2621 NW 30th Ave., 503-224-5778, boedeckercellars.com. 2-6 pm Wednesday-Thursday and Sunday, 2-7 pm Friday-Saturday.
The industrial hinterlands of Northwest Portland don’t automatically sound like an enticing environment for happy hour. But the area has actually long been home to craft beverage producers, starting with Portland Brewing Company, which is to say, if your product is good enough, people will make the trip and won’t mind drinking next to a factory.
Boedecker Cellars actually predates many of the breweries now dotting the landscape, rolling its first barrels into the area 13 years ago. The tasting room, situated inside a former warehouse, sprawls out onto a concrete pad near the entrance. To make the space more comfortable, staffers set up black bistro sets and tall propane heaters, and even drape the sole picnic table in a black-and-white checkered cloth. A wall constructed out of stacked barrels doesn’t completely hide the view of the industrial site across the street, but the effort is appreciated and it extends the aesthetics of the interior, which doubles as an aging facility, out the front door.
This time of year, add a mug of gluvine ($6.50) to a traditional wine flight. The piping hot drink is a blend of Boedecker’s reds. Completed with orange slices, cinnamon sticks and star anise, the resulting flavor is a cross between cinnamon raisin bread and snickerdoodles—making it a holiday drink you’d imagine grandmothers must ladle out to only the very best carolers. ANDI PREWITT.
412 NE Beech St., 503-288-3499, brasahayapdx.com. 5:30-10 pm Tuesday-Saturday.
These days, there’s a different kind of house party happening at this King neighborhood property. Those familiar with Beech Street Parlor before it closed will recall that the two-story bar and its seven-night-a-week DJ lineup regularly packed the front porch with so many people the converted home looked more like a residential rager than a business. Ever since Brasa Haya took over the 1906 American foursquare, the patio has appeared as though it’s prepared to host a more ordered and subdued soirée—one where an award might be presented or book of the month discussed.
The wrought-iron accented house has been given a fresh coat of white paint with black trim to mark its transition into a high-end, Spanish-inspired restaurant. In addition to seating on the multilevel stoop, there are a handful of tables inside a driveway cubby, all beautifully set with white cloth napkins and silverware in anticipation of diners.
On windy evenings, the breeze can pick up on the patio. Brasa Haya has two methods to help warm your bones: Sidle up to Mr. Heater, a beehive-shaped device perched atop a propane tank, and then order the Brasa Carajillo ($15). Though only open since June, the restaurant serves a traditional Spanish coffee that’s already one of the best in town. Rich chocolate vies for dominance with locally roasted Junior’s brew and a cool cloud of amaro whipped cream. Start your meal with a glass and then have a second at the end—you’ll be justified because the decadent Carajillo appears on the dessert menu, too. ANDI PREWITT.
Cascade Brewing Barrel House
939 SE Belmont St., 503-265-8603, cascadebrewingbarrelhouse.com. 4-10 pm Wednesday-Thursday, 1-10 pm Friday-Saturday, 1-8 pm Sunday.
In the colder months, Cascade Brewing typically serves glueh kriek—a spiced cherry beer that gets the name “glueh,” meaning glow, from the red-hot pokers traditionally used to heat mulled beverages in Germanic cultures. The brewery aims to have a batch ready to serve by Christmas, so in the meantime, satisfy your craving for something hot and spiced with the mulled apple sour ($6 for 4 ounces, $9 for 8 ounces).
The base of the drink is a mixture of red and blond ales, which go through a three-step fermentation process in which baking spices, vanilla beans, cider and wildflower honey are all added to the blend at different stages. The result is a delightful sour with a thick head when initially poured. This may sound like a backhanded compliment, but the mulled apple sour is a terrific drink for your friend who doesn’t like beer, and the Barrel House’s always-buzzing patio is also now equipped with plenty of lamps blasting enough heat to satisfy your other friend who’s always cold. SUZETTE SMITH.
