Welcome, traveler. Let’s toast your arrival with an alcoholic drink, which Portlanders love even more than coffee or weed. In the spirit of assimilation, here’s a visitor’s guide to drinking in Portland:
The Commons Brewery, 630 SE Belmont & Upright Brewing, 240 N Broadway
If you’re not just here for our famously hoppy suds, you should get to know the Commons and Upright. These guys are knocking it out of the park—mostly European farmhouse styles with a flair for the wild. Longtime resisters of the Pacific Northwest’s favorite style of beer, neither brewery even made an IPA in their first few years of business.
Horse Brass Pub
4534 SE Belmont
Portland beer culture would be nothing without Don Younger, a beer drinker’s beer drinker and adviser to the OGs of Portland craft brewing. Even after he moved on to the smoking section of that great taphouse in the sky, his legacy lives on in the nearly limitless beer list at Portland’s favorite English pub, the world-famous Horse Brass.
Prost!, 4237 N Mississippi & Stammtisch, 401 NE 28th
Prost! is an excellent German bar with a rowdy clientele of mid-20s golfer-class kids. But Portland needed a grown-up beer bar, too, and luckily Prost! owner Dan Hart opened Stammtisch. With rare German beers on tap, an Alpine food menu, and a friendly shared-table vibe, Stammtisch is an ideal old-world bar.
Sassy’s, 927 SE Morrison
If you’re visiting Portland because you heard we had the most strip clubs per capita, well I think that’s kind of a weird criterion, but welcome anyway. The beautiful thing about being known for both beer and boobs is that bars like Sassy’s exist: one of the best unsung craft beer taplists in town happens to be waiting with open arms and no top on. (See also our Guide to Portland Strip Clubs.)
2138 SE Division
Oregon and Washington’s beautiful landscapes aren’t just pretty: They offer some of the best winemaking country in the world. Bar Avignon will show you the ropes, with a host of local wines alongside classics and youngbloods of the global scene, in an unpretentious bar and bistro setting. Everyone working there is an obvious wine geek, so don’t worry if you can’t even pronounce the names on the bottles.
1465 NE Prescott
One of the best bottle shops in town, with an admirable selection of imported and regional wine, beer, cider, sake, bitters, and a whole lot more, 1856 also has a small but lovable bar, with six beers on tap and wines by the glass. Best of all—apart from the regular tastings and knowledgeable, helpful owners—there is no corkage fee for anything you pull from the shelves to imbibe at the bar.
2930 NE Killingsworth
While offering a version of that Portland favorite—seasonal, European-influenced, Pacific Northwest cooking—much of Dame’s buzz comes from the fact all their wines are natural, made with few additives and as little intervention as possible. There’s plenty on Dame’s list to get wine geeks excited, with selections of Radikon and Texier to pick over, but the rest of us should just get recommendations from their helpful, knowledgeable staff.
417 NW 21st
There’s something captivating about this snug bar, especially on a cool evening: an otherworldly romanticism is conjured from the intimate space and lit by candles. The happy hour also helps, running from a sociable 6-8 pm, way past when most other places have finished. With $3 off, glass pours are the way to go. The chalkboard menu offers a selection of reasonably priced European reds and whites, alongside a couple of local favorites and a sparkling wine, all to be had for as little as three bucks.
Clyde Common, 1014 SW Stark & Pépé le Moko 407 SW 10th
If you’re a cocktail geek, there’s a good chance you’re visiting town just to worship at the feet of Jeffrey Morgenthaler, mastermind of the bar programs at Clyde Common and Clyde’s subterranean sister, Pépé le Moko. At Clyde, Morgenthaler’s famous barrel-aged cocktails dazzle, but downstairs, striking a balance between seedy (no windows) and stately ($$$), the star of the show is, implausibly, a $14 Grasshopper. Pépé’s boozy chocolate-mint shake is rounded out with Fernet; it’s a beautiful 1950s-kitchenette-backsplash green. Don’t overthink it.
Multnomah Whiskey Library
1124 SW Alder
If you feel like rubbing elbows with the fancy folk, and you’ve got a hankering for a $1,200 bottle of wine or a $260 glass of undoubtedly delicious and impossibly rare Campbeltown, MWL has you covered. Of course, you can also get any of the hundreds of reasonably priced spirits lining the walls floor to ceiling, but as long as you’re there, why not commit to some light economic villainy?
720 SE Sandy
Some of the best cocktails in the city are coming out of the unassuming partial tiki bar, Rum Club. It’s true Portland royalty, wearing a crown of paper umbrellas, ribbons of orange peel, and swizzle-stick tree branches. (For full-on tiki, check out Hale Pele and the Alibi in our “More Places to Drink” section below.)
2500 SE Clinton
If the only drink on the menu at La Moule was the Scotch Lodge, it would still be the finest cocktail bar in the city. Luckily, that jewel is not the only one in this crown, which also boasts a full menu featuring multiple preparations of its namesake bivalve (moule = mussel), wine and Belgian beer, and even brunch on Sundays.
525 SW Morrison
You’ll want to come here for the views—so you can spy on downtown going about its business, or enjoy Portland’s extensive panorama. But if this gets boring, the people-watching on the terrace is unrivaled. Though pricey, the drinks are generally top quality.
1000 SE 12th
Roadside Attraction’s covered patio is the perfect place to learn to love Portland’s near-incessant rain. Sit by the fire, listen to the water pelting the awning, and guzzle Fernet like it’s the deluge.
600 E Burnside
While it may have a bit of a hipster reputation, don’t let that put you off, as Rontoms has a splendid patio with mixed seating options and fire pits—and there’s ping-pong.
4306 N Williams
Head out back at Vendetta and you’re suddenly transported from a shadowy bar into a Zen-like paradise—or a least a serene patio with shrubs and gravel and plenty of seating. There’s a decent tap list (pitchers are available) and a menu of cheese pretzels, sandwiches, and the like.
More Places to Drink For Beer Lovers
Widmer Brothers Pub, 929 N Russell
Breakside Brewery, 820 NE Dekum
Gigantic Brewing Co., 5224 SE 26th
The BeerMongers, 1125 SE Division
Belmont Station, 4500 SE Stark
Saraveza, 1004 N Killingsworth
Roscoe’s, 8105 SE Stark
For Wine Lovers
Teutonic Wine Company, 3303 SE 20th
Division Wines, 3564 SE Division
Thelonius Wines, 516 NW 9th
SE Wine Collective, 2425 SE 35th Pl
For Cocktail Lovers
Teardrop Lounge, 1015 NW Everett
Expatriate, 5424 NE 30th
Bible Club, 6716 SE 16th
Interurban, 4057 N Mississippi
Hale Pele, 2733 NE Broadway
The Alibi, 4024 N Interstate
For Sports Lovers
4-4-2—1739 SE Hawthorne
Spirit of ‘77—500 NE MLK
Yur’s Bar & Grill—717 NW 16th
Saraveza—1004 N Killingsworth