Bible Club PDX
Best for: A trip to the Roaring Twenties through a cocktail glass.
Enter a time machine to the Prohibition era, when the drinks artfully pack a punch and the period décor is strictly, sumptuously on theme. Drinks like the Suffragette (pisco, ginger syrup, lavender bitters, sparkling wine; $13) are served in antique glassware with a Gatsbian garnish, accompanied by a reliable lineup of upscale bar fare like bruschetta, a smoked pork plate and a mean charcuterie board with buratta cheese ($18). LAUREN YOSHIKO.
Best for: Introducing the joy of gin to the non-secret agent crowd.
At this sleek subterranean gin bar—it prefers "gastro cocktail bar"—veteran mixologist Robbie Wilson is spreading the joys of juniper berries to bargoers west of the Willamette. For those who know little of the details that distinguish one type of gin from another, the list of about a dozen $13 cocktails serves as a safe point of entry. As basic as it is, the Botanist G&T should be the go-to for anyone who's familiar with the timeless pleasure of a simple gin drink. PETE COTTELL.
Best for: Elegance, plated, inside a colonial drinking den.
At this casual, candlelit bar, the food is as poetic as the literary excerpts paired with each cocktail. Everything is crafted with a borderless touch, like the umeshu plum liqueur in the Cheap Trick ($13)—a Manhattan-esque, whiskey and angostura bitters-based drink. But every worldly bite matches style with satisfying substance, from James Beard's Butter and Onion Sandwich ($7) to the rice flour waffle with spicy fried chicken strips ($16). LAUREN YOSHIKO.
Five & Dime
Best for: Cocktails $10 and under in a bar channeling the spirit of an old-timey retailer.
6535 SE Foster Road, 5anddimepdx.com. 3 pm-2 am nightly. $-$$.
While you won't find shelves stocked with cheap talcum powder and undergarments, the new bar along the Foster-Powell corridor reflects the prices and spirit of a 20th century trinket emporium. The room intermingles sophistication with subversion, mixing jade shelving stocked with leather-bound books with a neon ombré portrait of Rasheed Wallace, while the cocktails—with themes that range from the Neil Gaiman book American Gods to soft rock hits—also balance tradition and irreverence. ANDI PREWITT.
Best for: A trendy post-work party with tropical drinks, Asian-fusion bar snacks and plants galore.
Despite its hodgepodge aesthetic and roaring popularity among the lower Burnside bros, it's clear the supergroup of service industry veterans who birthed Hey Love have made good on a very specific vision for a very busy nightlife district. Not quite a tiki palace, the overall vibe is heavy on leafy greens and mismatched retro décor, and drinks like the Belafonte (añejo rum, ginger tamarind sarsaparilla, lemon, soda; $11) do plenty to sell the scenery. It's a place where you can grab generous bowls of smooth shrimp curry ($18, $12 for tofu) or tangy fried chicken chow mein ($13) until last call, which is one of the best drunk food options in the neighborhood. PETE COTTELL.
Best for: An intoxicating trip to Cuba down a daiquiri glass—they come in seven varieties.
A reflection of owner Ricky Gomez's Cuban American heritage and his hometown of New Orleans, Palomar doesn't look like many other Portland bars, nor does it taste like one. The interior could be a set piece from HBO's Ballers, and the drink menu is just as colorful, full of piña coladas ($12), daiquiris ($10-$13) and all things slushy and beachy. But where Palomar really sets itself apart is the food, with Cuban diner staples like bistec ($16), lechon asado ($14) and a cubana sandwich ($10) topped with matchstick fries. MATTHEW SINGER.
Best for: Asian bar food and heady cocktails.
232 NW 12th Ave., pinkrabbitpdx.com. 3 pm-2:30 am nightly. $$.
It's difficult to imagine the beloved indie-rock band the National spending much time at Pink Rabbit, but they sure would get a kick out of a buzzy cocktail bar in Portland's tony condo district being named after one of their songs. Powered by alums of Revelry, Barista and nearby Teardrop Lounge, this dimly lit den expends great effort offering clever versions of familiar drinks that always stick the landing, like the vodka and CBD bubble-infused Uncle Valentine ($13) or the sweet sting of the Needle in the Dark ($13). The food menu is a tidy selection of savory snacks, mostly Asian in descent, like mushroom and octopus fritters with gochujang aioli ($8) or a deliriously gooey pile of beef tendon nachos ($12) covered in pork curry and Thai chile-cheese sauce. PETE COTTELL.
Best for: Throbbing downtempo jams and $80 drams.
In the subterranean space that formerly housed groundbreaking izakaya Biwa, you can find holy grails like Ardbeg's Airigh Nam Beist ($40 for a taste), a discontinued Islay single-malt vintage bottling from 1990, alongside entry-level drams and mixed drinks like the Nobody's Poet ($12), a deftly upscale take on the modern rum cocktail. JORDAN MICHELMAN.
Best for: Ken Forkish's wood-fired food in an auto shop with a romantic makeover.
The third restaurant from Ken Forkish—that's the Ken of Ken's Artisan Pizza and Bakery—bears the imprimatur of its owner, with a wood-fired menu and a bakery in the back. Located inside a former auto shop, the room still looks like a garage, open and airy, but instead of slamming back Silver Bullets, occupants sidle up to the marble-topped bar for scaled-up cocktails like the East Bank Sour ($11), a lightly sugary float of bourbon, egg white and spiced red wine. MATTHEW SINGER.
Vintage Cocktail Lounge
Best for: Superior sips for criminally low prices and pie from Bipartisan Cafe.
With a hole-in-the-wall feel and superior sips, this is probably the only bar in town with more liquor shelves than bar seating and a snack menu that includes slices of pie from Bipartisan Cafe next door. The star of the menu is the Not for Nothin': rye, lemon juice, simple syrup, mint, peach bitters, Thai chile tincture and a splash of ginger brew on the rocks ($9, but a criminally low $6 during happy hour). LAUREN YOSHIKO.
Best for: Classic cocktails with a little something extra added.
The market for upscale cocktail spots with a casual twist is oversaturated, but Wonderly manages to pull off something fairly special. The design has a mellow West Coast aesthetic, while the drink list flirts with the trend of "classic cocktails plus something extra," like the Wonderly Old Fashioned ($11), which blends a trio of well-known whiskeys with rum bitters and orange oil for a smoky, citrusy concoction that's stiff enough to give your sinuses a real wake-up call. Get a Scotch egg ($7) and a plate of warm cheese curds that come with an addicting hot honey sauce ($8). PETE COTTELL.