2724 NE Pacific St., 503-233-3655, paydirtbar.com.
For those looking for a serious whiskey collection without overly serious vibes, Paydirt delivers. There's more than enough whiskey in this laid-back, industrial room in the Zipper building—bourbon, scotch, Japanese and Irish. Paydirt also pours Fernet Branca on tap, and is generally bustling with thirsty youth.
2. Pope House
2075 NW Glisan St., 503-222-1056, popehouselounge.com.
After dark, this stunning, moody Victorian home to a multilevel bar morphs into a Prohibition-era house party. Well-crafted cocktails run $10 to $14 unless you slide into the forgiving happy hour from 4 to 7 pm. You can even rent out the bottom level for a private event.
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.
4. The Whiskey Club
818 SW 1st Ave., 503-894-9059, whiskeyclubpdx.com.
The gimmick is obvious: It's "the strip club with a ton of whiskey." Playing up its pseudo-speakeasy vibe with a lack of explicit signage out front about the kind of business you're entering, the dancers also don't hard-sell stage tips or private dances. There's even a skylight above the VIP couches.
5. The Cavern
4601 SE Hawthorne Blvd., 503-889-0943, thecavernpdx.com.
An old rocker bar that's dignified, cozy and just a wee bit punk, the Cavern is an unpretentious locale ideal for a Dante's or Lovecraft regular wanting to enjoy some peace without the quiet. The whiskey list is divided neatly by region, and includes rare Japanese offerings alongside domestics.