Open Containers 

Portland's best drinking patios

Drinking on a great patio should be a basic human right, along with freedom of speech and never having to hear your parents have sex. There is hands-down nothing better than sitting in the sun with a pack of smokes and a margarita, ingesting as much cancer as possible while sitting perfectly still. Luckily, the city of Portland seems to agree with me—about patios anyway. There's a bumper crop of patio'd restaurants this summer, with lots of new entries and a few standards that are worth revisiting.

Plan B

1305 SE 8th, 230-9020

You probably still know it as "Acme," but in fact the inner Southeast venue is under new ownership and now goes by the name of Plan B. The new owner aims to make Plan B a hub for bike riders of all stripes, and to ditch the electro/rave DJ nights Acme had been holding in favor of punk shows (though queer dance night Booty will continue). The interior is much the same, though, and the vast and sprawling patio still offers plenty of opportunities for outdoor tippling. Plan B has the closest thing to a beer garden you're going to find in Portland—live music, scattered picnic tables groaning under the weight of pitchers of beer, and a menu full of cheap, satisfying eats (try the turkey BLT, "phoney island" veggie dog, or bacon-wrapped hot dog). ALISON HALLETT

Jáce Gáce

2045 SE Belmont, 239-1887

Pronounced Yah-say Gah-say, the namesake of this brand-new Belmont bar was a prolific hang glider pilot who had, according to the menu, an "unapologetic passion for the waffle." Not sticking too hard to any one theme, Jáce Gáce is a waffle house, art gallery, and bar/coffee shop (they serve beer and wine) rolled into one compact, mod little space. Located near the bustling intersection of 20th and Belmont, the tables are kept near the front of the restaurant to give the space in back an art gallery feel. A garage door opens up onto the patio, which is filled with wrought-iron deck furniture and arty vibes, making it a perfect spot to grab a glass of wine with your walnut, Brie, and honey-coated waffle. JESSICA OLIEN

Encanto

5225 N Lombard, 286-2929

The Virgin of Guadalupe candle wouldn't light. The wick was buried. But this didn't stop my friends and I from enjoying our bohemia in the gravel-filled backyard patio at Encanto. With mismatched plastic tablecloths and a somewhat surly waiter (in a good way), the consensus was that this would be a good restaurant to get drunk at. Well on our way to testing this theory, we decided some food was in order, so we got the beets and a plate of beef ceviche (which is cooked and surprisingly yummy). And then more beer. And then decided to leave because my friend was afraid for his computer in the car. JO

Roadside Attraction

1000 SE 12th, 233-0743

You know Roadside Attraction? That weird bar by the Basement Pub with the really high fence around it that looks like a tourist trap straight out of Jackson Hole, Wyoming? Well, despite an exterior that evokes jackalopes and Georgia O'Keefe postcards, Roadside Attraction is actually a better-than-decent bar with a huge, rambling patio boasting a bunch of picnic tables and umbrellas, and funny, shady little nooks that are a perfect place for reading, or giving surreptitious handjobs. The bar also features pool, a free jukebox, and, most importantly, cheap drinks (there's a rotating beer selection and a full bar, but winos are the real winners here, as the bar offers a glass for a mere $3.50). The food menu is a succinct one-pager with nachos, meatloaf, a "mixed grill" with your choice of meats or veggies, black beans and rice, etc. Roadside Attraction is busy but not too, with a fairly mellow crowd; all told, a nice alternative to the usual Southeast haunts. AH

Local Beet

2415 NE Alberta, 287-7760

From the folks who brought you the Cup and Saucer, Local Beet is a recent addition to the sustainable dining scene. It's fairly small inside, with a handful of tables and seating at the bar; the walls are orange, the ceiling is red, and the overall impression is that of a well-intentioned, vaguely hippie joint aspiring to be a new neighborhood hangout. If it succeeds at this, it will be in part because of the ginormous outside seating area, which has tons of picnic tables that just beg you to grab a pint and kill an afternoon. The menu is veggie friendly (focusing on local ingredients, natch), plus a few reasonably priced taps, some clever house cocktails, and a full bar. AH

rontom's

600 E Burnside, 236-4536

rontom's is a dark, high-ceilinged bar with a stylized '50s-suburban-living-room-meets-airplane-hangar aesthetic. Even the food is retro-chic: "Midwestern tapas" means nostalgic offerings like fondue, creamed corn, and Tofutti Cuties. The interior of rontom's is great for sipping cocktails with your well-heeled friends (while discreetly cruising the room—pretty people congregate here), but on a late summer evening the place to be is out back. The patio is one of the best in town: There's tons of seating, music pumped out from inside, and the tables are generally packed with rowdy young folks table-hopping, drinking, and smoking like champs. AH

Yakuza

5411 NE 30th, 450-0893

I swear sitting out on Yakuza's Zen-style patio I had a fleeting image of the entire place being a setting in some Japanese animation movie. Okay, the sake didn't help, but the impossibly red, bubbly chairs and the perfect, diffused sunlight gleaming off of my sashimi made me feel a little uneasy, as if a Pokémon was about to pop out from behind one of the perfectly-maintained-to-look-as-though-they-aren't plants in the Zen garden. The exterior of the house-cum-restaurant is equally trippy, with aluminum siding and what appears to be some sort of prairie dog habitat growing out of the roof. Regardless, it was all quite impressive: Good sushi, a cute sushi chef, and as fine a place as any to sip some sake on a summer evening. JO

Mississippi Station

3943 N Mississippi, 517-5751

Warm wooden tables, fieldstone walls, and plenty of lush plants make Mississippi Station's back patios—that's right, plural—ideal spots to while away a summer evening. There's the main back patio, likely crowded with people enjoying the place's laidback menu of sandwiches, pastas, and pizzas in front of a fireplace. Then there's the tiny nook of a back patio—I wouldn't have noticed it, had our server not led the way. In such a secret location, with a canopy of trees overhead, and the street so far away, you'll be transported back to your childhood summer vacation clubhouse in the woods—only this time, with a refreshing cocktail in your hand (like the Singapore Sling, with gin, cherry brandy, sloe gin, and orange juice. Yum.). AMY J. RUIZ

Pause Kitchen and Bar

5101 N Interstate, 971-230-0705

This comfortable N Interstate bar and restaurant has a number of picnic tables outside, plus a well-manicured lawn upon which children can frequently be found romping, mercifully far from adults who are just trying to have a beer in the sunshine. Pause's food and atmosphere are both a cut above other similar establishments, with a stylish interior and a menu that includes a killer ham sandwich, excellent mac 'n' cheese, and sliders with house-ground hamburger meat (or try the veggie sliders with tiny, homemade garden patties). Kill a summer afternoon with the "Everyday Special": two sliders, fries, and a pint for $7. AH

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