Drinking and sports. It's a pastime as old as, well, drinking and sports. But the worst thing—the worst fucking thing—is being stuck sitting next to three guys cheering for the wrong team, celebrating while your dreams die.
We'd like to help you avoid that.
Portland is a city without a football team, which means Portlanders love literally every team there is, and there is a bar for every team. Bills fan? There is a place. Eagles fan? There is a place.
Here is a home Portland bar for every team in the league, alphabetical by city.
By my lights, there should only be two kinds of bars: the kind with no TVs, and the kind with at least a dozen TVs. Cheerful Bullpen is the second kind-—it has 21 screens. A sister to PSU hangout the Cheerful Tortoise, this sports bar's cozy couch nooks become a kind of Goose Hollow rec room for partisans of the San Francisco Giants or the Washington Huskies, depending on the night. The most reliable contingent, however, is the Buffalo Bills Backers, the most Sisyphean of fan bases and therefore also the most lovable.
2. Chicago Bears: Ship Tavern
7827 SW 35th Ave., (503) 244-7345, mvship.com. Opens at 10 am. Sundays.
The Multnomah Village bar, originally part of beer haven John's Marketplace, sports 24 taps and a handful of cans and bottles, along with a food menu that includes hot dogs, sandwiches and soups and salads made in-house.
Blitz Ladd is in many ways Portland's best sports bar, a labyrinth of big screens, couches, stools and picnic tables fueled by a better-than-respectable draft list and a killer club sandwich, not to mention shuffleboard and a weird skee-ball/Pop-a-Shot hybrid called Basket Fever. It's also the unofficial home of Cleveland sports fans, but nobody's perfect.
4. Denver Broncos: Tom's Pizza
2630 N Lombard St., (503) 283-4217, tomspizzaandsportsbar.com. Opens Sunday by 9 am.
Yes, they have pizza. But for the morning Broncos games, they serve up breakfast, including omelettes and country-fried steak.
Nostalgic suburban expats can now find shelter on the inner eastside at Grand Central Bowl. This Big Al's clone dropped into the old Grand Central bowling alley in 2007 features an updated arcade, two bars pouring Oregon suburb standards, and a labyrinth of conference rooms to boot. It's a veritable family fun center! And even if it lacks the panache of a McMenamins-style remodel, the 12 lanes are pretty.
Since opening her Badger-proud beer bar eight years ago, Sarah Pederson had wanted to serve cheese curds. Aside from being one of the city's best beer bars and bottle shops, Saraveza is a hot spot for the city's Packers faithful.
Deep-frying fish can be a risky proposition, but Corbett Fish House does it better than most clam shacks: The fish is neither overcooked nor greasy, nor does it resemble sawdust, the other danger. Just as the restaurant charmingly stays within "The Guidelines of the Monterey Bay Aquarium Sustainable Seafood List," if you control yourself you might sensibly stay within the obesity guidelines of the National Institute of Health.
6. Kansas City Chiefs: D's Bar
6732 NE Sandy Blvd., (503) 281-1276, dsdive.bar. Opens at 11 am. on Sundays, earlier for morning games.
16 beers are on tap, most of them only $4. Plus, get 50 cents off beer with a service industry I.D.
7. New England Patriots: Yurs
727 NW 16th Ave., (503) 224-0160, yursbarandgrill.com. Opens at 11 am., earlier for morning games.
Yur's is a beautiful example of adaptability, having gone in recent years from resolute cabbie bar to unwitting PNCA after-class slum to, lately, one of the more laid-back sports dives around, with a big ol' screen in the back, pitchers for sale and a side room that looks like the den of your brother-in-law's house, complete with coffee table and couch. Not far from the Timbers or the day-drinker hellscape of Northwest 21st Avenue, dirt-cheap Yur's projects a comparative stately dignity.
8. Oakland Raiders: Bleachers Sports Bar and Grill
575 NW Saltzman Rd., (503) 643-1711, bleacherspdx.com. Opens 9am. Sundays.
Cheer on the black and silver as you indulge in some nachos and mini corn dogs. Just don't sleep on the goldfish racing the last Wednesday of every month.
In the far north of Portland in St. Johns, Lombard House is a long, narrow train-car bar filled with vintage Olympia beer ads and red-cheeked regulars, with a huge patio out back and some sincerely, uncommonly good beers (Upright, Commons, Pfriem, Ruse, rotating Germans and Belgians) served up with equally uncommon hospitality by owner Brian Koch, a former employee of the Commons. Want food? Say you're hungry and chances are one of the people near you works at one of the food carts across the street.
10. Pittsburgh Steelers: A&L Sports Pub
5933 NE Glisan St., (503) 234-7607. Open at 9 am. on Sundays.
It's big. It's cavelike. It's covered in Budweiser racing flags and nicotine stains. The A&L Sports Pub is a Pittsburgh Steelers bar through and through. "About 12 years ago, people from the Steelers came in and asked if this could be a Pittsburgh bar," says one of the bartenders on a quiet night (basketball doesn't get the same love). For Steelers games, upward of 100 fans wreak havoc on the bar's 30-plus taps. For non-Steelers fans, there are plenty of dartboards and video games.
10b. Steelers: Skybox Pub & Grill
7981 SE Milwaukie Ave. (503) 731-6399, skyboxpub.com. Opens at 9 am. on Sundays.
There's an entire bank of TVs behind the bar, plus video games and interesting sports memorabilia.
11. San Francisco 49ers: Wooden Chicken
12500 NE Sandy Blvd., (503) 253-8893, woodenchickenpub.com. Opens at 10 am. on Sundays.
The bar's all hardwood, brick and carpet, with multiple televisions and a sprawling layout tiled with pool tables. During football season, it's a de facto 49ers bar, and even when there's nothing on but pro golf, the NASCAR dads of Parkrose still pack the pool room and video-poker machines. It's not hard to see why, especially during happy hour, when domestic pitchers go for $7.50. And the food is decent, too. Your impulse is to get the fried chicken, but it's a tad dry. Go with the fish 'n' chips instead.
11b. 49ers: Sukis
2401 SW 4th Ave., (503) 226-1181, sukisbar.com. Opens at 9 am. on Sundays.
A dive bar hidden inside a hotel that used to have its own brass band.
12. Seattle Seahawks: Bullseye Pub
4835 SW Pomona St, (503) 477-7194, bullseyepdx.com. Open at 9 am. Sundays.
This Seattle/San Francisco bar pledges its allegiance to the Seahawks and the 49ers. What will they do when the two teams clash?
12b. Seahawks: Fourth Plain Tavern
13206 NE Fourth Plain Blvd A8, Vancouver, WA, (360) 254-3729, Opens at 10 am. on Sundays, slightly earlier for morning games.
Yur's is a beautiful example of adaptability, having gone in recent years from resolute cabbie bar to unwitting PNCA after-class slum to, lately, one of the more laid-back sports dives around, with a big ol' screen in the back, pitchers for sale and a side room that looks like the den of your brother-in-law's house, complete with coffee table and couch.