1020 NW 17th Ave., 503-943-2780, paymasterlounge.com. 2 pm-2:30 am daily. Happy hour 2-6 pm daily: $1.50 Hamm's, $1 off drafts, $4 Sauza.
Established: July 1, 2011 (as Moonshine Kitchen)
The name is easy enough to understand. In a past life, the sky-blue Slabtown building that now houses Paymaster Lounge sold check-writing machines, and no one bothered to take down the sign after it changed hands. So, voilà—free name! But why, pray tell, is the mascot a pissing cartoon cat with porn-star genitals? Well, funny story: "Paymaster" wasn't the bar owners' first choice. In another life, the bar was called Moonshine, and swiped its logo from a brand of cheap, turn-of-the-century hooch. A cease-and-desist letter from a similarly named bar in Austin forced a name change—the Texans were also unsatisfied by the compromise of "Balls the Cat's Moonshine Lounge"—but the disturbingly well-endowed feline remains, forever urinating atop the draft list on the chalkboard overlooking the bar. Despite the odd jumble of history contained in its walls, there's nothing particularly irreverent about Paymaster itself.
With its emphasis on craft beers and slushy summer drinks, and a tin-roof patio that's among the best in Slabtown, Paymaster is far too pleasant to live up to its unseemly signifiers. But that's OK. Nice patios are rarer than cheeky dives in this part of town, anyway. The only halfway transgressive accoutrement is the vending machine in the back, which dispenses "sexy sleepover kits," home drug tests, stamped envelopes pre-addressed to Donald Trump and paper bags containing your true "spirit animal." Paymaster, of course, already knows theirs. And it's got big, gross balls.
Bar story: A couple years back, a rowdy, drunk patron—or attempted patron—of the bar got into his car and either got confused or just straight tried to drive it into the bar's back porch. Nobody was hurt, but the patio fence was pretty screwed up.