1. Bar Rione

810 NW 12th Ave., 503-954-1014

Bar Rione turned a concrete box once occupied by a convenience store into a sophisticated cocktail party. Operating as the waiting room for Pearl Italian spot Piazza Italia, its décor is comparatively subdued, but that just makes the more modern features—like a teal braided chandelier that spreads across the ceiling canopy style—pop.

(Christine Dong)
(Christine Dong)

2. Bantam Tavern

922 NW 21st Ave., 503-274-9032.

Northwest 21st has no shortage of lowbrow boozers and upper-middle-class dining establishments. But there's little occupying the middle ground. For that reason, bargoers should be thoroughly grateful for Bantam Tavern. Recently opened by the owners of Prost, Stammtisch and Interurban, the diminutive space will immediately feel just right for anyone who's developed an allergy to the Nob Hill weekend meat market.

(Henry Cromett)
(Henry Cromett)

3. Rose City Book Pub

1329 NE Fremont St., 503-287-4801, rosecitybookpub.com.

It has all the makings of a Portland cliché: craft brews, staged poetry readings, rows of old and obscure books. But don't be deterred by appearances. The simple bar manages to fuse two of the city's trademarks—beer and used books—without a drop of pretension.

(Sage Brown)
(Sage Brown)

4. Botanist

1300 NW Lovejoy St., 971-533-8084, botanistbarpdx.com

At this sleek subterranean gin bar, veteran mixologist Robbie Wilson is spreading the joys of juniper berries to bargoers west of the Willamette. For those who know little of the details that distinguish one type of gin from another, the list of about a dozen $13 cocktails serves as a safe point of entry. As basic as it is, the Botanist G&T should be the go-to for anyone who's familiar with the timeless pleasure of a simple gin drink.

(Justin Katigbak)
(Justin Katigbak)

5. Benedictine Brewery

400 Humpert Lane NE, Mount Angel, 503-845-3030.

The monks at Mount Angel Abbey have been brewing beer for years, but they've only recently opened their own taproom. You won't find TV or even music there, leading to a profound appreciation of the complex ripple of flavors made possible by a strain of Belgian yeast. The approachable helles, both bready and effervescent, should be an instant crowd pleaser.