Tyler Gross

Headwaters at the Heathman
1001 SW Broadway

Here’s my dream weekday dinner scenario: a plush hotel lobby where I can sit in a comfy seat and read a book and drink something with bourbon in it and eat a cheese plate for one while no creepy men try to pay for my drinks. I should be able to realize this goal, right? Wrong. It’s surprisingly tricky. But the fishy-Frenchy Headwaters delivers. Their happy hour menu features cocktails on tap—mine had whiskey and came with the most beautiful oversized ice cube I have ever seen. The cheese plate DOES NOT fuck around, proffering a tantalizing mix of soft and hard cheeses and savory delights. And even the fish stuff is good. I hate oysters, but I’d eat them here. I wouldn’t eat them at any time but happy hour, though, because I’m not made of money. But if you, like me, enjoy a fancy hotel happy hour free of creeps and full of reading? I’ve found it. It’s here. Let’s all go and not talk to each other. MEGAN BURBANK

Happy Hour: Mon-Fri 2-6 pm, Sat-Sun 3-6 pm, $5 cocktails & beer, $6 punch, $7 wines, $3-40 menu


Huber’s Café
411 SW 3rd

This iconic 138-year-old downtown establishment is a must-visit. The back barroom with the wood paneling, the antique cash register, the bartenders and wait staff wearing ties and vests, and the era-appropriate music make it feel like you’re time traveling. Huber’s happy hour menu is mostly relevant if you’re hungry—there’s no discount on drinks, including the $11 Spanish coffee people rave about. Though you need to order a $3.50-minimum drink to get the happy hour food prices, the food is cheap. Along with a gin and tonic, I got the smoked salmon plate—cold (grilled) salmon served with rye bread with cream cheese, capers, and onions—for $5.50 and enjoyed it. I followed it up with two tender Mongolian beef skewers for $4.50. If you haven’t been to Huber’s, you should go regardless. DOUG BROWN

Happy Hour: daily 4-6:30 pm & 9 pm-close, $2.50-8.50 menu


Jake’s Grill
611 SW 10th

While this sister outpost of Jake’s Famous Crawfish opened in 1994—more than 100 years after the storied original—it still grips firmly onto an old-school, clubby atmosphere, with a broad wooden bar, tiled floor, and, of course, the requisite Pacific Northwest taxidermy. Fortunately, the bar at Jake’s Grill is much more spacious than its cozy counterpart, and a seat at the rail is usually assured even during the busy happy hour. The food is cheap, predictable, and arrives almost instantaneously, so grab a $4 pint and start gorging. You can get two oyster shooters ($3; a horseradish-y combination of awesome and gross) or four salmon croquettes ($7; think fishy, upscale hushpuppies), but to really line that belly for serious boozing, get the heart-arresting Steakhouse Poutine. For a mere $5, you’ll get a brick-sized portion of weighty potatoes, squeaky cheese curds, pancetta, and some pretty good gravy (no pun intended). It’s as decadent, salty, and tasty a way to incite a coronary as one could ask for. NED LANNAMANN

Happy Hour: Mon-Fri 3-6 pm & 9 pm-close, Sat 1-4 pm & 9 pm-close, Sun 3 pm-close, $4 beer, $6 wine, $3-9 menu


Lechon
113 SW Naito

Do you need a happy hour that comes with a gigantic tank of live jellyfish? Lechon has that. It’s also a South American-styled restaurant with a happy hour that’s well supported by hungry and thirsty downtown customers. While the cocktail list is limited, the Lechon margarita is a refreshing after-work delight that will be a big hit with lovers of cucumber. Their food menu is much more ample, with various snacks, fries, salads, and seafood. The fluffy gaucho bread ($4) is a hit, especially when slathered with chimichurri sauce, and is a great value. And if dining alone, feel free to dive face first into the sauce-tastic duck wings with aji honey glaze ($7). You will leave a goddamn mess, but satisfied. WM. STEVEN HUMPHREY

Happy Hour: daily 4-6 pm; Mon-Sat 9 pm-close, $5 beer & wells, $6 wine & cocktails, $4-8 menu


