Presiding over a busy intersection in what feels like the epicenter of Portland State's urban campus, it's plainly obvious the Cheerful Tortoise doesn't have to try very hard. It's self-styled as a comfy neighborhood sports bar—and, yes, TVs and Timbers and Blazers paraphernalia loom everywhere—where you can catch a game while choosing from a "menu" of various foodstuffs including soup and pizza and sandwiches. But the strong cocktails, bright lighting, lady bartenders in referee uniforms, and persistent vomit crust in the men's room tell the rest of the story. The Tortoise feels just like a joint where dim young men can unthinkingly gather in packs and get shit-faced. DENIS C. THERIAULT
Along with the Palms motel across the street, the Alibi is a rare hold out of the 1950s Polynesian craze. The interior is done up in awesome (if slightly aged) tropical decor including giant Tiki statues, fish-shaped light fixtures and a 3-D hula girl mural. The high-camp decor is complimented by an over-the-top tropical bar menu the food however mostly lies in the plain 'ol bar food realm. If, thatch, neon, tiki torches and Mai Tais aren't enough for you, the Alibi also boasts some of the rowdiest karaoke crews in town, which can be experienced nightly.
Arts Center, Bar, DistroLocation, Lodging, Movie Theater, American, Pub Grub, Burgers, Northwest, Soup/Salad and/or Sandwich, Brewpub
The McMenamins worked their renovation magic on this former elementary school to transform it into a destination for locals and visitors alike. Check out the five different bars, the courtyard restaurant, movie theater, soaking pool and guest rooms for rent as well as a dedicated brewery.
Sooo many beers available! The pride and joy of Concordia Ale House is definitely the beer selection. A comfortable, laid-back atmosphere makes this bar an easy place to chill with friends while chatting, munching or playing a game of pool.
As in: If you're not "in the know," you're not there. Indie art gallery, live music venue, and screening room. They serve bottled beer only but that doesn't deter young hipsters "in the know" from packing the joint.
Sure it's a hole-in the wall but they make a good super-big, super-cheap burrito. Que bueno!
Sick of corporate coffee? Muddy Waters, a worker-owned java joint just may have your cure. A really comfortable atmosphere awaits inside this old storefront on Belmont. Somewhat rustic with nice little artistic touches along with featured work by local artists. Most of their baked goods are done in-house and they have bagels, wraps and other hunger appeasers. Look for live music, spoken word and tarot card readings and a nice progressive attitude.
Hip Southeast coffee shop with various rooms and 2 patios. Rotating local art shows adorn the painted brick walls. Grab a magazine or shove some quarters in the pinball machine. Serving super Stumptown coffee drinks, pastries, bagels and sandwiches, salads and soups.
Not your normal fast-food chain. If you didn't know this already, Burgerville has a tendency to use local, and sustainable products in their better-than-average burgers, fries, shakes and such. You can even find seasonal specials like the pumpkin milkshake or sweet potato fries. And unlike almost all other chain fast food restaurants, those who eschew meat can get a Gardenburger
A casual but popular breakfast/lunch spot serving up Stumptown coffee, fresh egg or tofu scrambles, pancakes, sandwiches, daily specials and more really good stuff including what may possibly be the best hashbrowns on town. Their newly expanded space and hours mean the long waits for a table are a thing of the past. And yes, Jam makes their own jam, who knew?
A neighborhood bar that bakes pizza and grinder sandwiches in their stone hearth oven can't possibly be bad. Add to that a full bar, six rotating taps, live music, free foosball, free pool, pinball machines and all the other amenities and you've got your home away from home.
The Yamhill Pub is a glorious shit crater. It's a hole, a mess, a fucking dive. The walls and floors and sundry surfaces are more graffiti-ed than not, and the pub certainly came by every squiggle honestly. Plastic cups do for the dirt-cheap well drinks, and the very idea of ordering any kind of cocktail seems vastly inappropriate. The only thing that clashes with the Yamhill's perfect image of a dive is the surprisingly decent collection of taps. Even in the midst of punk squalor, Portlanders still demand a decent IPA. The Yamhill Pub is amazing. It's perfect. Never go there. You'll ruin it. JOE STRECKERT