It is a minor miracle that the Low Brow has been allowed to continue to exist despite the furious upscaling of everything that surrounds it. It has long held the title as "the only good bar in the Pearl," among those who will probably never live in said neighborhood, and as such is probably viewed as a token concession to Portland dive bar "weirdness" that authenticates the experience of living in a renovated warehouse condo. That's what you call a win-win! The place is kept so dark that you have to take a moment to adjust your eyes, and the drink prices basically can't be beat within a half-mile radius. MARJORIE SKINNER
Located in the Jupiter Hotel complex, the Doug Fir Lounge -located below the restaurant and bar, is like a super-cool log cabin bunker from the future. Playing host to some of the best touring and local bands it is by far one of the most unique music venues in the pacific northwest. The gorgeous log cabin-themed diner hosts a variety of musical events on their lower level, so you can see a show, drink a cosmo, and eat a "Fir Burger" all at the same place, then pass out in a swank room at the Jupiter Hotel just next door. The popular happy hour boasts some of the best cheap bar food in town, but get there early if you want to get a seat, because the lounge fills up quick with well-heeled urbanites.
This Stumptown location in the heart of the Belmont shopping district is great for people watching and of course, getting a superb cup of your favorite legal stimulant.
Stylish yet minimal Finnish design-inspired decor (named after the Finnish designer/architect) compliments the noshy menu. Strong cocktails match their price, along with decent selection of wines. Bare-bones (former)smoking lounge connects the main space with a nice little patio in back.
The place where all the cool kids go, Dot's is a one-of-a-kind Portland icon of sorts. It's overpoweringly dark, but once your eyes adjust, you can enjoy velvet paintings of doe-eyed children, anti-drug posters from other countries, and more from their rotating collection of kitschy art. Dot's serves some fantastic junk food and a fine variety of classic cocktails and sodas (Lime Rickey anyone?). Jalepeño cheese fries, the Gentle Ben (the vegetarian version of the Ruben), the generously portioned Caravan Platter (falafel, hummus, olives, tomatoes, feta, pita), and a frosty PBR for me, please!