1. Hoxton Basement Bar

15 NW 4th Ave., 503-770-0500, thehoxton.com.

Located behind a door with a sign that reads, "Knock knock knock," the Basement Bar at the new Hoxton Hotel is a diminutive cocktail lounge that could easily pass as an after-hours industry hang in Lower Manhattan. Skip fruity drinks like the mai tai or the whiskey sour and opt for the expertise of the bar staff, which included a Multnomah Whiskey Library alum.

(Sage Brown)
(Sage Brown)

2. 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.

3. Binks

2715 NE Alberta St., 503-493-4430, binksbar.com.

Baby, it's getting gosh-dang cold outside, but this underrated Alberta neighborhood gathering spot has many ways to keep you warm, from its two fireplaces—one inside, one out on the enclosed patio—to the surprisingly good selection of bar pizza to the revitalizing, cayenne-dusted hot toddy.

(Justin Katigbak)
(Justin Katigbak)

4. 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. At this waiting room for Pearl Italian spot Piazza Italia, the 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.

5. 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, 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.