Beaker and Flask, 720 SE Sandy, 235-8180
What puts Beaker and Flask over divier whiskey holes are the meat options: pork, mussels, pickled octopus, foie gras, and skate. The liquor collection is best tasted in creative house cocktails like the Unnecessary Noise (bourbon, absinthe, Aperol, and vermouth). What drink goes well with a grilled pork cheek? This is the Portland restaurant to find out.
Branch, 2926 NE Alberta, 206-6266
Branch has wisely focused on their menu, not letting their drink list do all the work. There's an artistry to the refined bar food, for those who want a burger that's more than a burger. But rillettes and polenta are only half of the story. There's also a serious collection of whiskeys with three one-ounce tasters for $18, so you can sample to your little heart's content.
Brooklyn Park Pub, 3400 SE Milwaukie, 234-7772
Brooklyn Park Pub boasts a cozy atmosphere of board games, sports TV, and over 90 varieties of whiskey. There's an A.H. Hirsch from 1974 that you can down like a gentleman while ruling the Scrabble board. The jukebox is trendy, but there's a surly regularity to the customers and staff that really gives Brooklyn Park a down-home character.
The Heathman, 1001 SW Broadway, 790-7752
The Heathman Restaurant has an immediate leg up on the competition: hotel beds you can pass out in if you happen to be wealthy enough. As you'd expect, the food is pricy and the clientele touristy. That doesn't keep the Heathman from serving delicious food (pear and chevre arugula salad for the vegetarians, veal sweetbreads for the carnivores), prime service, and more whiskey than you can shake a stick at. Try getting so drunk you can't shake a stick.
Kells, 112 SW 2nd, 227-4057
Kells is basically Irish Pub 101. There are over 80 choices of whiskey available, with cigars and traditional pub grub from the Emerald Isle. Lamb stew, curry chips (fries), and Guinness-simmered shepherd's pie. They have a great weekend breakfast menu, too, if you want to start barhopping early.
Paddy's, 65 SW Yamhill, 224-5626
If Kells is Irish Pub 101, Paddy's is 303. Mouthwatering whiskeys (120!), including the best Irish whiskey selection in town, sit on Paddy's famous towering booze wall. The décor is elegant and meant to feel like a Dubliner's dream. The food is a mix of old world fare with new world grease. Jalapeño poppers and Guinness, anyone?
Pope House Bourbon Lounge, 2075 NW Glisan, 222-1056
With over 100 whiskeys from $5-70, Pope House Bourbon Lounge attracts drunks of all income brackets. Well-to-do businessmen and poor PSU students rub shoulders in a singular quest for beautiful inebriation. Whiskeyphiles are advised to try the Black Ginger: a mix of soda, Jim Beam Black, and house-made ginger syrup. Yum!
The Whiskey Bar, 31 NW 1st, 227-0405
Club music and a pool table make the Whiskey Bar a draw for some. If you want a live DJ and dancing with your 80-plus whiskeys selection, this is the place to go. The food's not much to write home about, but you'd get a side cramp anyway—this is the whiskey drinker's pit stop for a club-hopping Saturday, not a sit-down joint.