OMG, DO GOURMANDS love to get drunk on the cheap at Little Bird. As you can see from this year's Happy Hour Guide, there's no shortage of Portland spots to get you and a pal both wrecked and stuffed for far less than the cost of your vintage Frye boots.
So we've called in the experts, conducting an informal survey of chefs, bartenders, drinkers, and eaters to point out their favorites and share some secrets. Sure, pretty much no one could reach consensus on the value of Miller High Life in the cheap beer pantheon, but there were a few things everyone could agree on: the late-night glory of Le Pigeon's sister restaurant and that dogs are welcome to join for a cheap drink, but leave your spawn at home.
Read on for the inside scoop on outrageous afternoon and late-night boozapaloozas.
Your name and job title: Ryan Roadhouse, CEO at Nodoguro industries
What's your favorite happy hour? Fish Sauce [407 NW 17th]. Perfect snack-sized pho portions with surprisingly great beverage offerings.
Is it classy or trashy? I guess it's kind of classy. Nice little family operation with a nice dining room. It still feels a bit like a secret for some reason.
What is the best or worst thing that's happened to you at happy hour? Witnessing a dude get so drunk he pooped himself. He ditched his white jeans in the bathroom and bolted out of the restaurant pantsless.
What should be served at every happy hour? Pho or chicken liver pâté.
Kids at happy hour: Yay or nay? Dogs? I can think of better "playdates" than happy hour. Dogs don't bother me unless they are yappy.
Your name and job title: Janis Martin, bitchcook at Tanuki
Favorite happy hour? St. Jack [1610 NW 23rd]. Chicks love St. Jack.
Is it classy or trashy? Classy, without being stuffy. Amazing cocktails by Alan Akwai. They serve my favorite French bitter liqueur, Suze. Chef Aaron [Barnett] and his team do amazing things with organ meats. And their madeleines are made to order.
Your secret, guilty-pleasure happy hour? Anywhere that has Big Buck HD. Because virtual tour guide Anita is a whore.
Afternoon or late night? Whenever I have a chance to flee 'Nuki.
Should all happy hours be legally required to give out free Miller High Life? No to Miller High Life. I'm far from a snob, but that stuff is just swill.
Kids at happy hour: Yay or nay? Dogs? No kids. Anywhere.Ever. Dogs, everywhere, always.
Your name and job title: Ben Jacobsen, founder and CEO of Jacobsen Salt Co.
Favorite happy hour? Rum Club [720 SE Sandy]. It's just down the road from our headquarters in Southeast, and I love the "Surly Bartender," a bartender's choice cocktail served with a bottle of Rainier.
Is it classy or trashy? It's got that perfect mix of trash 'n' class. Grit-glam, one might say.
Your secret, guilty-pleasure happy hour? The tater tots at Belmont Inn [3357 SE Belmont]. So good.
Afternoon or late night? Afternoon. I tire easily.
What's the best and/or worst thing that's happened to you at a happy hour? Years ago I went to a vodka happy hour while I was living in Denmark. It somehow rolled into an epic all-night situation, ending with me eating about four or five Danish polse at 4:30 am. The polse! With fried onions, thin sliced pickles, mustard, and ketchup. Good times.
Should all happy hours be legally required to give out free Miller High Life? No. Because Rainier.
Your name and job title: Rick Holguin, executive chef at Raven and Rose
What is your favorite happy hour? Acropolis' [8325 SE McLoughlin] late-night happy hour. Because... after a long, exhausting night cooking on the line, I can think of nothing better than a steak dinner at a strip club. Steak and legs. HA!
Is it classy or trashy? Classy! What's classier than steak dinners and beautiful ladies?
Afternoon or late-night happy hours? Late night. While other people are out gobbling $6 burgers, chicken liver pâté, or $1 off cocktails, I'm rockin' the line. That's why I go to happy hour after the "day walkers" are tucked away in their banker's hour beds. Late night is where it's at!
Should all happy hours be legally required to give out free Miller High Life? No, but Rainier would be cool. It's non-GMO! I'm all about health, that's why I drink Rainier.
What food must be served at all happy hours? I personally think everywhere should offer fish 'n' chips! With ketchup. AND vinegar. AND tartar. AND a happy ending.
Your name and job title: Anthony Garcia, co-proprietor of Shift Drinks, a new bar set to open in the West End in May
Favorite happy hour? Little Bird [219 SW 6th]. The burger is killer and $5. But you can also get seared foie for cheap. I happy houred it there [recently], and went the foie route and they did me a solid by shaving Oregon truffles on top, too. Nice.
Is it classy or trashy? I'm not really down for the trashy side of happy hour. Little Bird is happy hour for grownups.
What about your secret, guilty-pleasure happy hour? I will throw down a dozen crispy rolls at Luc Lac [835 SW 2nd] for happy hour and not even bat an eye.
Should all happy hours be legally required to give out free Miller High Life? The thing about Miller High Life is that it's actually one of the best food beers out there and it's so, so inexpensive. I think the OLCC [Oregon Liquor Control Commission] would have something to say about giving away beer, though.
Kids at happy hour: Yay or nay? Dogs? Happy hour is for adult humans.
Your name and job title: Rudy Speerschneider, churnmaster at Salt & Straw
Favorite happy hour? The High Dive [1406 SE 12th]. After work, I get my deliciously well-served happy-hour beer or two in me before the Blazers game starts on the TV in the outdoor patio overlooking the SE 12th and Hawthorne traffic zigzagging through the couplet diversion and into the beautiful sunset over the West Hills.
Is it classy or trashy? Both, as the name of the place implies! Solid, sweet service while watching an assortment of slipshods walk by.
Afternoon or late night? Afternoon delight!
Should all happy hours be legally required to give out free Miller High Life? Only if you're in a shitty band, or having a shitty day (for which you'd probably have to show proper certification).
What food must be served at all happy hours? Prawns.
Kids at happy hour: Yay or nay? Dogs? Nay to kids! And yay to dogs, but only if they can show the proper certificates to qualify for a free Miller High Life.
Your name and job title: Chris Onstad, founder of Portland Soda Works (and former Merc food critic)
Your favorite happy hour? Ciao Vito [2203 NE Alberta] for every reason except seating, which is limited. Upscale grown-up happy hour, like Lincoln. Jose Chesa's ghost lives on in the bill of fare.
Is it classy or trashy? Classy! There is even a cloth napkin you get. And the people do respects left and right.
What about your secret, guilty-pleasure happy hour? Bottomless burritos at El Dia de los Guapos—I've made myself sick so many times, then just charged right back in again. Love it! The black beans are so good. [Editor's note: THIS PLACE IS NOT REAL! In fact, if you Google it, you just get images of hot topless men. So, thanks, Chris!]
Afternoon or late night? Afternoon, that way you stop caring what you spend later that night.
What food must be served at all happy hours? Jalapeño poppers. This is very simple.
Kids at happy hour: Yay or nay? Dogs? How about puppies only? That way it's like kid dogs, and everyone loves them. Bigger dogs can be smelly and have attitude issues. Kids usually just harsh vibes.