1. The Vern
2622 SE Belmont St.
The latest preservation project from Warren Boothby and Marcus Archambeault is Hanigan's Tavern, better known to Portland barflies as the Vern. As they did with Sandy Hut a few years ago, the city's pre-eminent dive-bar whisperers scrubbed the carpet, opened some windows and doubled down on the wood-paneled rumpus room vibe, all without disinfecting the room's grimy soul.
Read the full review: The Former Owners of Club 21 Revive Classic Southeast Portland Dive Bar the Vern.
2. Five & Dime
6535 SE Foster Rd.
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 Neil Gaiman's American Gods—also balance tradition and irreverence.
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
125 NW 5th Ave., 503-208-2687
Part of a chain of bars that 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.
Read the full review: Dance Club Barbarella Brings a Much-Needed Sense of Kitsch to Old Town.
5. 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.