1. Blind Ox Taphouse
4765 NE Fremont St., 503-841-5092, blindoxpdx.com. Noon-9 pm Monday-Thursday, noon-10 pm Friday, 10 am-10 pm Saturday, 10 am-9 pm Sunday.
Portland's Beaumont-Wilshire neighborhood is home to a micro version of the ever-popular food hall. Divvying up the building means that Blind Ox has a unique array of painkillers almost anyone could appreciate following a tense year. Need to lick your way into a sweet, blissful oblivion? There's whipped-to-order ice cream blasted with liquid nitrogen. Want to spend the afternoon knocked out on the couch? One of Nacheaux's fried-and-smothered odes to both Mexican and Cajun cooking will induce a nap. And if you simply need a beer to take the edge off, there is also a well-curated, 20-deep tap list.
2. Known Associates Social Club
615 SE Alder St., Suite B, 971-334-4997. 5-11 pm Wednesday-Sunday.
As spring arrives and herd immunity no longer seems like a far-off dream, it's time for an energy cleanse. Known Associates Social Club, a new bar, restaurant and, someday, music venue across from Loyal Legion on Southeast Alder, has got your chakras covered. The Excommunicado is a take on an old fashioned via Central America, which comes with a stick of fragrant palo santo to burn and "infuse" into the drink. It's not just a gimmick: The sweet pine flavor really does stay and heighten the spirits.
3. Bit House Collective
727 SE Grand Ave., 503-954-3913, bithousesaloon.com. 4-11 pm Tuesday-Saturday, 2-9 pm Sunday.
Pandan is the little leaf that could. At the new Bit House Collective, the tropical Southeast Asian flavoring is being stirred into the inventive cocktails by Natasha Mesa, formerly of acclaimed cocktail bar Deadshot. When ordering takeaway, go with Mesa's twist on an old fashioned: the Padam, Pandan, Pandan O.F. ($11), a stiff little elixir in a square bottle with cork top. Mixed with vodka, bourbon, blueberry, galangal root and bitters, the green of the pandan is beaten out by the violet blueberry, but the flavor is still very much there.
4. Hammer & Stitch
2377 NW Wilson St., 971-254-8982, hsbrew.co. Noon-6 pm Wednesday-Thursday and Sunday, noon-8 pm Friday-Saturday.
A visit to the Hammer & Stitch taproom will remind you of an earlier era of craft beer, when breweries often popped up on the industrial fringes, and tracking them down felt like a scavenger hunt. The brewery's motto is "Keep it simple, stupid," but "simple" does not equate with dull. The lager stands out for its bracing minimalism—each straw-yellow sip is light and crisp, and offers a quick burst of bubbles.
960 SE 11th Ave., 503-235-0059, kachkapdx.com. Market 9 am-6 pm daily, restaurant 5-8 pm daily.
If you've finished all of your pandemic jigsaw puzzles, Kachka's Baba Sima Tonic is a drink that's also an activity. First, you pour the brandy into a heatproof vessel. Then, balance a spoon across the top, put down the sugar cube, and hit it with the rum, while also spilling some into the glass. Break out your lighter and—settle down, Beavis—FIRE! FIRE! The blue flame dances high above the spoon, caramelizing the sugar. If we get another winter storm, or you've somehow managed to catch a cold despite all the mask-wearing, it's definitely what you want.