8773 N Lombard St., thegarrisonpdx.com. 5-10 pm Monday-Saturday.
The Garrison is an unpretentious little neighborhood bar like any other in St. Johns—except for the fact that while you might feel like a moron trying to order a drink made with mezcal and yellow chartreuse anywhere else on Lombard, here it is expected. You can also get lost in nerdy cocktail conversation.
“It’s piney, but not too minty,” the bartender says of Braulio Amaro, the main ingredient in the Garrison’s winter drink. Which is to say, it’s not at all like Fernet. Braulio is made in Valtellina, Italy, near the border with Switzerland, with more than 20 mountain herbs and botanicals. The Garrison puts it to work in an Italian hot toddy ($10), served in a warm ceramic mug with Old Overholt Rye, amaro, honey and lemon.
Because the Garrison is part of a micro-business complex, the patio is actually a courtyard shared with salons and restaurants. Its picnic tables and counters fill up with patrons ordering not only drinks, but also food from Gracie’s Apizza, Mikasa Sushi & Ramen and Bolognese pasta pop-up Pastificio d’Oro. Six stools ring a fire pit, but if those are taken, at least you have a hot drink in your hand. Soothingly lemon forward, and neither too sweet nor too bitter, the Italian hot toddy is an après-ski-style libation, albeit in the shadow of Mount Hood instead of the Alps. JASON COHEN.
5015 NE Fremont St., 503-206-4308, hitoptavern.com, 3-11 pm Monday-Friday, 2-11 pm Saturday-Sunday.
Coffee, tea, or whiskey? No need to choose at Hi-Top, which until recently was the baby of the Old Gold-Paydirt-Tough Luck family (a fifth sibling, Holy Ghost, just opened in Southeast). The Chai Me ($12) is chai-infused rye whiskey with vegan hot butter mix, chocolate bitters and orange zest, while the Amaretto Coffee ($12) spikes a steaming cup of Stumptown Hair Bender with the almondy liqueur.
The latter is finished with cinnamon, a salted Amarena cherry and, to quote the menu, “whipped cream (optional).” Important: Unless you’re dieting or dairy free, you want to take that option. Hand-shaken by the bartender, the cream melts almost instantly into a cappuccinolike foam atop the cocktail. It’s a fucking delicious drink: the coffee and Amaretto in harmony, the salt and sweetish cherry adding rhythm. And if you let the cherry drop off its spear into the thick glass mug, you get a finish of warm fruit.
Hi-Top’s patio, semi-covered by a metal-and-wood roof, is big enough that you could put on rock shows there, and that’s even before you round the corner at the back, where there’s an entire second set of picnic tables, fire pits and heat lamps. By day, the roomy space is chill enough to give you calming coffee shop vibes; by night, there’s room enough to distance, for, y’know…the times we live in…and also room enough to dream of bigger crowds to come. JASON COHEN.
Laurelwood Public House & Brewery
5115 NE Sandy Blvd., 503-282-0622, laurelwoodbrewpub.com. 11 am-9 pm Sunday-Wednesday, 11 am-10 pm Thursday-Saturday.
While best known as a brewpub, this Northeast Sandy institution also has a full bar in front of all those tanks and kegs, with a seasonal hot drink special right now that puts a spotlight on two other local makers: Portland’s New Deal Distillery and Ryan’s Juice in Hood River.
Laurelwood’s pear apple cider ($10) starts with non-alcoholic Ryan’s Apple Cider, mulled in a slow cooker with “fall spices”—kudos for not using the omnipresent seasonal “p” word—and ladled into a warmed glass mug with honey, lemon and New Deal Pear Brandy.
