Our Favorite Portland Patios for Dates

Where to get intimate.

Someday Someday. IMAGE: Brian Burk. (Brian Burk)

Angel Face

14 NE 28th Ave., 503-239-3804, angelfaceportland.com. 4-10 pm Sunday-Thursday, 4-11 pm Friday-Saturday.

Angel Face may be the only bar whose capacity has increased during COVID. The once standing-room-only custom cocktail joint had previously crammed patrons around a U-shaped bar. Now, in concert with the other establishments on Northeast 28th, it’s built a shelter over the street parking spots that covers four wooden tables. The roof of the structure is clear corrugated plastic, allowing the sun to stream in. Most critically, the list of spirits, wines and snacks hasn’t taken a hit. It’s as comprehensive as ever, and includes options from neighboring small-plates joint Navarre, making it an ideal spot for couples. ELIZA ROTHSTEIN.

Features: Heated, Dog-Friendly, Covered.

Backyard Social

1914 N Killingsworth St., 503-719-4316, backyardsocialpdx.com. 5 pm-close Monday-Saturday.

Name don’t lie: Counting its previous incarnation as the Hop & Vine, Backyard Social has been one of Portland’s signature outdoor spots for well over a decade, and its verdant, could-be-in-a-neighbor’s-garden charm is unchanged in the age of temporary tents and mobile menus. On a recent visit, every other table was a couple or small party enjoying fingerling potatoes with malt vinegar aioli and bacon-wrapped dates and cocktails of the low- and zero-proof variety. But Backyard Social is also a real restaurant—what you’d call a brasserie, if you don’t want to use the term “gastropub.” There’s duck leg confit, a roasted butternut squash pupusa that’s both vegan and gluten-free, and a perfect tavern-style burger with pork belly confit and American cheese that comes off a mesquite charcoal grill you can see and smell right from your outdoor table. It’s all so chill and homey that in non-pandemic times, you might accidentally offer to help flip the meat. JASON COHEN.

Features: Covered, Heated.

Bar Casa Vale

215 SE 9th Ave., 503-477-9081, barcasavale.com. 4-9 pm Wednesday-Sunday.

A night at Bar Casa Vale has always felt like taking a mini-vacation, and that’s even more true as the pandemic has kept us all homebound. Inspired by the wood-fired tapas bars of Basque country, the cozy, brick-lined bar feels equally luxe and laid back. It already had a fire pit-dotted patio, and last fall, the Buckman neighborhood spot expanded its outdoor dining space with greenhouselike dining pods. You’ll want a reservation, since the indoor space is closed for the foreseeable future and walk-in capacity is limited. Even though it’s much less communal, the sectioned-off seating still feels plenty festive, thanks to the parade of seasonal, smoky small plates you’ll end up ordering. Plus, it’s hard not to have fun when you can order sherry-spiked cocktails, an array of refreshing gin and tonics, and sangria by the pitcher. SHANNON GORMLEY.

Features: Covered, Heated


910 NW 14th Ave., 971-533-8064, botanisthouse.com. 4-10 pm Wednesday-Thursday, 10 am-2 pm and 4-10:30 pm Friday-Saturday, 10 am-2 pm Sunday.

When Botanist’s original subterranean location appeared too cramped to safely host customers during the pandemic, its owners moved the operation up and out across the elevated courtyard to the prime real estate once occupied by the perennially disappointing On Deck Sports Bar. That space is now cloaked in a white tent, which gives the appearance that Botanist is either shielding a beer festival from the elements or hosting a pop-up Cirque du Soleil performance. Inside, you’ll find a hodgepodge of furniture—everything from sleek black chairs to a wooden six-piece dining set that looks swiped from Grandma’s house. Everything is spaced farther apart than the recommended 6 feet: After all, this is “Portland’s largest patio,” at least according to the sandwich board out front. Beyond the string lights, there’s little to admire in this white void. But as the weather improves, the sides of the tent will come down, providing prettier views—and, frankly, better air circulation. Until then, look for brightness in Botanist’s lineup of mixed drinks, like the Triple G Mule that’s an unusual shade of pink thanks to the bar’s own pinot noir grenadine, and a tingly lemon concoction called the Bees Knees, which tastes like a Sprite spiked with honey. ANDI PREWITT.

Features: Covered, Heated, Good for Large Groups, Dog Friendly.

Circa 33

3348 SE Belmont St., 503-477-7682, circa33.com. 4-11 pm Wednesday-Saturday.

Circa 33 was always known for its cozy, throwback-speakeasy vibe, and in the COVID era it’s extended that energy to an alleyway-turned-outdoor seating area. Briefly, the area was its own pop-up, Gin Alley, and a sign still hangs over the door. But now that indoor dining has reopened, Circa 33 has claimed both spaces as its own. Overhead heating keeps the tables toasty, and there’s not much better than munching on duck cracklings with nine spice dipping sauce and nursing an expertly executed Boulevardier while peering out at the passersby on Belmont. ANDREA DAMEWOOD

Features: Covered, Heated, Dog Friendly.

