AC Lounge at AC Hotel
888 SW 3rd Ave., 503-223-2100, marriott.com/hotels/travel/pdxar-ac-hotel-portland-downtown
This truly feels like a bar for the frequent business traveler who never bothers to unpack—George Clooney's weary sky commuter from Up in the Air wouldn't be out of place among the solo drinkers at AC Lounge. Minimalist furniture is awash in beige, which means there's little to distract if you're looking for a place to respond to emails, but that also draws your eyes to the bar. White marble with waves of black lines extend from the counter to the walls. A geometric jungle gym with light bulbs at each point is suspended from the ceiling near the shelves of booze. There are 12 taps for beer, wine and a cocktail—six more than the average AC Marriott to make room for the area's abundance of craft beverages. And if you need a refill or the check, no need to wave down the bartender or wait for a server to float your way, as each table is equipped with a round call button. The signal goes to an Apple-like watch worn by each employee. While slightly dehumanizing, it sure is efficient. ANDI PREWITT.
Altabira City Tavern at Hotel Eastlund
Altabira is the inner eastside's answer to Portland City Grill, a swanky rooftop lounge whose main attraction is the view. Previously known as Windows during the building's days as a lowly Red Lion, the space was leased to restaurateur David Machado following the hotel's Euro-chic makeover in 2015. He upscaled the décor, broadened the tap list, added some decent bistro-style grub and, sadly, pulled the "pork parfait" from the menu. (Imagine one of those fast-food items where they toss the entire contents of a combo meal into a single bowl, except crammed into a dainty tulip glass.) But he kept the bar's most essential feature, which is, well, the windows. A heated patio, outfitted with steel furniture and fire pits and surrounded by floor-to-ceiling glass walls, offers a rare panoramic view of downtown. The sightline is now obstructed by the incoming Hyatt Hotel at the Convention Center directly across the street, but that hasn't stopped in-the-know Blazer fans from pregaming on the terrace before home games. Check the Moda Center calendar if you're planning to stop by, because it gets packed. MATTHEW SINGER.
425 NW 9th Ave., 971-351-0230
Hotel bars offer a practical tradeoff for the discerning misanthrope: You concede the drinks will be roughly $2 overpriced, and in return you are given a public space to imbibe without anyone asking what book you're reading. Canopy, a lobby restaurant sharing its name with the upmarket Hilton in which it resides, offers a perfect distillation of that principle. On a recent Saturday at 9 pm—with the taprooms a block west in the Pearl jammed to the gills—it contained exactly two two patrons, and no one entered for the better part of an hour. I enjoyed my $6 Buoy Pilsner in delicious quiet, surrounded by strong fluorescent light for that book. There's a gas-fired pizza oven and an extensive menu featuring Northwest morsels, like filberts and razor clams, but for now you're coming here to be left alone. AARON MESH.
H Bar at Hyatt House
H Bar isn't exactly a party bar, but if you're a medical professional looking to unwind, this is probably your spot. Around 4 pm most days, the bar fills up with Oregon Health & Science University employees coming down the hill from campus. There's plenty of seating stretched across the first floor of the hotel, along with an abundance of electrical outlets for laptop-toting business travelers. A vividly green lounge lies a few steps down from the bar itself, with floor-to-ceiling windows and bookshelves that encourage cozy reading and relaxing. In short, it's more of a place to swirl some red wine and pore over medical reports than pound Jägerbombs all night. MIA VICINO.
Jackrabbit at The Duniway
Dominating the lobby of the Duniway hotel like a preening peacock, Jackrabbit's bar is a double-decker affair—one side bookends the concierge desk, but the bartender can loop around to the sunken restaurant dining room while remaining in reach of the same gin bottles. This upstairs-downstairs display is a nifty architectural feat. The menu is similarly ambitious and showoff-y: Groups are invited to share a 4-pound steak ($120) or the namesake buttermilk fried rabbit ($75). We stuck to the deviled eggs ($12)—which, with their dollop of schmaltz, were voluptuously fatty. Jackrabbit features a "Coin Toss Cocktail" ($14) named for the flip that decided whether this city would be called Portland or Boston—it comes in a hollowed-out grapefruit filled with shaved ice. We recommend sticking with the humbler Drugstore Cowboy ($13), which combines Scotch and sangria to a tart effect. It may be the subtlest taste here. AARON MESH.