There’s plenty of room to imbibe at Laurelwood’s longtime flagship, which is also now its sole location. The semi-secret upstairs deck is equipped with heat lamps, but the hotter spot, if you will, is the patio that’s right by the back door and parking lot, which has six seats around a homey fire pit, plus two big benches and two little tables. There’s also ax throwing at Celtic Axe Throwers in one corner inside (proof of vaccination and masks required), and two more warming drinks are coming soon: one with coffee and the other, Laurelwood’s stalwart Grampa Sam’s Hot Buttered Rum, which is based on an old family recipe. JASON COHEN.
232 NW 12th Ave., 971-255-0386, pinkrabbitpdx.com. 4 pm-midnight Monday-Thursday, 4 pm-2 am Friday-Saturday, 6 pm-midnight Sunday.
Even before Pink Rabbit transformed its curbside patio into an outdoor discotheque, the Pearl District bar’s collection of picnic tables were consistently full. In late October, the narrow parklet was sparse, lacking heaters and a sturdy overhead shelter, its only frill found in the green strip of turf carpeting the ground. Yet the energy from the dining room seeped over to the sidewalk—fuchsia-hued neon cast a warm glow while a speaker hidden near the entrance blasted the bar’s soundtrack of ‘70s funk.
But not even the most vibrant music and signage can ward off the chill of a Pacific Northwest winter, so thankfully Pink Rabbit has fortified its patio. There is now a corrugated metal roof, a standing propane heater for every table, and plans to enclose the side of the hutch facing 12th Avenue. And to better coordinate with the bar’s flashy interior, the structure is adorned with mirror balls, string lights, additional speakers and—by the end of November—living plant installations.
Pink Rabbit’s vibe may be flamboyant, but the top-shelf toddy ($18) sips like counterprogramming—it is restrained, mellow and deeply comforting. A perfect showcase for an aged spirit—in this case, Westward Whiskey finished in pinot noir casks—this is the type of drink you could rely on to soothe a sore throat, clear clogged sinuses, or simply lull you into a NyQuil-like stupor to get through winter. ANDI PREWITT.
Produce Row Cafe
204 SE Oak St., 503-232-8355, producerowcafe.com. 11 am-11 pm Monday-Thursday, 11 am-midnight Friday-Saturday, 11 am-9 pm Sunday.
When Produce Row reopened this past January, it felt like a small step toward normalcy. At that point in the pandemic, the city had lost a destabilizing number of restaurants, so the return of this 47-year-old institution had to buoy the spirits of anyone invested in Portland’s dining scene. Plus, it meant the courtyard was back—Produce Row’s highly sought-after, year-round patio.
In summer, the top comes off, leaving only the red metal framework and pendant lights overhead. Now, as we head into winter, a clear plastic film is a barrier between you and the elements, still providing stellar views of those wonderful bluebird days the season occasionally blesses us with. Produce Row also used the time off last year to turn its parking lot into a tent-covered dining room, doubling capacity.
The original terrace will always be our preferred venue because of its farmstand feel thanks to hanging flower baskets lining the perimeter and old-timey metal signs advertising 5-cent orange soda and Rob Roy Ice Cream, though the assortment of plastic colored chairs look as if they were donated by a public school. The homeroom vibes will fade away, however, with your first sip of one of the toddies ($12). Produce Row tinkers with the classic formula, preparing ours with New Deal Pear Brandy and spiced honey, a combination so relaxing it’s like slipping into a bed made with your favorite flannel sheets. ANDI PREWITT.
4205 N Mississippi Ave., 503-459-4049, ramblerbar.com. 4 pm-midnight Monday-Thursday, 4 pm-1 am Friday, noon-1 am Saturday, noon-midnight Sunday.
The Rambler’s spacious back patio, covered in picnic tables and powerful heat lamps, was always a popular spot, even before the pandemic pushed everyone outdoors. While the sleek front porch fire pit holds an aesthetic allure, stick to seating in the rear. The rectangular concrete structure is awkward to sit around and doesn’t give off much in the way of heat.
