A standout in an area of downtown where you can literally stumble out of one bar, directly into another. Dimly lit, loungey and uber-hip, without being pretentious. XV specializes in quality cocktails and tasty chow. Djs do their stuff almost every night so that you may get your groove on.
The Shanghai is in the heart of Portland's party-town, located mostly underneath Berbati's Pan with the entrance, upstairs lounge and outdoor seating on the corner. The subterranean portion of the bar is actually part of Portland's infamous Shanghai Tunnels. The Shanghai can get pretty crazy, which can fulfill that fun downtown party need. Stiff drinks and affordable Pan-Asian and American food is served as well.
If someone were to make a Broadway musical about the Open Road and America, that Broadway musical would look a lot like Kelly's Olympian. The neon, the road signs, the decorative motorcycles all scream "theme bar," but Kelly's Olympian manages to avoid the inauthenticity the décor would imply. One of the oldest eateries in Portland (it opened in 1902), Kelly's has the gravitas of a place that's been around for over a century. The food is... well... bar food, but the drinks are on the deep side, the tap list is long, and much of the clientele could probably tell you a thing or two about motorcycles. It's not quite a grim and gritty biker bar—but it's not faking anything, either. JOE STRECKERT