Portland Bar Guide

9 Wine Bars Where We Love to Raise a Glass

People-watching patios, subterranean lairs, happy hour favorites, and a natural-wine version of the Geek Squad

By Katherine Chew Hamilton, Fiona McCann, Julia Silverman, and Matt Trueherz

The wine country of Oregon’s Willamette Valley is just a quick jaunt and makes a fine day trip (even a spontaneous one), but the city itself is full of wine-drinking destinations that bring the whole world to our doorstep. In addition to the Portland's urban wineries, these wine-focused bars and shops are places where we love to go to raise a glass, whether we're looking for a new favorite bottle or just popping in to meet a friend for happy hour.


You like your wines peachy? With a touch of Banana Boat sunscreen, perhaps? Custardy? Or just plain poopy? All descriptors in use at 1856, and we suggest you sip your way through their vibrant wine selection as evidence. This NE Prescott neighborhood bar strikes a fine balance, with interesting yet accessible wines, and a convivial, unpretentious vibe. There’s a solid beer and cider selection, too, and the scarlet-hued patio is a magnet for merriment. 1465 NE Prescott St —FM

Bar Diane

Northwest District
Oysters and bubbles are the draw at this tucked-down-an-alley wine bar. What might be the longest list of tinned fish options in the city and a much longer wine list make Bar Diane a go-to west-side spot for a classed-up happy hour. Entrance on NW 21st Ave through the gate next 645 NW 21st Ave —MT

Bar Norman

Bar Norman

The move at this breezy natural wine bar is to go with whatever it's pouring, order a board of cheese and charcuterie, and people-watch from the street-side covered patio on SE Clinton. The staff of wine geeks will steer you toward a glass of whichever bottle floating around the ice chest that sits on the bar they're most excited about at the moment. Ask questions: this spot takes a lot of the presumed exclusivity out of the natural wine game. 2615 SE Clinton St —MT

Division Wines

A slew of sidewalk tables and a generously sized bar indoors make this slightly upscale bottle shop/wine bar a great pre- or post-diner stop SE Division's restaurant row. Though mildly dressed up, the stacks of cardboard wine cases strewn throughout the shop let you know they're more focused on the wine than your sandals and T-shirt. 3564 SE Division St —MT

Flor Wines

Pearl District
The concept behind Flor, a tiny storefront on the North Park Blocks: Powell’s Books, but make it wine. The idea is for you to browse the way you might at the bookstore’s stacks and emerge with a wine you’ve never heard of, from a region where you didn’t even know grapes could grow. The space covers 1,700 square feet, and the owners host wine clubs and classes, special events, and regular in-store tastings. 825 NW Glisan St —JS

Les Caves

Les Caves/Le Clos

Les Caves is the basement drinking den with a speakeasy vibe and a funky wine selection, and Le Clos is its backyard annex, a partly enclosed fancy shack that’s just what we needed in the pandemic. Even the most voracious wine enthusiasts will likely find new-to-them grape varietals and regions—think orange wine from the Kakheti region of Georgia, or rosé from Tyrnavos, Greece. You could close your eyes and pick something and be happy with it, regardless of whatever preconceived notions you have about your wine likes and dislikes—and there’s even an explicit option to do so with the Winesman’s Pick. While owner Jeff Vejr (don’t call him a sommelier) is anti wine flight, get half-glasses so you can try as many weird wines as possible. Hungry? Fancy grilled cheese sandwiches on Dos Hermanos sourdough, filled with the likes of Havarti, Georgian adjika pepper paste, mortadella, and Hood River apple butter, are the natural accompaniment to the wild and wonderful wines on offer. 1719 NE Alberta St —KCH


This tiny hallway of a natural wine bar is tucked behind the bottle shop Ardor and pours an eternally rotating selection of hard-to-find wines by the glass. The party regularly spills onto the sidewalk on SE Belmont, often goes late, and usually involves a DJ. 4243 SE Belmont St #300 —MT

Noble Rot

An OG Portland place—if OG means the early 2000s, when many now-establishment chefs were new to the city and rent was still cheap (and when this bar named for a wine-friendly fungus opened in its original location up the hill from its current home). These days, Noble Rot is still known for its wine-driven food, and its locally famous onion tart remains on the menu; its rooftop patio remains one of the best places in town to catch views of the skyline while you sip. 1111 E Burnside St, fourth floor —JS

Stem Wine Bar

A long, elegant room with a dusty pink banquette along one wall leads directly to the bright, mirror-backed bar at Stem, where wines are served by the glass, yes, but better yet in carefully composed flights of four two-ounce glasses. (Outside, the white-canopied seating area on N Mississippi is prime people-watching real estate, BTW.) Choose your flight by color, region, or skin contact, or just let the knowledgeable staff compose one for you—the resulting pours could take you from a Greek rkatsiteli to an Oregon piquette. 3920 N Mississippi Ave —FM

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