Portland's Best Whiskey Bars

These bars know whiskey
by Alexander Frane on Jan 9, 2015 in Roundups
Portland's Best Whiskey Bars

You can find whiskey at any bar in Portland that serves alcohol, and some bars boast especially nice whiskey (and whisky) menus, but there are a few that choose to make the beloved spirit the focus of their bar. These stand out as Whiskey Bars; here are three of our favorites, for all types of customers.

Multnomah Whisk{e}y Library: The Whisk{e}y Library hasn’t been open long, but it has already established itself as the most famous whiskey (and whisky) bar in the city. Its menu is a massive tome of Bourbon, Rye, Scotch, Irish, Canadian, Japanese and others, with prices starting at the single digit level and going into the triple.

Servers present the spirits to patrons at the table, like bottles of wine, then carefully measure and pour them into the proper glass. And to make cocktails, they roll an exquisite bar cart over to the table. The space itself is beautiful: Guests can sit at the long, wooden bar, in tufted leather chairs, or by the roaring fireplace.

Dedicated customers can purchase a membership for $600, which grants them the ability to make reservations (expect a potentially long wait otherwise), as well as access to special events, newsletters, reserved glassware, and spirit lockers. Currently, memberships are sold out, but the Whisk{e}y Library offers a wait list. (1124 SW Alder St.; 503-954-1381)

The Old Gold: The Old Gold’s whisk(e)y menu isn’t as voluminous as The Library’s, and it’s written on the wall, but this bar still caters to whiskey fans with its impressive list and whiskey-forward cocktail menu. That, its casual yet classy atmosphere; well-made sandwiches, salads, and mac n cheese; and its lack of a wait make this a destination for whiskey-lovers and bar-goers of all types.

It also offers whiskey classes, and an Achiever’s Award, which you gain access to by sampling 50 of their whiskeys (of a particular variety, you can’t just drink Jim Beam 50 times). Whoever accomplishes the feat gets a t-shirt, their picture on the wall, and—most importantly—notoriety.

The bar is tucked up in North Portland, just off Interstate 5 at Killingsworth. It’s not as centrally located as The Library, but it is only a few blocks from the MAX, giving patrons an easy and safe way to get home. (2105 N Killingsworth St.; 503-894-8937)

The Brooklyn Park Pub: The Brooklyn Park pub is easily overlooked as a whiskey bar. Its notoriety is gained mostly through word of mouth, and it’s hard to imagine how this little dive bar situated just south of Powell on Milwaukie would be a whiskey destination. But it still boasts an impressive menu that is written on the wall, and patrons can join an elite whiskey club after they have sampled 30 whiskeys of different varieties. Club members gain access to an exclusive whiskey menu and receive a dollar discount on all other whiskeys.

Don’t expect to find the best Sazerac in town, fancy ice, or special glassware. This is the whiskey bar for those who like their whiskey neat, affordable and served by friendly and capable bartenders while they watch the game. (3400 SE Milwaukie Ave.; 503-234-7772)

Top photo by Dina Avila Photography, Old Gold photo by Alex Frane


Tags: Cocktails, Whiskey
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