15 All-Time Favorite Places to Drink in Portland
Every month, we dig through our restaurant listings to bring you a themed (and non-comprehensive!) roundup of places to eat out in Portland. Here, we highlight 15 spot excellent spots for imbibing (and eating). Want more? Our Best Bars package spotlights the city's top new places to drink.
Navarre’s sister bar, a jewel box of a space dominated by conversation-starting pink, flowered walls, charms with French plates and artful cocktails. Portions are small, but the homey-yet-polished flavors are huge, like a stew-y French onion soup hiding gobs of gruyère, or a poached egg swimming in an impossibly silky, tart broth of red wine and onion. The steak tartare is an immediate hit, which you can (and should) accessorize with raw, chopped oysters to give a seaside tang to an already luxurious schmear. Thoughtful details, from the house-made crackers on the fish board to the diamonds the bartenders stenciled on the bathroom’s tile floor, make Angel Face worth the cost of a cocktail. 14 NE 28th Ave
Bit House Saloon
In a city of craft bars and unconventional thinking, the key ingredient to a great drink is something elusive. It’s called “fun.” No one’s embracing the idea more than Bit House Saloon’s posse of fine barfolk, dreaming up ideas in near darkness in a labyrinthine saloon that could be an extra in Ken Burns’s Civil War. Find single-barrel whiskeys, barrel-aged beers, boisterous cocktails, and conversation with customers (favorite topics: ’90s hip-hop, philosophy, and ring flair). Sure, Clint Eastwood would shoot holes in the sous vide machine behind the bar, but even Old Squint Eyes couldn’t resist a Quentáo cocktail, bursting with fresh, tart cider, rich with cinnamon syrup, capped with amaro Chantilly cream, and waiting warm for us in a circulator. This is how the West was won. 727 SE Grand Ave
Chefs have come and gone from Clyde, set in the ground floor of the Ace Hotel, bringing and leaving a mash-up of intercontinental influences that still linger on the menu. A recent dinner had its moments: togarashi-spiced popcorn, a happy hour staple; a sprightly grilled trout. It has its fair share of misses, too. But then, Clyde Common never affected the culinary auteur theory that often informs Portland’s darlings of the moment. Instead, owner Nate Tilden and his shifting teams of talent created an enduringly necessary restaurant: here, you could end up next to a local power broker or a Japanese tourist, all of you united by a $6 happy hour cocktail. 1014 SW Stark St
Candlelight spotlights what matters here: two turntables spinning High Fidelity-level vinyl moods, and heat-seeking Asian snacks by James Beard medalist Naomi Pomeroy. Then there are the house nachos, crunched up with fried wonton-skin chips, lemongrassed beef crumbles, bright herbs, and, yes, spicy Velveeta cheese. But lip-smacking cocktails from Kyle Linden Webster and crew are the show, eight per night, balanced like the scales of justice. Weekend brunches bring on golden waffles, artful congee, and a bad-ass Bloody Mary rippling with XXX Death Sauce. 5424 NE 30th Ave
→ Expatriate/Beast alum Emily Cafazzo opened the Sugarpine Drive In this summer along the Sandy River with partner-chef Ryan Domingo. The Larch Mountain sundae, with blondie brownie, blueberry-lavender sauce, and pine nut honeycomb, is now a pit stop away.
You head to this tiny NE Broadway tiki bar for the Disneyland-blitzed-on-Sailor-Jerry décor; but you’ll stay for owner/barman Blair Reynolds’s Jet Pilot—a flaming, head-swirling mix of three aged rums, citrus, falernum, and a heap of cinnamon. Pretention is banished—Hale Pele’s cheesiness is central to its charm. Spiky puffer fish lamps overhead? Check. A volcano that spews smoke? Check. Nearly 40 frothy, boozy tropical concoctions? Triple-check! Conversations flow easily (and increasingly loudly) between strangers at neighboring tables, fueled by nibbles of addictive, sesame oil–slicked edamame and sips from the epic, rum-centric cocktail menu. The sugary classics are here (the Painkiller), but plunge deeper into the menu for a taste of the spicy side of the tropics (the Navy Grog). 2733 NE Broadway
At La Moule, St. Jack’s Francophile chef Aaron Barnett reintroduces Portland to mussels and fries with a globe-spanning take on Belgium’s national dish, plus a side of moody lighting and great cocktails. Its comfy black booths are made for shareable, date-night mussels steamed in six flavorful broths, with a menu bookended by French-inspired bar fare, like a burger with a thick slice of bacon and double-cream brie on top. La Moule pulls double duty as a serious bar. Cocktails like the Lilah are approachable, with sherry, green chartreuse, and Mellow Corn—an in-vogue corn whiskey. Meanwhile, the Belgian-inspired tap list, both European and local, is a traditional (and perfect) partner for the country’s favorite dish. 2500 SE Clinton St
Multnomah Whiskey Library
If Portland’s quirk mated with a 1920s speakeasy and a conspiracy theorist’s “smoke-filled room”—the progeny might look a lot like the Multnomah Whiskey Library. At the top of a flight of stairs, just beyond an unmarked door, a host asks for your name—yes, your full name—and your phone number. (They’ll call you.) Somehow, such rituals feel refreshingly stuffy. Yes, there are hours-long waits, portraits of frowning white men lining the walls, and library “memberships” available for $500 a pop. But there is also cool, dark comfort, an academic devotion to liquor, and an unhurried, intimate atmosphere, complete with a massive fireplace and cushy chairs. 1124 SW Alder St
Althea Grey Potter teased out bits of her kooky, global, intensely seasonal plates for four years at Southeast Wine Collective before folding it all into the dinner menu at the collective’s Oui Wine Bar & Restaurant, opened in 2017. A prime example of Potter’s cooking style: delicata squash, cut into two pillars that overflow with crispy, harissa-spiced chickpeas, feta, and big leaves of mint over a tangy squash hummus. It looks like a high school diorama and sounds like a hashtag (“All the Squash”), but manages to bring out the best of each variety with pluck and contrast. 2425 SE 35th Pl
→ Oui will be one of eight West Coast restaurants at Nouveau Bistro, a joyous PNW-Francophile union with lots of Beaujolais. It’s one of many Feast Portland events happening this month, Sept 13–16. Tickets and info here.
