Tucked back at the base of the West Hills, underneath the glow of the Montgomery Park sign, sits Rae's Lakeview Lounge—which is nowhere near a lake (anymore... it dried up a long time ago), but that's a minor detail when you're inside one of the best all-around bars in Northwest Portland. Simultaneously cozy and expansive, Rae's hits the sweet spot between dive and fancy. It's aggressively unpretentious, its huge tables are a boon for late-night gabfests, and their daily food specials are a lip-smacking marvel. (Chicken and dumplings, prime rib, and "Frogs Leg Fridays"? Yes, please.) But take a gander at their impressive and lengthy spirits list that swings wildly between low- and high-brow, and their cocktails which show a true bent for the creative; their version of the Old Fashioned (amusingly named the "Keyser Söze") and the lip-numbingly delicious Rae's Manhattan are the casual drunkard's holy grail. But if you're with a crowd, and serious about having fun when you drink, do not pass up the "Thunder Bowls," which are three varying styles of 61-ounce cocktail bowls that are suitable... nay, required... to share. WM. STEVEN HUMPHREY
Rae's Lakeview Lounge
1900 NW 27th,
Hours: Daily, 10am-12am
Daily 2-6 pm ($1 High Life bottle, $3 table wine, $3.50 well cocktails, $2 food: Killer Burger, Caprese, Onion Rings, Calamari, Veggie Choices, Bourguignon).