Barhop 'til You Drop 

The Year in Bars

Is there such thing as too many bars? Not in this town, apparently—if the number of new bars that opened this year is any indication, demand is just about limitless. It makes sense—the ideal bar scene for a heavy drinker is one in which there are enough bars to choose from that you don't have to return to the scene of last night's humiliation until you're pretty sure the bartenders have forgotten what an ass you made of yourself.

Loads of worthy bars opened this year and we didn't have a chance to cover all of them. Here are a few highlights.

Bye and Bye

1011 NE Alberta, 281-0537

A certain Portland aesthetic is summed up in the vegan, bike-friendly Bye and Bye, and those who still imagine that complaining about "hipsters in tight pants" makes for compelling social commentary should probably stay away. For the rest of us, though, the Bye and Bye is a fine, fashionable bar with abundant seating, a great patio, and good drinks. ALISON HALLETT

Matchbox Lounge

3203 SE Division, 234-7844

The smallish Matchbox Lounge opened this summer, and boasts a clean, modern interior and reasonably priced, higher-end bar food—think Slow Bar—that gets cheaper during happy hour (4-6 pm daily, all day Sunday). The space can feel a little sterile, but you probably won't notice when you're downing their excellent burger or semi-legendary steak salad. AH

Slingshot Lounge

5532 SE Center, 445-6649

Foster's Slingshot Lounge has been gaining slow but steady momentum since they opened, expanding their digs to include a game room that features pool, darts, pinball, shuffleboard, and the Holy Grail of bar games: air hockey. Throw in a decent jukebox, tattoo-themed art, and a friendly resident cat, and you've got a stylish local joint befitting this up and coming 'hood. AH

The Standard

14 NE 22nd, 233-4181

Reed Lamb was a popular bartender at Club 21 before he opened the Standard, and his new bar pairs the Club's no-frills egalitarianism with a hip as hell, vintage-y aesthetic. There's pool, shuffleboard, Silver Strike Bowling, a decent jukebox, a huge patio with umbrella-covered picnic tables, and smoking indoors and out. Don't miss the glittering bar-top mosaic, hand made from broken CDs. AH

East End

203 SE Grand, 232-0056

After a couple unsuccessful attempts at getting this fantastic location to work, one hopes the punk rockers who've taken over and created the East End will make it last. They're looking strong out of the gates with good live music, a readymade scene of loyal regulars, and a smart bar food menu that doesn't overextend its ambition, but is infinitely more appealing than what you would have made for yourself were you in a half-drunk state at home (vegans and carnivores will be equally appeased). MARJORIE SKINNER

North

5008 SE Division, 546-9973

Yet another new bar on Division, North is a laidback, unassuming little neighborhood bar with extraordinarily friendly bartenders. Non-smoking, pool, good nachos, and a decent jukebox. What more do you want? AH

Teardrop Lounge

1015 NW Everett, 970-8331

If your idea of a fancy drink is one of those shots that's supposed to taste like chocolate cake, this probably isn't the bar for you. The swanky Teardrop bar is absolutely the place to experience high-end cocktail alchemy (or, eugh, "mixology"). On their drink menu, you might run across ingredients like saffron, habeñero-orange bitters, or house-made grenadine—the bar serves grown-up cocktails, not just a means to the end of getting wasted. (Like I said, it's not for everyone.) AH

Maiden in the Mist

639 SE Morrison, 232-5553

The nautically themed Maiden in the Mist seems to have hit its stride, recently contending for the title of Portland's penultimate date spot. (The ultimate date spot, of course, is the Slammer. Three tacos for a dollar on Wednesdays!) The Maiden is quiet, the lighting is flattering, and there's enough mermaid erotica decorating the place to put anybody in the mood. (Kidding! Kind of.) And, of course, no write up of this bar would be complete without mentioning the tarot readings on Gypsy Thursdays (see maideninthemist.com for more info). AH

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