Of the two hot drinks on offer during our visit, the Doctor’s Girlfriend ($11) won us over, even though the multistep process to make it can feel interminable. The bar’s take on a hot buttered rum features raisin chai-spiced butter, Sailor Jerry Spiced Rum and hot water that serves as a nice substitute for an adult hot chocolate. The Rambler uses real whipped cream to boot, topped with fresh-ground nutmeg. Hot toddy fans should opt for the Wonder Twins ($11), made with spiced pear syrup, Maker’s Mark, lemon juice and grated cinnamon. SUZETTE SMITH.
2165 W Burnside St., 503-233-1513, ringsidesteakhouse.com. 5-9 pm Wednesday-Thursday, 5-9:30 pm Friday, 4-9:30 pm Saturday, 4-9 pm Sunday.
Perhaps the most unlikely place you’d expect to find a pandemic patio is at Portland’s premier steakhouse. It’s not easy to imagine carving into one of RingSide’s prime dry-aged rib-eyes while seated in the parking lot along Burnside. But the nearly 80-year-old meat palace pulled off outdoor service by installing a sprawling tent next to the back entrance and dressing it to the nines.
To reach the grand canopy, your tuxedo-clad host will guide you across the dimly lit dining room, through a private event space and, finally, out the rear door directly into the tent, which means you’ll never step foot on pavement. RingSide has laid down faux-wood flooring and enveloped the space in artificial emerald leaf privacy screening—there’s even an entire jungle of foliage sprouting behind an inviting ruby red banquette. The focus on decorating with fake plants was deliberate, and RingSide wanted to do it right. So the general manager says he went to sources who would know where to buy the best imitation greenery: doctor and dentist offices. The result is less waiting room than wedding reception meets tropical-themed prom.
This being a classic steakhouse, the wines-by-the-glass menu is deep, but RingSide always has a lineup of seasonal mixed drinks. If you’re the kind of person who counts down to pumpkin spice latte season but also always wishes you could ask your barista to spike it with booze, the Great Pumpkin ($14) is filled with those familiar autumnal flavors—nutmeg, clove, cinnamon, gourd. And since the tent is filled with standing heaters, you won’t have to chug your cocktail to ensure it doesn’t get cold. ANDI PREWITT.
720 SE Sandy Blvd., 503-265-8807, rumclubpdx.com. 3 pm-midnight daily.
The deck at Rum Club is tricked out for winter: covered, well-heated and romantically lit. While you wait until Dec. 1 for the hot buttered rum to hit the menu, a seasonal favorite served through February, the hot toddy (off-menu, $9-$12) is worth a visit. Made with your choice of whiskey (wells are J.T.S. Brown and Wild Turkey 101 Rye), Bénédictine, cinnamon and allspice, it’s the kind of drink the bartender tells us will hit the spot if you’re the type of person who likes two bags in your tea. The orange-rind garnish is more than just a pretty decoration, adding a hint of citrus followed by a bitter punch. SUZETTE SMITH.
401 NE 28th Ave., 503-206-7983, stammtischpdx.com. 3-10 pm Monday-Thursday, 11 am-11 pm Friday-Saturday, 11 am-10 pm Sunday.
If you’re a beer nerd, then you go to Stammtisch for its steady flow of rare imports that have cemented its status as one of the finest German drinking halls in the city. But at least once a year, skip the stein and order something hot, spiced and sweet.
Gluhwein ($9, $12) is more than just a hand warmer for chilly evenings. In Europe, its flavors define the holidays as much as peppermint, pumpkin and gingerbread do here. Stammtisch’s version, garnished with a simple yet elegant slice of orange peel, gushes with bold grape notes, and should transport you to a version of Germany’s open-air Christmas markets where it snows allspice and clove instead of ice crystals.
Stammtisch’s patio is simple and gets the job done. About half-a-dozen wooden booths occupy the sidewalks on two sides of the building. The beige carports covering the tables aren’t much to look at, but when it’s raining sideways in December, you bet you’ll be glad they’re there. ANDI PREWITT.