We’re almost there. Almost.
No, it’s not time to start making out in the streets with strangers like a peace treaty was just brokered. Shoot, handshakes still aren’t advisable. It’ll be a while before most of us feel comfortable standing shoulder to shoulder in a packed club again, or eating indoors without shoveling bites under a mask.
Gradually, though, flashes of the world as we once knew it are coming back into focus.
It hit Portland a week ago. As temperatures reached the 80s, parks filled with slackline walkers and Frisbee tossers. Hikers hit the trails and sunbathers claimed spots on the riverbeds. And we dipped our toes back into one of our favorite warm-weather pastimes: drinking outdoors.
It was fleeting, as nice spring days in the Pacific Northwest often are. But it got us even more excited than usual for the season ahead, and for getting back in touch with the city beyond our doorsteps.
And so, in anticipation of the post-vaccination summer, we revisited 51 of our favorite bar patios in Portland. Some of them are institutions, others only opened in the last year. All of them, though, are awesome, often for different reasons, which is why we’ve categorized them based on what you need, whether it’s a place to reunite with the fam, go on a date, or watch the sunset after work.
Of course, this is not meant as a comprehensive list—if you’re simply looking for the outdoor drinking spot nearest to you, Travel Portland recently launched a patio database searchable by location. But if you want to know where we think you should be going, this is your guide.
This is not us hanging a “Mission Accomplished” banner on the pandemic. We know we’re not yet back to normal. But normal, or something like it, at least appears in reach. And that’s worth raising a glass to—from a safe distance.
—Matthew Singer, A&C Editor