Where to Drink This Week

Inspired by cocktail programs from 1920s Cuba, the bar at Palomar has always been top notch.

4428_dish_Palomar_AbbyGordon_7H2B4156 Palomar. (Abby Gordon)


959 SE Division St., #100, 971-357-8020, barpalomar.com. 5–10 pm Tuesday-Friday, 10 am–2 pm and 5–10 pm Saturday-Sunday. Sit anywhere in this ode to fine Cuban and Latin American comida and all things rum, and you’ll easily forget it’s winter here on the 45th parallel. Get there at the start of the 5 pm happy hour, and you should be able to catch a tropical sunset vibe via a blended banana daiquiri. Inspired by cocktail programs from 1920s Cuba, the bar at Palomar has always been top notch, but with the addition of chef Ricky Bella, the quality of Palomar’s plates match what’s in the cups. The Birds of Paradise is a frothy concoction of gin, egg white, raspberry, lemon and cream that goes great with a slice of tres leches. Winter schminter.


832 N Killingsworth St., 503-432-8053, sadvalley.com. 4 pm–1 am Sunday–Thursday, 4 pm–2 am Friday–Saturday.

One might expect a bar evoking houses of death to have a depressed quality—perhaps dark wood walls and a whiff of formaldehyde—but Sad Valley is much more funky than formal. Sad Valley’s aesthetic includes an enormous train of flowers trails across the ceiling, leading to a white coffin flung open to reveal a spotlit disco ball. Clocks, dark bouquets, and miniature stained windows decorate the walls; an Italian horror movie plays on a corner television. Umbrella-adorned cocktails are strong and made simply, like the Persephone ($10)—a mix of vodka and POG juice in a mule glass—or the Brave Marion ($12), a marionberry margarita. The Weird Paloma ($9) is a nice example of cheeky execution done right: Blanco tequila and lime, served in a Mexican Squirt bottle, are carefully balanced, tart as hell, and just so fun. The Cryin’ Swaggart ($12) had the most personality of all—rye and passion fruit liqueur are a light, sweet and silky smooth pairing, with orange blossom water singing through the center.


815 SE Oak St., Suite B, birdcreekwhiskey.com. 1–5 pm Tuesday–Saturday or by appointment.

Oregon may be best known for craft beer and wine, but it turns out we also work wonders with whiskey. Bird Creek is the latest brand to join established names in Portland like Westward, Bull Run and Aimsir. Its pint-sized tasting room is located in the same building as Portland Coffee Roasters (Mark Stell founded both), and all of the barley used to make the whiskeys is sourced from Oregon and Washington. The company’s Baronesse variety nabbed Best American Single Malt Whiskey 2023 at the ASCOT Awards, and Full Pint, named after the barley developed at Oregon State University, won a platinum in the same competition.


6214 N Interstate Ave., sit-tite.com. 4 pm–midnight Sunday–Thursday, 4 pm–2 am Friday–Saturday.

Sit Tite is a low-key neighborhood bar that serves the kind of unpretentious food you find at the numerous Italian joints spread across New Jersey and Long Island. In a nod to our nostalgia- and meme-obsessed culture, Sit Tite comes with Sopranos references aplenty, from the name itself to the cocktail menu. We adored the Commendatori ($15), a nod to the retrending espresso martini that distinguished itself with Amaro Averna, salt and frothy cold brew, and the Smoke Out Confessional ($13), with its inventive take on a Hemingway daiquiri distinguished by mezcal and elderflower.


2733 NE Broadway, 503-662-8454, halepele.com. 4 pm–midnight daily. Step into the dark and moody confines of one of America’s best tiki bars, right here in Portland. Adorned with glowing puffer fish, bamboo and tiki totems to conjure the feeling of a beachside hut, Hale Pele is the perfect escape from the winter gloom. You can indulge in boozy rum-laden classics like a mai tai or a Suffering Bastard while watching the bartenders concoct lively mixologist pyrotechnics to a soundtrack of exotic lounge music and the occasional simulated thunderstorm. Cocktails for two are offered, and the Volcano Bowl comes billowing fire and smoke for a true spectacle.

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