm-2 am Monday-Thursday, 2 pm-2 am Friday, noon-2 am Saturday and Sunday.

Sweet Hereafter feels something like sitting in a cigar box. It’s a dark, warm and cramped wooden box where the things crowded up against you smell like tobacco. And yet there’s something warm and fuzzy about this quietly vegan tavern, which attracts both a loyal neighborhood crowd and a large contingent of vegetable-based visitors with designs on tofu bowls and a massive boozed-up Arnold Palmer served in a Mason jar. The large, enclosed patio has enough picnic tables to accommodate opposing softball squads and their supporters, but that woody interior is the place you want to be. MARTIN CIZMAR.

Happy hour: 4-7 pm daily. $1 off select draft beer, house wine and well cocktails; food specials.


Union Jack’s

938 E Burnside St., 236-1125, unionjacksclub.com. 2:30 pm-2:30 am daily. $5 cover on Friday and Saturday.

Union Jack’s little rock-’n’-roll strip club operates at the exact center of the Portland strip-bar continuum: It’s both a dedicated moneymaker and casual hangout, suggestively seamy but still very comfortable for the sort of women who strongly prefer whiskey to wine. Regulars sit at front booths or the bar, talking to old friends who dance there, while couples and lone wolves pony immediately at the racks of the two stages; the couches by the DJ booth remain neutral territory, occupied only a bit nervously. Bruce Springsteen, when he stopped here over a decade ago, sat in the back and refused all advances. But the back smoking patio is more a low-key outdoor dive bar: Dancers and day drinkers shoot shit on mostly equal terms in the relative calm of the concrete porch before re-entering the carnal fray. MATTHEW KORFHAGE.


Victory Bar

3652 SE Division St., 236-8755, thevictorybar.com. 5 pm-close daily.

In last year’s Bar Guide, Victory was named our Bar of the Year. We still like it a lot, but this dim den of yellowed newsprint and scuffed oak has changed, too. It’s still an excellent pub—great cocktails, solid tap list, rich and cheesy spaetzle—though the vibe has changed since table service was discontinued. Now, you settle into a table then go up to order a drink, then back to order another. Everything’s pleasant, but Victory no longer allows those uninterrupted hours-long conversations that made us treasure it above all others. “Really, it’s hard to know what makes a 6-year-old bar—or any bar, really—suddenly hit its elusive sweet spot,” Matthew Korfhage wrote last year. True enough, but we now know waitresses are of significant help. MARTIN CIZMAR.

Happy hour: 5-7 pm and 11pm-midnight daily. $3.75 drink and snack specials.


Whiskey Soda Lounge

3131 SE Division St., 232-0102, whiskeysodalounge.com. 4 pm-midnight Sunday-Thursday, 4 pm-1 am Friday and Saturday.

Whiskey Soda Lounge exists primarily to stash away Pok Pok pilgrims awaiting their table at Andy Ricker’s Thai landmark across the street. Show up after the restaurants on Division Street start closing, though, and you’ll find it’s a more than serviceable pub on its own. The server will instinctively steer you toward grub (“we’re about to start our late-night menu—pad Thai!”), but it’s easy enough to brush that off and settle into the Thai bloody mary, which is spicy, though not nearly as spicy as advertised, or one of the many offerings made with the house drinking vinegar. MARTIN CIZMAR.

 
  • Currently 3.5/5 Stars.
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