If you want to see the humble neighborhood tavern raised to an art form, come here. Crammed almost invisibly between a tattoo shop and an Irish pub, Free House feels like an off-the-radar discovery every time you walk in. Amid clean-lined but cozy décor, a connection to artisan meat empire Olympic Provisions (the two share a co-owner) elevates a tightly edited menu of charcuterie, snacks, and “sandos” to heights few publicans would dream of. Behind the bar, a cheeky sense of invention reigns: an old stalwart of the house list, the Dagobah System combines a geeky reference to Star Wars, evocative sense memories of Coca-Cola, and the best cough syrup flavor imaginable. On the other hand, the Blazers are on and the laid-back but all-pro barkeeps will crack you a cheap Old German if that’s more your speed. If all holes-in-the-wall were like this, there would be more holes in more walls. For now, let us revel in Free House.
We featured Free House in our guide to Portland's best bars of 2014.