8218 N Lombard St., 477-4995, thefixinto.com. 2 pm-2 am Monday-Saturday, 2 pm-1 am Sunday.
Despite celebrating its fifth anniversary this past January, years after the Oregon ban on smoking in bars, the Fixin' To still somehow manages to smell of stale, decades-old Marlboros. This is a compliment. In its first five years this unassuming cluster of carts and patios has earned the kind of storied-neighborhood-institution status usually awarded to places that have been around upward of half a century. The ersatz Southern theme in effect when it first opened seems to have given way to the kind of working-class drag not seen in the original four quadrants since 2006 or so (PBR, Frito pie, vintage scene-o-ramas), but it works here. Like St. Johns and working-class culture itself, the Fixin' To is a sometimes unsettling yet always endearingly authentic hodgepodge of different folks and different strokes—a recent Saturday saw everything from a sexagenarian with a rat-tail trying to bum a cigarette to several urbane young couples eating meals brought in from food carts in the parking lot (Southern Belles barbecue and Pizza Contadino, currently). You many not know where you're going after a night spent here, but you won't forget where you've been.
Happy hour: 4-6 pm Monday-Friday. Food specials, $1 off wells, microbrews, St. Johns Sweet Tea and the Down 'n Out (a shot of Old Crow and a pint of Rainier).