1733 NE Alberta St., 503-287-2400, aviarypdx.com. 5-7 pm weekdays.
[HOTTEST DOG] Aviary's happy hour—perhaps because the bar itself is tucked behind the restaurant—remains one of Portland's best-hidden secrets. Oysters are a respectable $2.50, sure, but put your money on the $7 slaw dog. Does $7 not feel cheap for a hot dog? Order the damn thing, and discover the city's best frankfurter—an Olympia Provisions sausage that has been smoked in house to bring out a torrent of meat flavor. Other treats include tempura green beans or a truly excellent duck liver pâté on toast for $5. But seriously: Order the hot dog and a $3 craft draft and you are the happiest motherfucker on Alberta Street. MATTHEW KORFHAGE.
Best deal: $3 craft beer and a $7 hot dog that's worth it.
1758 SE Hawthorne Blvd., 503-231-9959, castagnarestaurant.com. 5-6 pm and 9 pm-close Tuesday-Friday.
[$5 COCKTAILS] Portland's only true fine-dining restaurant—no supper club, no fried chicken, all tablecloth—also sports a cafe that might as well be a burger joint between 5 and 6 pm. Sure, there are $2 oysters and $7 crisped duck-fat potatoes, brightly acidic pickled vegetables available for $2 and a generous $5 cocktail and $6 wine menu bolstering $4 craft drafts. But that burger is a revelation—made startlingly light, despite all the beef, by the bright acidity and pleasing crunch of some of the city's finest housemade pickles. You might catch yourself thinking about it sometimes during the golden hour right before twilight, when the world looks more beautiful than it should. MATTHEW KORFHAGE.
Best deal: $8 burger. $5 "snoop" Negroni variant with gin, Campari and grapefruit.
1001 SE Water Ave., 503-235-2294, clarklewispdx.com. 4:30-6:30 pm Monday-Saturday.
[DAIQUIRI SPOT] Sitting at Clarklewis' Water Avenue-facing stone-slab counter before the dinner rush, you truly feel like the only person in the room—the best person to be at a nice restaurant. This privacy is welcome while you contemplate the 12-item happy-hour menu, which offers dishes ranging from $1 nuts to a $6 halloumi cheese plate to $7 grilled venison ribs. Beer is still expensive at $6.50—but wine is $6, and so is a hand-shaken daiquiri. SOPHIA JUNE.
Best deal: Consider this: A pepper-bacon cheeseburger at Burgerville is $6.29. Clarklewis' happy-hour, maple-wood-grilled hamburger is $7—down from $13—and this is for a slightly charred, fatty burger served on a wheat bun with greens, pickled red onion and mustard aioli. Pay an extra buck for blue cheese, and eat like you mean it.
711 NE Dekum St., 954-1702, firehousepdx.com. 5-6 pm daily.
[PIZZA AND BEER] Once a place where overpaid government employees—excuse me, heroes—sat around playing cards and waiting for something to burst into flames, Firehouse is now where Portlanders on dates wait for the flames of a wood-fired oven to delicately char the edges of some of the city's best under-the-radar pizza. Wait early, and it's much cheaper. The first hour Firehouse is open, from 5 to 6, a splendidly charred pizza margherita is $6, which pairs quite nicely with a $3.50 Heater Allen Pilsner, a $6 house wine or a rotating $6 cocktail. Want sopressata on top of that pizza? Well, it's $11. Turns out the place can't discount the meat quite as much as the bread. Get a $3.50 side salad instead—fried cauliflower or salsa verde beets will do. MATTHEW SINGER.
Best deal: $6 margherita pizza, $3.50 Pilsner.
1239 SW Broadway, 503-222-9070, higginsportland.com. 4-6:30 pm Sunday-Friday, 10-11 pm Monday-Saturday, 9-10 pm Sunday.
[DUCK, YOU SUCKER] Higgins is on one side a tableclothed formality, and on the bar side a casual tavern old enough that the restroom seems to be made for elves—but on both sides, the service is some of the most impeccable in town without being fussy. But the bar side is the best side, and the generous-portioned happy hour is one reason: Eight dollars will get you a giant portion of drenched jalapeño-hot duck wings so rich they make chicken seem a game for fools, while a coffee mug-sized duck-liver mousse will sate a singleton all by itself. Meanwhile, the beer selection—from hundreds in bottles to a well-tended rotation of taps—is almost certainly the best fine-dining beer list in Portland, a distinction it's maintained for 30 years straight. and at happy hour, it's 20 percent off. Dig in. MATTHEW KORFHAGE.
