Must-Try Cocktail Bars in 5 Portland Neighborhoods
Portland has such unique neighborhoods that each one easily warrants its own great cocktail bar. Now that spring is on its way, it's time to wake up from winter hibernation, stretch your legs, and see what other parts of town have to offer!
Southeast — Rum Club: Owner Mike Shea sums up his SE best when he claims to be “philosophically and geographically between The Slammer and Beaker and Flask.” It's a great example of everything good about the craft cocktail scene without any of the snobby side effects. The bar is beyond well stocked, but if you can’t figure out what you want, just order a Surly Bartender. One of the best bartenders in Portland will pick a shot from a great liquor selection and serve it with a side of no-nonsense beer (720 SE Sandy Blvd.; 503-467-2469).
Northeast — Hale Pele: Some might think the idea of a tiki place in the Pacific NW is silly, but it's thanks to this NE bar that Portlanders have survived another winter without completely forgetting the concepts of warm weather and fresh fruit. Venture beyond the typical Mai Thai and try a Suffering Bastard (2733 NE Broadway; 503-662-8454).
St. Johns — Juniper and Rye: This bar won’t stay underrated for much longer, so stop in as soon as you can. Make sure to sit at the beautifully restored wooden bar — refashioned from the early 1900s original — and explore some of the more eclectic spirits in their collection such as the Wherskey gin or an array of absinthes. While it may not be much to look at right now, keep an eye out for some major renovations including the possible addition of a rooftop bar (8608 N Lombard; 503-477-5489).
Southwest — Kask: Whether you're waiting to have dinner next door or you're just looking for a cozy place to grab a truly inventive cocktail, Gruner’s side bar is a gem in an otherwise quiet downtown scene. The dark, cozy atmosphere and convenient location is perfect for a date or a post-Timbers game drink with friends (1215 SE Alder St.; 503-241-7163).
The Pearl District — Teardrop Lounge: Not only does this cocktail bar have the most unique mixed drinks in town, but you can also get them in a punch bowl to share with friends. Bartenders here show off their handle on the history of booze in America with a strong list of pre-Prohibition cocktails alongside their more modern creations (1015 NW Everett St.; 503-445-8109).