726 SE Grand Ave., 503-780-0362, lulubarpdx.com.
With its lack of décor, inoffensively punny cocktails and dim first-date mood lighting, Lulu has the feeling of an annex meant to catch peak-hour overflow from neighboring Dig A Pony. But the narrow bar does enough to stand on its own—after all, where else on Grand are you going to get a Flamin' Hot Cheetos torta?
Read the full review: Lulu Goes Understated on Motif, Creative on Cocktails.
2. Five & Dime
6535 SE Foster Road
While you won't find shelves stocked with cheap talcum powder and undergarments, the new bar along the Foster-Powell corridor reflects the prices and spirit of a 20th-century trinket emporium. The room intermingles sophistication with subversion, mixing jade shelving stocked with leather-bound books with a neon ombré portrait of Rasheed Wallace, while the cocktails—some themed after the Neil Gaiman book American Gods—also balance tradition and irreverence.
3. Great Notion
2450 NW 28th Ave., 971-279-2183, greatnotionpdx.com.
The sister location to its tiny Northeast Alberta Street brewpub, Great Notion's newer, bigger space looks like a modern art museum from the outside. The shimmering wooden barroom is a beer-fueled echo chamber, and the beer is louder than the crowd. Bright purple sour ales, hazy yellow IPAs and jet-black imperial stouts flow from 24 taps, while massively decadent dessert stouts like Moon Pie assault the senses, fists finding all id and no ego.
Read the full review: Great Notion's Long-Awaited New Brewpub Appeals to the Id in Every Beer Drinker.
4. Assembly Brewing
6112 SE Foster Road, 971-888-5973, assemblybrewingco.com
It was a winter of bleak news for the craft beer community, filled with closure after closure, but the launch of the much-anticipated Assembly Brewing is reason to celebrate. Expect approachable styles, including IPAs, an amber and a stout, as well as ABVs that won't knock you off your barstool—plus what might be the most authentic Detroit-style pizza in town.
125 NW 5th Ave., 503-208-2687
Part of a chain of bars that first launched in Austin, Texas, a decade ago, Barbarella has an aesthetic 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.
Read the full review: Dance Club Barbarella Brings a Much-Needed Sense of Kitsch to Old Town.