Nel Centro
1408 SW 6th

“This inspired the remodel of my yard!” said a woman at Nel Centro, simultaneously proclaiming her love for the bar’s crisp design and killing one of the last remaining shreds of my soul. As part of Hotel Modera, Nel Centro features quick service, big glass windows, a patio with gas-fueled fire pits, and the generic color scheme and no-eye-contact anonymity legally required of all hotel bars. Nel Centro’s got a stronger beer lineup than most, though—Double Mountain and pFriem on tap, among others, for $4 during happy hour—and a decent happy hour menu with vegetarian options, from the not particularly tempting (mesclun greens with croutons and herbs, $5) to the very solid (pizza topped with thin-sliced potato, Calabrian chile, ricotta salata, and basil, $7). On an otherwise unremarkable Thursday, the bar filled up fast right at 5 pm, even though this bar is easy to forget as soon as you leave—it’s the kind of vague space where a TV silently plays ESPN even as the menu insists its $4 French fries are “pommes frites.” ERIK HENRIKSEN

Happy Hour: daily 4-6 pm, $4 beer & cider, $5 wells, $6 wine & cocktails, $3-8 menu


Paddy’s Bar and Grill 
65 SW Yamhill

Bursting with all the superficial character of your average airport Irish pub, Paddy’s has nonetheless become a go-to for the downtown Portland office inhabitant who craves sweet whiskeys, greasy sustenance, tipsy post-work banter, and cheesy sayings painted all fancy on the ceiling. While we like our Irish dives a bit closer to the Paddy’s of It’s Always Sunny in Philadelphia, downtown Portland’s “oldest Irish pub” has an impressive wall o’ whiskey (and every other liquor known to man) that demands its own ladder, and a respectable array of happy hour food that’ll keep the Guinness in check. You don’t need that conversation with Jeff from Purchasing going off the rails again. The $5 reuben sliders are savory little spheres with a respectable crispiness on the meat, the $8 macaroni and cheese with steelhead is a melty delight, and the $7 combo of a beer and a shot of Tullamore Dew is gross. Because Tullamore Dew is gross. DIRK VANDERHART

Happy Hour: daily 4-6:30 pm, $4 beer, $6 wine, $6.50 cocktail, $3-8 menu


Pine Street Market
126 SW 2nd

I always want to start food fights in Pine Street Market, but that definitely would not be appropriate. It’s like a fancy cafeteria for adults—the kind of people who probably don’t get the urge to throw food at each other very often. But hot dog, the food is pretty good, and there’s even a hot dog restaurant! Pine Street’s various happy hours generally start at 3 pm, so I guess day drinking is allowed (though I’m, like, 75 percent sure food fights are still off-limits). Here’s the deal with the deals: OP Wurst offers a rotating daily dog for $5. Marukin Ramen has happy hour sets where you can get a drink and an appetizer for $8 to $10. The three-piece pork gyoza isn’t enough food to absorb a fiery glass of whiskey that early in the day; I’d go with the beer instead. They also have à la carte items, but the sets are slightly more economical. If cheap beer makes your soul smile, head to Pollo Bravo for $2 drafts. Your mission is to chug, but surreptitiously—we’re all adults here, right? Totally. For daintier sippage, try the $6 Beefeater G&T (the “T” is elderflower tonic, and it is grand). Feast prudently on one-quarter of a chicken. You get to choose one sauce. Haters enjoy hating on aioli, but I can think of zero reasons why. Sometimes when an aioli knocks, you just have to answer. CIARA DOLAN

Happy Hour: Pollo Bravo, daily 3-6 pm & 9 pm-close, $2 beer, $5 vermouth, $6 specialty cocktails, $7 wine, $2-5 menu; Marukin Ramen, daily 3-6 pm, $4 beer, $5 sake, $4-10 menu; OP Wurst, daily 3-6 pm & 9-10 pm, beer $4, rosé $5, menu $1-5


