The Yamhill serves more Pabst than any other bar in Portland and that’s not an easy thing to do. One of the diveyest bars in town, it’s a popular hangout for workin’ guys, punks and bike messengers. Nice bartenders serve up some cheap drinks but don’t cross ‘em! The kitchen is apparently in a constant state of being “remodeled”, so don't expect much to eat.
One of downtown's classic bars, the Virginia Cafe has been around practically forever -since 1922 at the beloved Park Street location. Now in their new digs across from the Library, some of the history is salvaged in the form of many of the fixtures and cozy booths from the old location. But gone are the smoky haze and the claustrophobia-inducing bathrooms. A good basic bar menu, including burgers, sandwiches and snacks is complimented by signature stiff drinks. There's an endearing quality to the Virginia Cafe, because they do interesting things like the "best kissing blot" contest, which features customers' lipstick kiss marks on paper napkins.
One of the friendliest gay bars in town it's bistro-like and sunny with big windows that open to the street in warm weather. Pool tables, darts video crack, tv monitors usually showing footage of inexplicable gay pride parades which is a relief compared to many of it's peers' constant hardcore video porn. Modern, comfortable, convivial. Offering Tater tots and weenies, burgers etc.
Creative cuisine and cocktails. The Saucebox is a conceptualized restaurant with modern pan-asian and pacific islands food and sleek, hip interior decor. The cocktail menu is monstrous, so take your time deciding. The food is spicy and delicate mostly Asian-inspired and fancy but not so high brow/experimental that you don't know what you're eating. Live DJs add to the hip-factor.
Believe it or not, PSU now has it's very own beer hall. The popular Rouge Brewery, creators of over 40 different ales, stouts and lagers (including PSU IPA). Stop in for some pizza, fill your growler, meet some friends, stumble back to class...
With a happy hour that runs until 8(!) a pool table, and an unexpectedly cool patio, MoMo holds down the fort In an area of downtown practically devoid of bars .
The Lotus is one of those bars that's been a bar since, like, forever. You can almost see the mob types and ladies of the night shuffling through the haze. These days it's a little less risqué but you can certainly tie one on there or just catch a good buzz, play trivia on Thursdays or sing some karaoke on Friday or Saturday. Or you can fill your belly. The menu is pretty decent with lots of soup, salad, and sandwich options as well as heartier dinner-type offerings.
Taking up residence in the heart of Downtown, Baliey's window-filled Taproom specializes in 3 offerings: 1). Beer -20 taps and a selection of bottles, local and other craft beers, you won't find Old Style or PBR here. 2). Cheese -a small selection of artisan cheeses from dairies in Oregon, Washington and California. 3). Chocolate -current selections from Euphoria Chocolate in Eugene and Dagoba in Ashland.
Rockin’ downtown music venue with an eclectic clientele (read: bike messengers). Great place for people watching. The Ash Street serves a mean drink but deep fried appetizers, burgers, and sandwiches will soak up that booze for you.
Head down to the basement of the Crystal Hotel to experience live music or just to have a drink and enjoy some super-fancy bar food in the subdued ambiance.