1. Alter Ego Cider
2025 SE 7th Ave., 971-229-1445, alteregocider.com.
Cider houses with beer bar sensibilities are on the rise, and the brand-new taproom from Alter Ego is a welcome addition to the scene. Its flagship concoction is the Brut, a semi-dry cider with a palate-tickling sweetness that fades into a sour finish just as the bubbles break. If you're seeking a halfway point between cider and beer, the Snakebite blends the Brut and a bright, clean lager from Level Beer, and the end product is wonderfully crushable on a hot summer day.
Read the full review: Whatever Your Drink of Choice, Alter Ego Cider's New Taphouse Will Make You Feel Welcome.
2. Retro Game Bar
6720 NE Martin Luther King Jr. Blvd., 971-271-8079, rgbpdx.com.
While Ground Kontrol and Quarterworld pry at memories of dropping two months' allowance at the nearest pizza parlor, Portland's newest arcade bar feels like going over to the house of that one friend who somehow had every hot game for every console in existence. Vintage TV sets are spread around the room, equipped with everything from an ancient Atari 2600 to a Sega Dreamcast—there's even a lonely TurboGrafx-16 in one corner.
3. Hi-Top Tavern
5015 NE Fremont St., 503-206-4308, hitoptavern.com.
From the team behind Old Gold, Tough Luck and Paydirt comes Cully's newest—and potentially best—drinking patio. It's a big, tin-and-wood beaut with TV screens and a separate bar. There's a whole menu of drink add-ons, including picklebacks and spicy pineapple juice, along with tall cans that come dusted with special salts, Texas-style. Seems like a perfect summertime hang, so hopefully we'll get that summer weather back soon enough to enjoy it.
4. Scotch Lodge
215 SE 9th Ave., Suite 102, 503-208-2039, scotchlodge.com.
In the subterranean space that formerly housed groundbreaking izakaya Biwa, you can find holy grails like Ardbeg's Airigh Nam Beist, a discontinued Islay single-malt vintage bottling from 1990, alongside entry-level drams and mixed drinks like the Nobody's Poet, a deftly upscale take on the modern rum cocktail.
Read the full review: Scotch Lodge Appeals to a Range of Whisky Aficionados, from Newbies to Fedora Bros.
5. Santé Bar
411 NW Park Ave., 971-404-8216.
This swanky cocktail bar might not look like much from the outside, but its vintage vibe, romantic lighting and fancy drinks are a welcome shift from the standard westside LGBTQ bar experience.
Read the full review: Santé Bar Is a Swanky, Romantic Change of Pace from the Typical Portland Gay Bar Experience.