Best for: Brews with killer views on the city’s eastside.
11:30 am-11 pm Monday-Thursday, 11:30 am-midnight Friday, 4 pm-midnight Saturday, 4-11 pm Sunday. $$.
The drizzly, gray falls, winters and—yes—sometimes springs are probably what prevent more bars from opening semi-exposed spaces at the tops of the tallest buildings in Portland. Compared to other cities, we had been in a near-permanent drought when it came to drinking options on roofs. Slowly but surely, there’s been progress. Altabira is one of the few scenic perches on the city’s eastside and the most beer-focused entry in David Machado’s restaurant portfolio (Tanner Creek Tavern, Nel Centro), with 16 taps pouring primarily Northwest producers. Sure, it’s spendy, but who wouldn’t shell out a little more for sweeping views, patio heaters and fire pits? ANDI PREWITT.
Best for: Respite from the Northwest Portland crowds and Spam in a slider.
3 pm-1 am Monday-Friday, 11:30 am-1 am Saturday-Sunday. $$.
A quaint corner bar can be easily overlooked in chic Northwest Portland, which is why this is one of the best places to grab a beer by the likes of de Garde or Upright from one of the eight well-curated taps and some fancified pub grub before joining the well-clad crowds elsewhere. Snack on Americana-soaked dishes like Spam sliders ($4) and warm crab dip with wontons ($11), or grab a prime rib French dip ($15) with salty au jus if you’re feeling particularly peckish. PARKER HALL.
Best for: Lao food served in a secret beer bar.
4579 NE Cully Blvd., 503-206-8911
4-10 pm Monday-Friday, 11 am-10 pm Saturday, 10 am-9 pm Sunday. $.
Once home to a seedy strip club, Cully Central brought new energy to a bleak stretch of Northeast Cully Boulevard that didn’t offer much in the way of dining, let alone family-friendly eateries. Not only is it warm, bright and welcoming, with games of ladder ball and giant Jenga on the patio as well as Monopoly and Bananagrams inside, there is a delicious lineup of Lao dishes, like a crispy rice salad ($10) seasoned with fresh herbs and lime juice served with green leaf lettuce to transport that blend to your mouth. Cully Central has at least one more surprise: It’s a solid beer bar with 20 handles boasting favorites from Breakside and pFriem. ANDI PREWITT.
Grain & Gristle
Best for: An outpost for Upright beer and food deals like the daily “2fer.”
9 am-10 pm Monday, 3-10 pm Tuesday-Thursday, 9 am-11 pm Saturday, 9 am-10 pm Sunday. $$.
Fans of Alex Ganum’s Upright beer have long known this barnlike wood-grained pub has functioned as a de facto outpost for his brewery. Though recently sold to new owners, we’re told not much will change other than a tap list with more brands. It also has good eats—the burger ($15), with a thick patty of beef from a line of Herefords cultivated since the mid-1800s at Oregon’s Hawley Ranch, was named Portland’s best by WW two years ago. Keep an eye out for deals like the daily “2fer”—an entree, sides and two pints—or the Beers and Bites, which for $20 gets you three beers paired with a trio of snacks. ANDI PREWITT.
Best for: An impressively long beer list that’s heavy with Belgians and a classic pastrami sandwich.
5 pm-late Monday-Saturday, 4 pm-late Sunday. $$-$$$.
Higgins is like a comfortable long-term relationship. Sometimes you take it for granted when a hot new restaurant opens, but then it’s there for you when a warm corner bistro is exactly what you need. Forgo the white tablecloth side of the house and slide into a well-worn, high-backed booth enveloped by floor-to-ceiling dark wood paneling. It’s a little cozier among the beer handles, cask engine and hurried keg traffic that crosses the bar floor every time one empties. Beyond the 12 taps are dozens of bottled varieties along with the classic open-faced pastrami sandwich ($16), with gooey sharp white cheddar and a crispy crust. If you need to impress that special beer geek in your life, Higgins has you covered with a $326 bottle of 2001 Chimay Grand Reserve. However, a $10 pour of Chimay Cinq Cents White Label will probably hit the spot, too. ANDI PREWITT.
Best for: Freshly baked sandwiches and a variety of beers from producers across the state.
4 pm-2:30 am Monday-Friday, 10 am-2:30 am Saturday-Sunday. $$.
Classic Northwest bar snacks like freshly shucked oysters ($18 a half-dozen, $36 a dozen) and a fantastic charcuterie board ($16) combine with more hearty fare at this upscale Mississippi Avenue pub, making it the perfect compromise when one friend wants drinks and the other is famished. For the hungry, we recommend one of three freshly baked sandwiches ($12-$13), which range from the umami-packed mushroom Philly to a fatty smoked trout BLT. PARKER HALL.
Best for: Midwestern grub and Packers fans.
One of the hardest-working ovens in all of Portland surely lives at Saraveza. It was, after all, the only major appliance in the kitchen at one point. Since opening in 2008, that oven has turned out more than 80,000 pasties—making the beer bar synonymous with steamy, savory meat pies that tend to be popular in former mining regions. The menu has expanded following a remodel two years ago, but you’ll still find Midwestern dishes, Packers games on TV, and a wildly varied tap list, with everything from saisons to spiced ciders to a Czech Pils. ANDI PREWITT.
Best for: The best German beer list in town and dishes from the Fatherland.
3 pm-1:30 am Monday-Thursday, 11:30 am-1:30 am Friday, 11 am-1:30 am Saturday-Sunday. $$.
This dark corner bar is as close as you’ll get to Germany this side of the Atlantic. Frothy imported beers come in brewery-branded glassware in large metric increments, and Fatherland classics like currywurst ($7) and jägerschnitzel ($19)—seared pork loin with mushroom gravy, spätzle, and tart red cabbage—taste like something your host mother whipped up from an old family recipe. PARKER HALL.
Tulip Shop Tavern
Best for: A tap list crafted by a Saraveza alum filled with local breweries like Wayfinder and Ruse.
There’s not a lot to complain about at Tulip Shop Tavern, the new business located in the old Pop Tavern. Aside from the black-light mural and the crackle of peanut shells underfoot, the most noticeable upgrade is the revamped beer menu. Co-owner Tyler Treadwell’s vision of the beer world he advanced down the street at Saraveza is put to good use here, with a draft list heavy on buzzy brews from local breweries like Wayfinder and Ruse. PETE COTTELL.