125 NW 5th Ave., 503-208-2687.
Part of a chain of bars first launched in Austin, Texas, a decade ago, Barbarella's aesthetic is as delightfully kitschy and low-budget as a bar named after a campy sci-fi cult classic should be. A dance club with dirt-cheap drinks and themed parties, the place should be a sensation, particularly with eastsiders who usually never dare venture into Old Town.
2. Bar Miranda
827 SW 2nd Ave., 971-319-1184, barmirandapdx.com.
Tucked away in the mezzanine of a staid downtown food court, you'd never know there was a tropical retreat amid downtown's World Trade Center office buildings unless you were looking for it. Named after the mid-20th-century Brazilian film star, Bar Miranda injects the loft with its namesake's hip-swaying effervescence. The cocktail list is what you'd expect at a South American resort. During happy hour, a mojito should be in your hand—it is one of the most refreshing in town.
Read the full review: Bar Miranda Is a South American Vacation Hidden in a Downtown Portland Food Court.
3. The Library
3343 SE Hawthorne Blvd., 503- 234-6996.
Head down a rickety back staircase at Growler's Taproom late some weekend night and you'll find a well-curated selection of genre-spanning local artists performing amid academia-themed bric-a-brac. The bar's subterranean music venue is a ramshackle bohemian clubhouse that feels diametrically opposite to the upstairs craft beer emporium. But given the dearth of area venues open to smaller acts of every genre, it wouldn't be surprising to soon find the space operating beyond its current Friday- and Saturday-night schedule.
Read the full review: A Book-Themed Music Venue Is Hiding in the Basement of a Southeast Portland Beer Bar.
4. Studio One Theaters
3945 SE Powell Blvd., 971-271-8142, studioonetheaters.com.
The long-gestating passion project of Cinetopia founder Rudyard Coltman and his wife, Shelly, is a luxe cinema, bar and music venue, not necessarily in that order. Each screening room is a pretend penthouse themed around six of the planet's more enviable urban centers, and the restaurant space serves 50 wine varieties, local beers and bowls of a sublime gourmet popcorn.
Read the full review: Studio One Theaters Is a Luxe Cinema, Bar and Music Venue, Not Necessarily in That Order.
4727 NE Fremont St., 503-288-4520, wonderlypdx.com.
The market for upscale cocktail spots with a casual twist is oversaturated, but Wonderly manages to pull off something fairly special. The design has a mellow West Coast aesthetic, while the drink list flirts with the trend of "classic cocktails plus something extra." The Wonderly old-fashioned blends a trio of well-known whiskeys with rum bitters and orange oil for a smoky, citrusy concoction that's stiff enough to give your sinuses a real wake-up call.
Read the full review: A Fancy Cocktail Bar on Northeast Fremont? Somehow, Wonderly Makes It Work.