Drink Here Now

4 New Portland Bars to Visit This Winter

Our city's latest crop of watering holes is wild, bright, and a little spooky.

By Benjamin Tepler, Fiona McCann, Eleanor Van Buren, and Ramona DeNies December 28, 2017 Published in the January 2018 issue of Portland Monthly

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Capitol Bar

Image: Michael Novak

Capitol Bar

An explosion of millennial pastel and beautiful, blond octagonal architecture. But stick to your default drink, and skip the food: cocktails are sweet, one-note sippers; the menu, designed by reputable vegan operation Of Roots and Blooms, is a sad assortment of watery cashew mac and loveless, sauceless Caesar salad. Take a reliable martini from the magnificent glowing bar, and head beyond the intimate two-tops for some secret backroom karaoke. 1440 NE Broadway —BT


John Quincy Adams's rolling eyes follow you through the dark confines of Creepy’s; his portrait hangs behind the bar, flanked by smiling toy clowns and an Elvis bust. Sandwiches bolster classic bar snacks (deep-fried peanuts!), served under velvet paintings of morose clowns and wide-eyed children. Bonus: rotating classics à la Clash of the Titans—the Pickletinis pair well with 1980s Maggie Smith. 627 SE Morrison St, 503-889-0185 —FM


The third nightlife spot from Old Town mainstays Eric and Karen Bowler is subdued compared to its clubbin’ cousins, Tube and Fortune. The black-and-white room is tight, as is the menu: four signature drinks (like the margarita-esque Black Sunday) and as many sandwiches from metalhead-vegan caterer Snackrilege. It’s a fine spot for pre- or post-gaming but really gets going after 10 p.m., when the DJ steps up to the plate. 20 NW Third Ave, 503-206-4153 —EVB

Chandelier Bar

Matthew Ellis isn’t a wallflower in his new Chandelier Bar. There’s nowhere to hide anyway; the Multnomah Whiskey Library alum’s sake-centric den fits just 10 swivel seats. Inspired by Tokyo’s raucous pocket sake shops, Ellis wants his red-curtained parlor to serve an East Burnside hood newly thick with condo dwellers. From a list of oddball sakes, start with a glass (no ceramic drinkware here) of Masumi “Mirror of Truth” junmai ginjo. 1451 SE Ankeny St —RD

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