Lo Bar at Hi-Lo Hotel
Hi-Lo appears determined to establish itself as Portland's most 'Grammable hotel, and Lo Bar is an extension of that ethos. Its aesthetic is somewhere between art museum and Kinfolk spread—the palette is soft gray and pastel pink, the décor a mix of marble, stone, wood, brass and, of course, succulents. Positioned between the lobby and gourmet Mexican restaurant Alto Bajo, the bar seems almost incidental, as if just filling space, and doesn't exactly invite long stays, despite the communal lacquered wood table in the center of the room. Mostly, it feels like a waiting room for guests preparing to head out into the night—a place to grab a $13 cocktail, pose on one of the swings hanging from the ceiling, then call an Uber and wait for the likes to roll in. MATTHEW SINGER.
Opal at the Dossier Hotel
The average hotel bar doesn't pay much attention to aesthetics. If you're a business traveler looking to knock back a few in the hope it'll make you go to sleep faster, proximity wins and you don't need to fuss about the décor. But Opal has a luster from top to bottom that invites you to linger in the deep basil green leather booth seating that wraps around the room. Walnut beams create a canopy that crisscrosses a ceiling with shades of mint, sage and emerald. Below is a dramatic tiled floor with a hypnotic black-and-white diamond pattern. Warm lighting from round chandeliers and large street-facing windows that open up when the weather is nice bring airiness to the space. This swanky environment demands a cocktail, so order a Talk Talk with Monopolowa vodka, Giffard Pamplemousse and Cinzano dry vermouth. There's a touch of honey sweetness and lemonade tart, and you'll be drinking it among businessmen frowning silently at laptops and married out-of-towners debating the next day's sightseeing agenda. ANDI PREWITT.
The Society Cafe & Lounge at the Society Hotel
Part boutique hotel, part hostel, the Society occupies a corner of Old Town still reflecting traces of the neighborhood's pre-Portlandia seediness. A refurbished 19th-century boarding house originally meant to provide lodging for sailors, it sat empty for years before getting repurposed in 2013, and the new owners have made sure to maintain certain historical touches, from the exposed brick in the stairwells to displaying antique items dug out during the remodel. But the ground-floor cafe, which sits right off the lobby, is pure millennial chic. While not a bar, per se, it offers a rotating selection of craft beers and cocktails—and yes, it serves avocado toast, too. You can sip a rose petal-infused gin and tonic by the communal fireplace, but you really should heed the advice of the sign behind the counter and ask about the roof deck. An elevator deposits you on the top floor, at a slatted-wood terrace cozy enough to make it feel like you're at a garden party at your own apartment complex. Only guests are allowed to bring up food and drink not purchased downstairs, but if they're anything like the crew of Pacific Crest Trail hikers splitting Montucky tallboys and ice cream sandwiches on a recent visit, they'll almost certainly share in exchange for tips on the best local happy hours. MATTHEW SINGER.
Tanner Creek Tavern at Hampton Inn
Situated on the corner of a Pearl District block, two of Tanner Creek Tavern's walls are floor-to-ceiling windows, but it somehow doesn't feel like a fish bowl. The quiet bar and restaurant adjoins the lobby of the Hampton Inn. Inside, it has a glossy industrial aesthetic—the primary decorations are the ceiling's uplit wood beams and exposed air ducts. Though Tanner Creek is run by Portland restaurateur David Machado, it feels very much like a hotel restaurant—a gently lit room where an assortment of people just sort of end up. On a recent Friday night, the crowd was mostly composed of families eating $20 plates of pasta, men in suits drinking cocktails and the occasional hotel guest silently sipping a beer, eyes glued to the baseball game on the massive TV above the bar. A woman in a gold dress sat at the bar while talking on her phone, nursing a glass of white wine and eating a mini carrot cake topped with individually piped dollops of cream cheese icing—it's hard to think of a better embodiment of the indulgent, transient freedom hotel bars provide. SHANNON GORMLEY.
Xport at the Porter
1355 SW 2nd Ave., 503-306-4800
Since opening in May on the 16th floor of the Porter Hotel, Xport Bar & Lounge has given Portlanders a solid backup to Departure for a space offering elevated cocktail consumption, both figurative and literal. To that end, options are citrus-forward updates of modern standards with cheeky names that wink at a wealthy westsider's notion of "Portland." Lost Souls ($12) spikes a mellow gin, mint and cucumber base with green chartreuse and orange bitters, while the Beets Per Minute ($12) blends vodka, aquavit, lemon and beet shrub for a bright red concoction that makes for essential summer sipping. The food menu is a confounding blur of bar staples with heavy-handed upgrades. Tots come embellished with seasonal crab meat, but the $12 price tag makes it a hard sell for anyone who's been drinking at street level for as long as they can recall. Still, the wrap-around patio is well worth the inflated price tag, considering noshes can be shared while lazing about in front of a fire pit or near the balcony offering primo views of Mount Hood on one side and the West Hills on the other. PETE COTTELL.