A burst of early summer heat has driven Portlanders out of their homes into the shady streets in search of an icy alcoholic beverage and something to snack on while they slowly melt into the asphalt. Before the pandemic, Portland was rife with happy hours offering dozens of creative drink and food pairings that could keep summer diners busy for years. Now, a year of pandemic losses and shifts to takeout-only business models have narrowed the city’s happy hour options. But there are still plenty of small plates and chilled beverages if you know where to look. Plus, outdoor dining is the best it’s ever been. Wooden patios and sidewalks full of chairs line every street in Portland, meaning it’s the perfect summer to venture out for an early drink and a light meal. Here are four outdoor happy hour options to get you started.
Long considered one of the best vegan restaurants in the city, the Sudra’s two locations serve a happy hour featuring creative takes on Chef Sanjay Chandrasekaran’s Indian-inspired vegan cuisine with a New Mexican twist. Expect curries and pakora with options to add New Mexico Green Chiles on top. Both the Mississippi and Laurelhurst locations have large wooden decks extending into the street, perfect for an early summer dinner. The Sudra recently revamped the happy hour to offer discounts on larger plates like chickpea cutlets and kale infused dosas from 4-6 p.m, but smaller bowls and salads are still available at a discount between 12 p.m. and 3 pm. The new happy hour also features a refreshed cocktail program with new drinks and old favorites like the TLC, made with tequila, tamarind, lime juice, orange juice, and agave.
Before the pandemic, Kachka was a powerhouse serving inventive cuisine and infused vodkas inspired by every corner of the former USSR. During the pandemic, the Kachka team focused on Kachka Lavka, the restaurant’s upstairs deli stocked with frozen pelmeni and other Kachka classics. But Kachka’s cultural experience is hard to replicate with take-out, so it’s no surprise that when the time was right to reopen Kachka’s dine-in service, the restaurant went hard. The new “Tekc Mekc” happy hour menu debuted in May, blending flavors the owners acquired on a trip to Georgia with the Mexican culinary influences of several members of the Kachka team. The result is a completely unique dining experience, with tangy beet escabeche, cheesy khachapuri served queso-fundido style, and lavash nachos topped with briney Georgian cheese. The drink menu includes the 100 gram (3.5 oz) shots of infused vodka that Kachka is famous for. Among the infusions there are new flavors like tamarind, guava, and Mexican chocolate that make their way into fruity cocktails and slushies that pair perfectly with the appetizers. Kachka’s small streetside patio fills up fast, especially on weekends, so reservations are recommended. Kachka’s happy hour runs from 4 to 6 p.m. daily.
The sports-inspired restaurant and bar comes from Doug Adams and Jen Quist—the co-owners of the highly acclaimed white tablecloth spot Bullard—but it eschews the fine dining environment and expertly cooked steaks of its sister restaurant for a family-friendly ambience focused on crispy fried chicken and easy sipping cocktails. The condensed happy hour menu shrinks Holler’s dinner menu down to its best grilled and fried components—chicken tenders, wings, a juicy single-patty burger with the works, house-made chicken sausage mini corn dogs, fried pickles with remoulade—all for $6 each. The happy hour drink menu sticks mostly to classics such as old fashioneds and daiquiris, but also offers a pickle and vodka cocktail. Holler’s twenty-two seat horseshoe bar is a great place to watch a Blazers game and drink a discounted beer, but the restaurant has a sixty-seat streetside patio with umbrella-covered tables that can fit up to six people per table. Holler’s happy hour runs from 4 to 6 p.m. daily and all day on Mondays.
Sebastiano’s is known mostly for its take-out muffulettas and cannoli, but this spring owners Elise and Dan Gold quietly opened up Aperitivo Sebastiano behind the daytime deli. The aperitivo—an Italian happy hour experience with spritzes and Sicilian snacks—features low-key “speakeasy vibes” and some of the best arancini in the city. Sebastiano’s serves the fried risotto balls Catania-style—meaning very large—and stuffed with cheese, ham, or seasonal vegetables. The arancini are perfectly crisp, excellent with a spritz or Montavilla beer in the other hand. If it’s hot enough that a spritz isn’t cutting it, Sebastiano’s will soon have a granita machine churning out lemon and Oregon fruit flavored ice with sweetened whipped cream. The restaurant also plans to add other Sicilian street foods like spiedini, Italian meat skewers made with local Revel meat. For dessert, don’t skip the sfinci, fried ricotta doughnuts with a side of bright blood orange curd. Aperitivo Sebastiano is open Fridays and Saturdays 3 to 7 p.m. and Sundays 3 to 6 p.m.