2216 NE Martin Luther King Jr Blvd., 287-7254. Noon-2 am daily.
Billy Ray's is one of Portland's last cash-only holdouts, a tavern with liquor that satisfies the Oregon Liquor Control Commission's hot-meal food requirement with a raised middle finger: freezer pizzas, TV dinners. Miller High Life is the drink of choice, served in the signature bottles for $1.75, although Pabst will do in a pinch for $2.25. The ramshackle two-story looks like it's been here forever, its back patio redolent of the Midwest and mid-South, with mismatched furniture that would show up in an actual backyard, looking out through fence slats onto a dirt road (or, OK, a driveway.) But it's really only been here for about a decade. It was an underachiever from the start, and now it's a beautiful refuge for those waiting an hour for Ox, or pregaming a show at Wonder Ballroom, a dive bar preconceived for slumming, now masquerading as an old-timer. In short, a love letter to every Portland transplant of 2005.
Happy hour: 4-7 pm Monday-Friday. Fifty cents off beer.
Entertainment: Pac-Man, pinball, patio.