1. The Vern
2622 SE Belmont St., 503-233-7851. 2 pm-2:30 am daily.
With its tasteful ‘70s nudie-pic décor and big velvet booths, the inside of the Vern was always the cool place to be. But when the pandemic hit, the owners annexed their little-used parking lot attached to the building and created a fancy fenced and covered outdoor dive-bar experience. A Friday night is an exercise in finding a picnic table to drink one of the rotating slushie drinks at, or buy pudding shots at last call for maximum hangover energy. While a few tables have gas fires in the center, most do not, so if in doubt, bundle up for the night. And don’t skip the tots.
4057 N Mississippi Ave., 503-284-6669, interurbanpdx.com. 4 pm-2:30 am Monday-Friday, 10 am-2:30 pm Saturday-Sunday.
Complete with big-game trophies and carefully curated bookshelves just out of reach, this tavern in the heart of Mississippi is charming and warm in spite of its somewhat forced rustic décor. The patio, however, is the real gold nugget here, with two fire pits and a cozy, lush enclosure.
3. Bar Bar
3943 N Mississippi Ave., 503-889-0090, mississippistudios.com. 11 am-1 am daily.
Throughout the pandemic, Bar Bar was our constant. With a covered patio, heat lamps and fire pits—that we were, for a time, forbidden to gather around—Bar Bar set the standard for distanced, gruff, lovable service. Now that things are a little more normal (though we’re still maskin’ and relaxin’), Bar Bar is back to setting the standard for live entertainment, top-notch burgers and a warming, rotating tap list that always has something surprising.
5339 SE Foster Road, 503-764-9819, thunderbirdbarpdx.com. 3 pm-midnight Monday-Thursday, noon-1 am Friday-Saturday, noon-midnight Sunday.
The menu at Thunderbird, one of Portland’s favorite vegan bars, is loaded with meat alternatives, from the Thunder Beyond Burger to poutine doused in vegan gravy and cheese. The drink menu is well stocked with classic and inventive cocktails, plus rotating slushies like strawberry daiquiri and amaretto sour. Vegan or not, come here for the laid-back atmosphere—with two covered patios filled with rows of blue picnic tables, finding a seat is rarely a problem.
5. Landmark Saloon
4847 SE Division St., 503-894-8132, landmarksaloon.com. 3 pm-midnight daily.
If you’re from a small country town, the Landmark will remind you of your hometown bar—a little grimy, a lot drunk, and always a ton of fun. The slightly ragged but highly functional outdoor space is covered in a perpetual haze due to the meat smoker in the corner, and the vibe is perpetually boisterous—those with rural pasts will feel a twinge of nostalgia for the bonfire you and your friends would spend every weekend at in high school.