3520 N Williams Ave., 503-477-7689, beercheesesouppdx.wix.com/tinbucketpdx. Noon-10 pm Sunday-Thursday, noon-11 pm Friday-Saturday.
Established: May 2013
At the bottom of the glass-walled canyons of North Williams Avenue you'll find this elite taproom and growler-fill station—the rare bottle shop that looks like a bottle shop, but which we nonetheless stop into every single time we roll by, for a cheeky pint at the tables. We judged it the best tap list in the city on a crawl of every top-level beer bar in town. The secret weapon is beer buyer Jim Bonomo, formerly at Beermongers, plus the built-in advantage of 36 dedicated beer taps (and four more to boot). The large lineup means he can keep something like Arch Rock Brewing's much-awarded Gold Beach Lager on tap most of the time ("we have to remind ourselves often of the benefits of beer-flavored beer," Bonomo says). We kept ordering tasters, and we kept wanting more tasters—a lager from El Segundo, a coffee beer from Breakside, a hazy beer from Block 15, Founders' barrel-aged cherry beer, and an imperial Bière de Garde from the Lost Abbey. It felt like Christmas morning, one of our tasters said. Nothing else topped it.
Bar story: Those proprietary pressurized growler filling nozzles that look like super-Space Age stasis chambers? They used to be Tin Bucket's main selling point, but now they're just glorified bottle display cases. Go figure.