Best deal: Seriously, those $8 plates are full meals. If you see duck, order duck.
410 SW Broadway, 503-228-7222, imperialpdx.com. 2-6 pm Monday-Friday, 3-6 pm Saturday-Sunday; late night 10-11 pm Sunday-Thursday, 11 pm-midnight Friday-Saturday.
[NOT CHOPPED LIVER] Imperial, our 2015 Restaurant of the Year, has lost chef Doug Adams, but still offers a burger with sweet pickles and dill mayo that costs only $6 and ranks among the best in the city. The $4 chicken liver pâté made in the mode of Paley's legend Stan Luoma melts into unctuous abandon—truly one of the greatest luxuries you could ever get in the city of Portland under $5. The happy hour rotates a bit—specials come on, specials come off—but recently, there was $8 fried chicken. The best deal, however, is also the most consistent: the $5 price on an excellent draft Vieux Carré. It's all liquor—and alllll goooood. MATTHEW KORFHAGE.
Best deal: $5 Vieux Carré. And then another one. And the $4 liver pâté.
4057 N Mississippi Ave., 503-284-6669, interurbanpdx.com. 3-6 pm Monday-Friday, 10 pm-close Sunday.
[ROYALE WITH LIQUOR] Interurban understands that a great bartender is more than an automated alcohol measurement system—but one who can settle debates about liquor while also making a Sazerac with admirable restraint. Food here has gone upscale of late, though there are still $7 hot wings at happy hour. But when in Rome, get the $9 pâté plate instead, and pair it with a $4 imperial pint of craft beer, a $5 wine, or—good goddamn, is that a $5 kir royale? A $5 "punch" made almost entirely of brandy, bourbon and rum? A $5 "sangria" that's mostly wine, chinato and vermouth? Liquor's quicker, America.
Best deal: Select $4 imperial pints, $5 wines and $5 cocktails. Cheap snacks. Discounted barrel-strength whiskey.
Irving Street Kitchen
701 NW 13th Ave., 343-9440, irvingstreetkitchen.com. 4:30-6 pm daily.
[FRIED OYSTERS] Irving Street Kitchen's Southern-influenced cuisine isn't cheap during dinner, so take advantage of happy hour when you can. Drinks—selected wine, a couple cocktails, and PBR with a whiskey back—are just $6 each, and some of the food offerings are smaller yet well-executed dishes off the regular menu. Peppercorn-sauced meatballs ($7) make for a hearty snack, or go a lighter route with chicken-fried oysters ($6), which come with tasty Herbsaint aioli. ROB FERNAS.
Best deal: $7 meatballs, $6 wine.
720 SE Grand Ave., 235-0059, kachkapdx.com. 4-6 pm, 10 pm-midnight daily.
[NA ZDOROVIE] After 10 pm since this June or so, Kachka has become one of the very best bars in a neighborhood of bars. Late and early, it now serves a world of vodka accompaniments that includes a self-consciously named $12 drinking board named after Bonnie's dad Slava and packed with cured meats and cheese and pickles, plus treats on the cheap from $2 fish jerky to $5 mussels. The justly famous Siberian pelmeni dumplings drop, meanwhile, from $13 to $9. All of these things pair quite well with a $5 Moscow mule or a $9 hundred-milliliter serving (about three 1-ounce shots) of house-infused vodka from horseradish to sea buckthorn berry to cacao nib or dill. Life is good, here. And drunk. And good. MATTHEW KORFHAGE.
Best deal: You will not drink cheaper better than with 100 milliliters of the horseradish vodka for $9.
3808 N Williams Ave., 503-288-6200, lincolnpdx.com. 5:30-7 pm Tuesday-Friday.
[USE THE NOODLES] The impossibly crisp-on-the-outside and tender, sweet-on-the-inside cornmeal onion rings with pimento aioli ($6) are alone worth a trip to Lincoln. The fact that you can nab them off the happy-hour menu, alongside other staples from the regular menu like the creamy baked eggs ($6) or the handmade lumache pasta with whipped asparagus butter ($12), is a tasty opportunity not to be passed on. Tack on a $4 draft beer or $6 "bartender's choice" cocktail and you're made. PENELOPE BASS.
Best deal: The most expensive happy-hour item is also the best bargain: the $12 lumache, otherwise a $20 dish. At Lincoln, get the damn pasta.