Saucebox
214 SW Broadway

It’s kind of hard to spot during the day, but at night, Saucebox’s neon sign lights up, declares its excellence to NW Broadway, and invites you to come dine at the semi-fancy downtown Asian fusion bar. On its happy hour menu, Saucebox offers traditional and non-traditional Asian-inspired snacks categorized by price: two, three, four, five, and six-dollar snacks and sweets. For $2, I’d recommend the taro chips with furikake and sea salt, or the edamame, but not the way-too-crisp house chicharones (fried pork rinds). There are also $3 snacks like the Saucebox fries or mixed mochi (strawberry and mango), and some vegetable potstickers or Brussels sprouts for $4. If you’ve got a bigger appetite, I’d co-sign a plate of the tofu or chicken pad Thai ($5), or one of the three burgers (all $6) on the menu. Just make sure you get a drink. On my visit the waitress described their cocktail o’ the day ($5) as a “lime popsicle cocktail,” and this was a mojito I wanted to last forever. JENNI MOORE

Happy Hour: Tues-Fri 4:30-6:30 pm, Saturday 5-6:30 pm, $4-8 beer, $5 cocktails, $6 wine & sake, $2-6 menu


Southpark Seafood
901 SW Salmon

The layout of this popular downtown seafood joint seems built to encourage (or force) you to sit in the actual dining room and pay top dollar for plates of Dungeness crab and ribeye. Because if you want to enjoy some of Southpark’s happy hour fare, you have to squeeze yourself into the tiny, often crowded bar and hope your array of plates doesn’t go toppling off the equally diminutive tables. So plot your course through the menu wisely. Kick off with a trio of oysters ($5) and their perfectly spicy Brussels sprouts ($5). Once those are polished off, move to their simple but perfect garlic confit pizza ($8) or their addictive maple cream puffs ($5) that ooze with flavor and pastry cream. Just steer clear of the spicy shrimp and grits ($9), a fine idea in theory, but one that becomes a watery mess moments after it arrives. ROBERT HAM

Happy Hour: daily 3-6 pm & 10 pm-midnight, $5 cocktails, beer, & wine, $5-11 menu


Superbite Aaron Lee

SuperBite
527 SW 12th

Happy hour at Ox’s sister restaurant SuperBite is relegated to the bar unless the host deems the dining room up for grabs, but the small, six-seat nook is cozy and has a pleasant stool-to-counter ratio. Their happy hour would be a good spot to woo a foodie or someone a little fancy. I tried the $2 Dungeness crab (meh) and the $2 duck croquette (A plus: a crispy outside/smooth pâté inside experience) and I’m here to report that the bites are truly bite-sized. But plates-wise, you can take on their Double Stack Cheeseburger, which manages to taste like a McDonald’s Big Mac despite being largely composed of ground shiitake mushrooms. It cost $10 at happy hour, which might seem a little silly, but I was only able to put away half of it and when I looked at the other half later I thought, “My god, there’s a whole ’nother burger in here.” SUZETTE SMITH

Happy Hour: daily 5-6 pm, $1 off beer, $6 wine, $2-15 menu


Swine
808 SW Taylor

The sister bar of Swank Restaurant is open and airy, with huge windows, high ceilings, and suspended slats of wood that almost allow you to forget you’re inches away from the lobby of the Paramount Hotel. The vibe is an interesting combo of Old West primitive-chic and Scandinavian/Lutheran austerity, but there’s more form than function going on here, right down to the fake whiskey still propped behind the bar. On the drinks side of things, a decent selection of cocktails is priced at six bucks during happy hour—make use of Swine’s extensive whiskey list with the frothy, luminescent Lion’s Tail ($6), made with Henry McKenna bourbon and lime, or the medicinal G.R. Clark ($6), a lemony, floral concoction made with Old Forester 1870. Stay away from the Flu Shot ($6), a combo of Dewar’s and beet syrup that tastes like a Band-Aid that’s been left out in the garden. The food menu is solid if not super-cheap, but you can stave off pangs with good stuff like the sticky-sweet root-beer-glazed pork ribs ($10), which are a deep chocolate brown outside, a steak-like pink inside, and come with spicy collard greens. Or get the super-tasty fried chicken sliders ($8), served with pickles on fluffy, pre-segmented dinner rolls. The crab wontons ($9) are fine, but they come, weirdly, on a plate with a little white Chinese takeout container, tipped over just so. (I’m sure it sounded like a cute idea in the menu-planning stage.) Service is super-friendly, which comes in handy when you need directions to the impossible-to-find bathroom, located in the hotel basement—and don’t forget to ask for the keycode before you schlep all the way down there. NED LANNAMANN

