1. Voysey

615 SE Alder St.

The latest venture from ChefStable is nominally hidden—like the classic Manhattan cocktail bars of yore—in the basement of Loyal Legion. There are six coveted bar seats at which to watch bartending duo Jamie King and Katie Stipe work, but room for dozens more spread out across low group tables, cuddle nooks, curvy couches and antique tables, all framed by drippy burgundy curtain drapery and tall free-standing lamps.

Les Caves. IMAGE: Thomas Teal.
Les Caves. IMAGE: Thomas Teal.

2. Les Caves

1719 NE Alberta St., 503-206-6852, lescavespdx.com.

On any given evening, this subterranean wine cellar is filled with vino newbies and industry types jostling to order Golden Cluster's Ode to Chuck or Salem-area vineyard Johan's Druskall. Ten years ago, a wine bar like this wouldn't have succeeded in Portland—now it's one of the hottest venues in town.

(Rocky Burnside)
(Rocky Burnside)

3. Scotch Lodge

215 SE 9th Ave., Suite 102, 503-208-2039, scotchlodge.com.

Self-described as a "whisky bar with a scotch problem," the Lodge has rejuvenated the semi-subterranean space formerly occupied by Biwa with fresh-faced swank. Highbrow cocktails crafted by some of the most interesting artisans in the bar scene are served in elegant glassware and complemented by a modern French menu from St. Jack chef Aaron Barnett and Tim Artale.

(Thomas Teal)
(Thomas Teal)

4. Expatriate

5424 NE 30th Ave., 503-867-5309, expatriatepdx.com.

At this casual, candlelit bar, the food is as poetic as the literary excerpts paired with each cocktail. Everything is crafted with a borderless touch, like the umeshu plum liqueur in the Cheap Trick—a Manhattan-esque whiskey- and angostura bitters-based drink.

Emily Joan Greene
Emily Joan Greene

5. Pépé le Moko

407 SW 10th Ave., 503-546-8537, pepelemokopdx.com.

From the front door, you'd have no idea that past the oysters on ice in the kitcheonette, down the narrow staircase, and through the thick curtains below lies a mutedly chic underground cocktail bar. The menu is about well-executed classics: a Woodford Reserve old fashioned, the red- and white-striped paper straw in the grasshopper milkshake (crème de menthe, Fernet Branca, cacao and Jacobsen's sea salt), and artisanal corn nuts that accompany each order.