406 SW 13th Ave., 503-221-6278, masusushi.com. 3-6 pm Monday-Friday, 4-6 pm Saturday-Sunday, 10 pm-close nightly.
[LOW ROLLER] At its regular prices, Masu can cost as much as Yama or Fukami, my picks for the finest sushi in town. But at happy hour? Choose carefully—the specialty rolls are on the menu, but there's no price break—and you're getting some of the best sushi deals in town. A mere $4 to $6 will net you maki filled with albacore tempura, tekka tuna, salmon, salmon skin, eel, or spicy tuna. And the price break on most non-aji-tuna nigiri (but not sashimi!) is just as extravagant, rolling in at almost a 50 percent price break. MATTHEW KORFHAGE.
Best deal: $3 for a duplex of albacore or chinook nigiri from a premium sushi spot? What the hell?
1401 SE Morrison St., 503-234-2427, nostrana.com. 9 pm-close nightly.
The late-night happy hour at O.C.-vibed Nostrana is perhaps Portland's most perfect locale for socially ambitious cheapskates, with the famous pizzas only $7 if you're cool with unadorned margheritas and marinaras, the pasta al forno an equally cheap $7, and a mini-charcuterie plate for $5. The gin comes with housemade tonic for $5 as well—no irritating $2.50 upcharge for Fever Tree as at many houses of fancy tonic—and house wines are the same $5. If you don't let your date see the menu, he'll think you're fancy. If you do, she'll think you're shrewd. Either way, you win. MATTHEW KORFHAGE.
Best deal: The house red and a margherita pizza make a great $12 meal deal.
1632 NW Thurman St., 503-894-8136, olympiaprovisions.com. 3-5 pm daily.
[THE BEST WURST] OP doesn't call its happy hour a happy hour. It is, instead, a "midday menu" filling in that awkward two hours between times anyone would sensibly lunch or dine. But it is here you'll fine the sweet spot on pricing, with a miniature charcuterie platter featuring Portland's finest cured meats for $7 (you can get the full $18 house charcuterie board if you like), a $6 cheese plate, and the city's best hot dog for $5—it isn't even close, and comparing it to other hot dogs is like comparing country ham to other ham. Oh, but did you actually want ham? A really nice ham sandwich is $7, and you can eat it outside or right by the entryway butcher counter—thus treating a fine restaurant as your own personal deli counter. Because it also is your deli counter, except with cocktails. MATTHEW KORFHAGE.
Best deal: The $5 dog, dawg.
901 SW Salmon St., 503-326-1300, southparkseafood.com. 3-6 pm, 10 pm-midnight.
[BURSTING WITH FISH] Southpark is that restaurant with the fish stuck in the building's corner as if caught midjump by a bear. For years it's been the staid and clubby hang of the Schnitz sponsor and theater crowd, much more sexagenarian than sexy. But lately? The happy hour's a little bit sexy. The restaurant's devotion to cheap oysters continues, but it recently shoved some of its best new sides onto the $5 happy-hour menu. The fennel and pistachio-brittle beet plate is one of the best new salads I've had this year—and it's $5 at happy hour. Also $5 are an excellent Mediterranean-inflected butter lettuce with za'atar and yogurt dressing, a build-your-own charcuterie board, a single-serve pizza, clam chowder containing gnocchi, and just about any drink you're likely to get: wine, drafts, well cocktails or a sweet-minded cherry sangria. Don't bother with the $8 burger, though—if you want filler, get the $10 clams instead. MATTHEW KORFHAGE.
Best deal: Stick to the $5 menu, and it's all cheap.
726 SE 6th Ave., 503-841-6675, trifectapdx.com, 5-6 pm Monday-Thursday, 4-6 pm Friday and Sunday, 4-5 pm Saturday.
[FAT HEAVEN] Every day except dishonest Friday and Sunday—when your time window inexplicably doubles—happy hour is one hour only, the first hour Trifecta is open. But it is enough time to fulfill your entire calorie quota for the day by eating a $10 pimento cheeseburger—oozing and monstrous and double-stacked with both patties and cheeses in a thick bun that simply can't compete with the protein-packed salt and fat of the thing. Combine that with a $6 Old Fashioned, Sazerac or Negroni, and you are either off to a hell of a start on your weekend or in a Monday food coma that will take you straight home. MATTHEW KORFHAGE.
Best deal: You're here for the burger and the cocktail. Get the burger and the cocktail.