Happy Hour: daily 3-6:30 pm, Sun-Thurs 9:30-close, $6 select cocktails, wells & wine, $4 beers, $2-15 menu


Thirsty Lion
71 SW 2nd

The Thirsty Lion originated as a British pub-styled soccer bar, and while traces of these roots remain sprinkled throughout the cavernous interior, you won’t find yourself engulfed in a sea of drunken singing hooligans. The bar boasts 36 beers on tap, with a focus on local and regional breweries. Not a beer drinker? The $4.50 house margarita also gets the job done. Happy hour offers an extensive array of small plates (at $4.95 and 5.95) featuring well prepared takes on traditional pub fare, along with some less conventional offerings. The garlic and ginger seasoned orange chicken pairs nicely with a pint, and true to the Lion’s origins, the Scotch eggs are some of the best in town. While there are cheaper spots to drink in nearby Ankeny Alley, the Lion is a good bet for larger groups with varying palates and dietary restrictions looking to watch a game or get a quick bite before hopping on the MAX for a short ride to Moda Center or Providence Park. CHIPP TERWILLIGER

Happy Hour: daily 3-7 pm & 9:30 pm-close, $4.50 wells, wine, & margaritas, $1 off beer, $4.95-5.95 menu


Tryst
19 SW 2nd

Nostalgia for Tryst’s previous incarnation, Berbati’s, hits the moment you walk in. Tryst even has the old Berbati’s neon sign mounted on their wall, like the head of a prize buck. There’s the same long, tall bar that takes up most of the main room, around which most conversation occurs. This is a good bar to hang out at alone, but there are also nooks hidden away throughout the room for groups. The real incentive for Tryst’s happy hour is their food selection. You’re looking at a solid $5 to $6 price drop on the more filling options like the Tryst Burger ($7) or the Braised Pork Bahn Mi ($6). Furikake fries ($3) are a notch up from your standard bar fry experience because they’re salted with a dried seaweed mix, but the Ding Dong Snack Mix ($3) is just glutinous rice crackers in a cup. SUZETTE SMITH

Happy Hour: Wed-Sun 4-7 pm, $1 off beer, wine, & cocktails, $3-7 menu


Virginia Cafe
820 SW 10th

At 5:30 pm on a Monday, Virginia Cafe was bustling. It’s fair to say this is a popular happy hour. Virginia Cafe is a much beloved old-Portland spot (established 1914, although the location has changed) where the service is gruff but lovable and where you need to meet the $2.50 drink minimum to qualify for happy hour food prices. But you can easily do that in soda. This is a pretty good place for first dates due to the large, dark booths, and most of the happy hour fare is good for sharing. I tried to eat a plate of potato skins ($5) by myself and was quickly overwhelmed by the ratio of cheese and sour cream to actual potato (roughly 80/20). SUZETTE SMITH

Happy Hour: daily 4-7 pm, $1 off beer & wine, $2.50-9 menu


Zarz on First
814 SW 1st

Just a few months old, this new downtown eatery is already staking claim to the “best happy hour in downtown.” A better advertisement might be “Hey, working stiff, we have $5 wine.” For $8, Zarz’s burger was juicy, albeit simple. Hearty thick-cut fries ($3) were perfectly crisp and delicious. A spicy sweet brushing of barbecue sauce on the order of chicken wings ($6) was a highlight. A rotating menu of deviled eggs ($5) rounds out the abbreviated happy hour menu, and the bar boasts a long list of liquor options, with around a dozen taps and a decent selection of wine. While the restaurant itself felt somewhat like an airport bar in its sterility, with delicious food and cheap drinks during happy hour, we’re sure they’ll find their flair and footing soon. BRI BREY

Happy Hour: daily 3-6:30 pm, $5 wells, $6 drafts & wine, $7-8 cocktails, $3-8 menu