19 SW 2nd Ave., 503-477-8637, bartryst.com. 4 pm-midnight Tuesday, 4 pm-2 am Wednesday-Saturday, 4 pm-midnight Sunday. Happy hour 4-7 pm daily: $1 off drafts, wine, wells and house cocktails; food specials.
Established: March 2016
Among the perilously few Old Town establishments to celebrate the neighborhood's storied history, framed photographs and neon signage hung inside Tryst acknowledge the bar's former incarnations as a Japanese barbershop and rock club Berbati's Pan. The interior design limbs deco luxury with a subdued elegance, while the drink list enlivens the classics with wit and approachability. A refreshing, none-too-sweet cherry whiskey sour (Old Crow, cherry juice, lemon, and egg whites served up; $8) imagines a starter Manhattan midway between malt shop and gin mill. Tryst's "Asian soul food" menu specializes in excellent Eastern-themed comforts alongside downtown's best burger—a $12 marvel served with hoisin aioli, Sichuan pickles, and furikake-seasoned fries that's $7 at happy hour and only $5 on Wednesdays. Hidden in plain sight between donut-scented tourist traps and the nightlife district, Tryst's haute vintage aesthetic blithely wards off area bro packs, instead catering to fitful regulars drawn by the food and DJs, travelers seeking an enlightened oasis, and couples hoping to fulfill the bar's titular promise.