It may not be the most PC admission, but I use gay pride weekend as an excuse to ogle hot gay men in their hot gay underpants (or, even better, hot gay men without their hot gay underpants). Besides the parade, the best place to do this in Portland is the part of town nicknamed "Vaseline Alley," where there are more steamy gay bars per capita than anyplace in town. This weekend the bars on the Alley are hosting a wild-style, dance-in-the-streets party all day Sunday called "Taking Pride in Stark" (10 am-10 pm, between 10th and 11th on Stark, all ages in the streets, over 21 on the sidewalks, $3 suggested donation). When you need some respite from the sun, duck into a few of these legendary watering holes:
1125 SW Stark, 228-0486
Undoubtedly my favorite bar in Portland, Three Sisters offers one million percent fun. Hot men perform theatrical and acrobatic stripteases on stage, then get naked and wag their penises in your face. My favorite stripper, the extremely acrobatic and well-hung Tarzan, isn't around anymore (rumor has it he left on the Playgirl tour), but the tavern still employs plenty of sculpted eye candy. Whatever your fetish, the strippers deliver, dressing up like construction workers, angels, businessmen, and more. Make sure you stuff your pockets with singles, 'cause you'll be spending at least a good hour at the rack.
1035 SW Stark, 226-4171
On Saturday night, Boxxes takes advantage of their dancefloor and hosts a homorific party called "Rebel Gay Pride." Then they have to get up on Sunday and do it all again. Traditionally, this relatively small, dark bar has a more polished, slightly older, yuppie crowd than say, Silverado, but during Pride all bets are off, and hipsters, fashionistas, bears, leather folk, and regular people all swarm the scene.
The Eagle Bar
1300 W Burnside, 241-0105
At one point there were mumblings about the Eagle being one of the most "hardcore" gay bars in Portland. Then I heard it wasn't even a bar, but rather a raunchy BDSM sex club with blood running down the walls. Such were the images conjured by the supposedly knowledgeable who had "seen things" "in there." Naturally, I popped in to have myself a gander, specifically intending to check the loft, where apparently all the really brutal leather mask and chains stuff went down, and what did I find? A perfectly mellow gay bar with a delightfully sweet bartender. And in the infamous loft? Some nice bear boys enjoying a quiet game of pool. Plus, the drinks, in keeping with one of the oft-lauded virtues of gay bars, were cheap and strong. I can't say that it wasn't disappointing not to see dudes suspended from hooks, but I'll take another friendly watering hole any day.
1038 SW Stark, 227-5887
Scandals is the most middle-of-the road bar on the strip, not subscribing to any particular theme, and promoting a comfortable drinking atmosphere. They've got plenty of places to sit, a good-looking crowd, and televisions broadcasting gay-themed videos in case the person sitting across from you is boring as shit. Over the weekend they'll be selling Stoli drinks with proceeds going to Cascade AIDS Project, while proceeds from the entire "Taking Pride in Stark" event go to the GLBT community center Q Center as well as CAP.
Red Cap Garage
1035 SW Stark, 226-4171
Red Cap reminds me of an LA gay bar, with big garage doors that are up in the summer, and those wonderful fancy water misters to keep you cool. Heads turn, and people look sharp, mingling among the high, tall tables and the bar. (Note: This is probably the safest gay bar of the bunch to eat at, although I can't vouch for sure as it's been awhile).
1217 SW Stark, 224-4493
Silverado appeals to my depraved sensibilities, with its dark, divey, auditorium-like space featuring porn films as a backdrop to strippers. The paid dancers may not be as hot as those at Three Sisters, but they're still giving it their all. On a typical evening at the Silverado you'll find more straight folks in here, because guys will follow wild, dick-crazed ladies to the end of the earth. Silverado, beyond hosting one of the most diverse crowds, is one of the best choices if you're looking for someone to lay (oh, I mean love).