Whether you’re feeling on top of the world or need a little bit of a boost to do so, Portland’s rooftop bars have your back—along with delicious cocktails ranging from creamy halva mules to refreshing watermelon-jalapeño tequila sippers. Take in a drink and a view at one of these prime city spots and remember what you love about this city.
Social distancing is no problem at the Botanist’s new sprawling rooftop patio. The Pearl’s “perfectionist” cocktail lounge moved from their basement bar just next door to the Lovejoy Rooftop amid the pandemic to adjust to the state’s new social distancing guidelines. But why stop there? Co-owners Robbie Wilson and Matt Davidson intend to open up a full-on marketplace, with the new Havana Café joining the venture as its first restaurant. So what’s it like? Well, you won’t get the traditional views associated with rooftop dining in the Rose City. No downtown skyline or picturesque backdrops of Mt. Hood. Instead, it’s a little more secluded, with the rooftop capped off with a white canopy and string lights—like the private reception at a beautiful wedding. A modest menu offers food items like herb fries, poke, charcuterie, salads, and a house burger. But, of course, you’re here for the drinks. On a warm summer night, the Paloma and the Summer Negroni hit just right: sweet, strong, and simple. When the bartender comes back around to ask if you’d like another cocktail, pretty soon you, too, will be saying “I do.” —GG
High above downtown hovers a spaceship-meets-bohemian bar experience. Departure, embodying space exploration on both its menu and its architecture, gives a wide view from both the outside deck and the indoor seating thanks to an abundance of large windows. The bar has an impressive array of alcohol selections: eight signature house cocktails, eight sake by the glass options, white, rosé and red wines, and all manner of beer. Spirits include North American, European, and Asian whiskies, some of which are so distinguished that they have their own “Special Allocations” menu. Once you exit the elevator, you’ll enter a darkened hallway with blue lights not unlike Disney's Space Mountain ride (they take the whole flight thing seriously here). The two standout cocktails are polar opposites from one another: For those who want a warm, classic, strong drink, get their Lucky Number Seven, a duck fat-washed Trails End Bourbon with spice bitters and simple syrup, garnished with an orange peel for a slight citrus aftertaste. For those on the other end of the scale who want something light and refreshing, I recommend the 75-ish, a lychee Timberline Vodka concoction with lemon and coconut notes, finished with bubbles. My friend Jess describes this one as “my mom taking vodka shots in the back of my lemonade stand,” and I can think of no stronger endorsement. —RB
Sports lovers and the sports-clueless alike will find something to love at Jackie’s, a brand-new self-proclaimed “bar with sports” that opened in the former Century space in July. The two-story bar has a treehouse-like feel, with fake foliage lining the wooden walls, indoor and outdoor seating on the first floor (and some super-sweet egg-shaped swinging seats), and a second floor patio that offers a peek of downtown Portland. Giant TVs are viewable from nearly every table, making it a great place to watch the Olympics or a Timbers game without completely overwhelming the vibe. The must-try cocktail is the Halva Mule, a Moscow Mule over pebble ice with the delightful addition of halva that adds a creamy, nutty finish to the drink. —KH
If you’ve ever wondered what it’s like to sip a beer inside a piñata, then make your way over to Modern Times. With colorful papier-mâché frills covering the walls of the downstairs and a peek at the Morrison bridge from their Sky Lounge upstairs, Modern Times serves up delectably hoppy beers in a curiously decorated setting that bring on all those feel good summer vibes you’ve been anticipating. Their completely vegan menu includes monster tots, a must try for any Portlander who thinks they’ve seen it all when it comes to the tater tots here in the city. — MS
With its rooftop garden and string lights, Noble Rot is one of the most quintessential summer-in-Portland places to get a drink. There’s a wide selection of refreshing summer cocktails (including a pineapple daiquiri that comes in a whole pineapple), as well as ciders, beers, and fine wines. The service is personable, the view from the porch a delight, and there’s something on the menu for everyone. The Sex with a View will make you fall in love with summer thanks to its apricot-citrus-lavender mix, garnished with summer flowers and presented in a crystal glass with foam on top—it’s almost too pretty to drink. We also liked the Dreaming of Mexico, which combines St. Germain and blanco tequila with sweet orange and lime. —RB
This little rooftop oasis in SE offers a peaceful tropical escape in the middle of the city. Watch the trains, cars, boats, and bicycles go by from your perch, all while sipping a signature frozen daiquiri in rotating tropical flavors (we tried the refreshing, creamy strawberry piña colada) in a temperature-sensitive, color-changing plastic cup not unlike one you’d find at a Hawaiian resort. Be sure to snag a reservation online ahead of time—the books open up at noon for same-day reservations. —KH
The live shows may not have returned to Revolution Hall just yet (though they’re on the books for September), but you can still indulge in one of the most spectacular experiences this high school-turned-music-venue has to offer: the rooftop deck. Head through the locker-filled hallways and take the elevator up to a roof offering 360 degree views of the city—it’s especially spectacular if you visit at sunset. No reservations are accepted, though there were a couple tables open when I visited on a warm weeknight. My drink of choice: the Curie’s Cure, a summer sipper that mixes Hornitos reposado tequila with fresh watermelon and jalapeño for a delicately spicy, tingly finish to the drink. —KH