Pepe Le Moko
In this windowless underground bunker, time is erased as bartender supreme Jeffrey Morgenthaler (away from his usual post behind the bar at Clyde Common, located upstairs) lovingly stirs drinks we secretly desire, in near-pitch darkness. Schlocky cocktail pariahs rise again with newfound glory: espresso martinis croon velvety odes to Stumptown cold extract and Kahlúa; amaretto sours luxuriate under towering piles of ice cubes and sticky-wonderful brandied cherries. Rather than lofty infusions or fussy tinctures, Morgenthaler makes thoughtful tweaks to these long-scorned treats. Everything you want in your bomb shelter can be found here: succulent bivalves, nooks adorned with mini burlesque triptychs, and bygone cocktails to die for. 407 SW 10th Ave
Every aspect of this high-style, vintage clubhouse reflects a determination to combine great food with a verve often lacking in Portland. Where else in town can you sample LL Cool J with plates of seaweed noodles and sweet crab, like an inside-out seafood dumpling—at midnight? The first Portland foray of Seattle chef-restaurateurs Rachel Yang and Seif Chirchi, Revelry’s crowning achievement is a play on Korean fried chicken, a saucy, smoky, chile-filled plate off-gassing gochujang fumes. If General Tso’s got a promotion, it would taste like this: a glorious mess beneath a sticky haze of peanut brittle dust. 210 SE MLK Jr. Blvd
This beer hall from the folks behind North Portland’s Prost lures bierstube enthusiasts deeper into the world of German brews while raising the bar for the country’s comforting cuisine. Stammtisch’s airy space and sidewalk beer garden boast an impressive, rotating 18-tap beer list that ranges from a rare, malty maibock to a smoked helles lager—the kind of craft beers one might find only in tiny towns in Bavaria—while the full-length menu flaunts classic schnitzels and a Bavarian pretzel, along with less common maultaschen (big Germanic rolled pasta) and obatzda (a paprika-spiced Camembert cheese spread). You will devour the addictively smoky roasted chicken with thick-sliced, fat-soaked potatoes. And the slow-roasted Bavarian pork shoulder, roasted golden-brown on a bed of spätzle and red cabbage—the pigskin fried to crispy, snackable perfection—is criminally comforting. 401 NE 28th Ave
Tucked inside a cinder-block bunker off of E Burnside, this cozy neighborhood watering hole is home to some of the best late-night comfort food in town. Behind the bar, archival drinks like the Toronto croon dark melodies of rye and fernet, while the tiny kitchen works a rich vein of Euro-Oregonian pub fare, turning out a brunch Monte Cristo spiked with marionberries or steak frites sourced from St. Helens. When the needle hits some old vinyl and the booze hits the big ice cube, the Tannery serves indie culture in its most refreshing form. 5425 E Burnside St
Tanuki is a cave of debauchery, with unbeatable izakaya (Japanese bar food) and a knockout drink list. The menu is a dizzying array of pickled plums, kimchi spice, and fermented noodles, but don’t panic—there’s an easy way out. Order omakase: you name the price, and chef-owner Janis Martin will unleash a parade of spicy, salty, and sometimes unidentifiable plates for the whole table, from cinnamon-spiked, tea-stained quail eggs to Netarts oysters under an avalanche of shaved kimchi ice. Just remember the rules from the original Tanuki on NW 21st Avenue: no sushi, no kids. 8029 SE Stark St
By Portland’s micro-loving standards, Ken Forkish’s Trifecta Tavern & Bakery is the Coliseum. The sky-high industrial ceiling makes room for a raucous marble bar shaking highbrow classics, a bustling, wood-–fired kitchen, and stretch-limo booths for all. The steak frites–meets–seafood shack menu hits a few potholes occassionally, but Trifecta is a steady Portland hangout. Your best bet? Snag a seat at the bar and share a sizzling cast iron of brussels sprouts mingling with spicy house chorizo and apple butter or fresh shucked oyster followed by house-cured ham, just-churned butter, and honey tucked inside a warm roll. “It’s the perfect chaser,” swears the bartender. He’s right. 726 SE Sixth Ave
The Woodsman Tavern
Dark woods dominate the Woodsman Tavern, the first food project from Stumptown Coffee Roasters owner Duane Sorenson. Nothing screams Oregon more than the Woodsman’s seafood bar—a showcase of the freshest West Coast oysters and crabs around. Comforts abound here. Among them, a shot of pure Americana: an inch-thick fried-bologna sandwich with American cheese and sweet pickles. But the highbrow paper bucket of otherworldly, buttermilk-sopped fried chicken—fried hard in lard, aggressively herb-salted, and drizzled with honey—is clucking ecstasy. 4537 SE Division St