OK Omens

1758 SE Hawthorne Blvd., 503-231-9959, okomens.com. 5-9:30 pm daily.

There aren’t many better natural wine lists in Portland than at OK Omens, for the written descriptions as much as for what’s actually in the bottles. The sparkling French rosé “tastes like you poured a shot of orange vinegar into a Strawberry Jamba Juice,” while you might consider the Spanish white “because you kinda want pinot gris but you’re here at OK Omens so you should probably drink something more exciting.” Make a reservation, and settle into your individual heated pod and pick literally any wine. For those who haven’t eaten out much in the last year, inhaling fresh shigoku oysters with a hint of chorizo oil or a congee cooked in ramen broth with fried Old Bay oysters is enough to bring tears to your eyes. Either that or you’re on your third glass of chenin blanc. ANDREA DAMEWOOD

Features: Covered, Heated.

Pope House Bourbon Lounge

2075 NW Glisan St., 503-222-1056, popehouselounge.com. 4-11 pm daily.

Seemingly airlifted from the set of a Southern gothic period piece and plopped down just off Northwest 21st Avenue, you’ll arrive at this historic Queen Anne-style abode half expecting the patio to be populated with a menagerie of rich eccentrics puffing on fat cigars and swirling glasses of bourbon. The last part, at least, is actually true: Pope House is known for its encyclopedic collection of bourbon whiskey, including a top-shelf menu of more than two-dozen options. The menu offers a short bourbon tutorial—it must be made in America, for instance, but not necessarily boast a Kentucky pedigree. For those already well acquainted, challenge yourself to join the Pope House Bourbon Derby. Once you’ve sampled 50 different bourbons, you’ll be rewarded with a plaque on the wall, a Glencairn whiskey glass and a lifetime discount. ANDI PREWITT.

Features: Covered, Heated, Dog Friendly.

Sapphire Hotel

5008 SE Hawthorne Blvd., 503-232-6333, thesapphirehotel.com. 4-11 pm Tuesday-Saturday.

Tucked inside a former hotel lobby, the Sapphire is a relic of the Prohibition era updated with a dose of modern swank. The specialty cocktail list is expansive, boasting ingredients like applewood smoke, activated charcoal and red tea syrup, plus martinis, whiskey, fortified wine and hot cocktails, including a Hot Peanut Buttered Rum that’s as decadent as it sounds. With its eclectic selection of small plates, the Sapphire is one of Portland’s classic date spots, even during the late-stage pandemic due to its refined but relaxed patio—you’re likely to be the least fashionable person here, no matter how on trend you think you are. SOPHIE PEEL.

Features: Covered, Heated, Dog Friendly, Good for Large Groups.

Victoria Bar

4835 N Albina Ave., 503-360-7760, victoriapdx.com. Noon-11 pm Monday-Friday, 10 am-11 pm Saturday-Sunday.

On paper, Victoria Bar sounds like a middle-class millennial fever dream—art deco on the inside, rustic-chic on the outside. Its expansive patio is lined with bamboo and string lights, and there are tiny tea candles on every picnic table. The names of the signature cocktails reference The Princess Bride, and the Southern-inspired, vegan-friendly menu includes weekend brunch. But Victoria Bar is surprisingly unpretentious. The indoor bar—complete with 1920s-inspired light fixtures and a massive, uplit liquor shelf—is closed except for a few small tables and walk-up service. Though there’s usually a wait for tables, social distancing requirements just mean that the patio feels all the more breezy and intimate. What’s more, the cocktails are an ideal balance of stiff and refreshing, particularly the Fire Swamp ($11), a spicy and crisp take on a French 75. SHANNON GORMLEY.

Features: Covered, Heated, Good for Large Groups.


3634 SE Division St., somedaypdx.com. 3-10 pm Thursday-Sunday.

Someday opened in January 2020 with dreams of becoming a buzzing, “shoulder-to-shoulder” watering hole. Needless to say, the timing was…unfortunate. But the bar has managed to maintain a communal energy, even if it’s less tight-knit. It shares its backyard with three food carts, lining the edges of a protected, pastel-toned nook located a sneaky stroll down a muraled alley off Southeast Division and 36th. The setup is intimate-–a few dainty tables for twosomes and two sturdy picnic tables that could fit a snug group of 10. There’s wine, sake and sometimes homemade vermouth alongside mixed drinks that span seasonal and temporal desires—the Tiger Porch, a chilly tequila sour with tamarind, is particularly fit for the Vaccinated Summer of 2021. After a short break, Someday reopens in May and the bar will have a new garden, a new food program replete with decadent snacks, and a weekly staple that’s become a tradition for the bar during the pandemic: Oyster Sundays. ELIZA ROTHSTEIN.

Features: Covered, Heated, Good for Large Groups.

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