1. The Lovecraft

421 SE Grand Ave., thelovecraftbar.com.

Every night is Halloween at the Lovecraft. Windowless and cavernous, it's a place where dark souls gather together and sulk alone while New Wave, post-punk and industrial music throbs and minimalist lighting penetrates the dense fog. A backlash against its namesake's unsavory values was inevitable, but the owners have done their part to assure patrons it's a place that respects inclusivity above all else.

Wedgehead. IMAGE: Aaron Lee.
Wedgehead. IMAGE: Aaron Lee.

2. Wedgehead

3728 NE Sandy Blvd., 503-477-7637, wedgeheadpdx.com.

Portland's newest pinball paradise replaced legendary punk hang the Know, but the warm nostalgia of the room carries its legacy well. The layout is roomy and easy to navigate, but the X factor is the kitchen, which serves a no-nonsense menu filled with shareables like wings, a killer plate of underpriced nachos, and big, sloppy burgers like the Dangerfield ($12).

(Abby Gordon)
(Abby Gordon)

3. Psychic Bar

3560 N Mississippi Ave., 503-206-5343, psychicbarpdx.com.

Housed inside a converted Victorian home, the psychic-themed bar is the creation of three film and TV vets. The dark walls are adorned with a supernatural motif, and the restroom has surreal illusion mirrors. Crucially, though, the bar does not place theme before comfort—it doesn't take a clairvoyant to imagine it eventually becoming a popular neighborhood haunt.

(Henry Cromett)
(Henry Cromett)

4. Creepy's

627 SE Morrison St., 503-889-0185, creepys.business.site.

Despite a gallery of sad-clown paintings and an animatronic eyeball in a vise, Creepy's isn't actually creepy. It's less horror house than self-consciously quirky sideshow—a design-happy display case of dolls, deer heads and big-eyed kitsch, presided over by a giant painting of John Quincy Adams with moving eyes. Still, if you're looking to shift into spooky-ooky Halloween mode, it'll certainly do.

(Rick Vodicka)
(Rick Vodicka)

5. High Score

617 SE Morrison St., 503-206-6586, high-score-arcade.business.site.

Occupying a shoebox-sized space two doors down from the owners' other venture, gringo taqueria Robo Taco, High Score feels less like an arcade bar than a pinball-geek man-cave that's open to the public. It's the sort of place you dip into to kill an hour and end up perched at the Flash Gordon cabinet a little longer than anticipated.