Portland's 10 Hottest Bars of 2012

Portland's 10 Hottest Bars of 2012

2012 was a busy year for hellos and goodbyes in the food and drink world. If you were too busy to keep up with all of the openings and closings then make sure to check out these 10 bars before the new class of 2013 pops up around town. What bar did you fall in love with over 2012? Tell us in the comments if we missed your favorite new bar of 2012 and why it deserves to be on the list.

Riffle: This bar is one of those rare places that has actually lived up to the hype. Whether you go for a big dinner, cocktails or just a bone luge, Riffle has consistently proven it's every bit as good and exciting as promised. Though ice is the last thing on everyone’s mind in this cold weather, Riffle is still the only place in town with its own ice room, where bartenders hand carve their own ice from sculpture-quality blocks. Attention to detail is Riffle’s best quality and the fact that they've maintained this level of dedication when others get leax and comfortable has earned them a spot on the top of this list (333 NW 13th St.; 503-894-8978).

Barwares: This Spring, Barwares opened up behind Smallwares and has since proven to be a great reason to explore the very east end of Fremont. With a delightfully simple cocktail list that includes drink titles like “The Gin” and “The Whiskey,” Barwares has maintained all of the quality of Smallwares in a much more welcoming setting, complete with a comfy couch in front of a fireplace (4605 NE Fremont St.; 971-229-0995).

Southeast Wine Collective: Oregon has some beautiful wines, but it can be a pain to drive two hours to travel to a winery for some freshly poured flights of locally made vino. Thanks to Southeast Wine Collective, you can try flights of wine made right there in house five days a week in the heart of SE Portland (2425 SE 35th Pl; 503-208-2061).

Whey Bar
: This is the bar that makes waiting for Ox not only bearable but also delicious. You don’t have to be on the waitlist next door to enjoy the cocktails, howver — it's worth a stop in just to try one of the namesake whey cocktails made with the byproduct of the housemade ricotta (2225 Martin Luther King, Jr. Bld.; 503-284-3366).  

Spirit of 77: While it's not a new bar, the summer renovations here made such a difference, it definitely deserves a spot on this list. Over the summer, Spirit of 77 took a break to update the kitchen, revamp the menu and even add a few pinball machines. This is a true Portland sports bar where you can either watch the pros on giant screens or just play sports-themed games to see if you can win MVP of the night on the Pop Shot (500NE Martin Luther King, Jr. Blvd.; 503-232-9977).

The Tannery: From the people who brought you Skin and Bones, The Tannery joins the growing number of buzz spots heading farther and farther East. Despite its location, this bar is definitely worth the drive. Small, intimate and cozy are three adjectives that pair perfectly with fine whiskey. This may be the best new place to bring a date and not just because everyone looks better by lamplight (5425 E. Burnside St.; 503-236-3610).

Gigantic Brewing: One of the many trailblazers on the list, Gigantic Brewing is helping expand the radius of good, local beer in deep Southeast. Reed College alumni have headed back to the comfort of their alma marter’s SE Portland neighborhood because, hey, even Reedies need good beer. Their beers exhibit all of the best traits of a small brewery, including unique flavors and quickly rotating taps (5224 SE 26th Ave.; 503-208-3416).

Ava Genes: This new SE Division spot melds bar and upscale restaurant perfectly with just enough separation between the dining area and bar. Unlike many nice restaurants, you can feel comfortable sitting at Ava Genes’ bar all night long. Classic spirits lovers can’t miss one of the best collections of older spirits in town, even if pours are out your price range (3377 SE Division St.; 971-229-0571).

Portland Penny Diner: Part deli and part downtown craft cocktail bar, Portland Penny Diner has something for everyone, without compromising quality. Try the DIY cocktail where the bartender gives you your choice of base spirit and lets you go to town on a whole tray of sugar and bitters you didn’t even know existed. Portland Penny Diner now joins the brave group of bars trying wake up Portland’s sleepy downtown (410 SW Broadway; 503-228-7222).

Streetcar Bistro: What could feel more metropolitan and convenient than a street car ride to a bar with a extensive and interesting beer program? It’s like a cultural exchange program between the East and West Sides of Portland. Nothing brings Portlanders together like beer and public transportation (1101 NW Northrup St.; 503-227-2988).

 

Recent Articles
spacer

Feedback

How are we doing? Tell us what you like or don't like and how we can improve. We would love to hear your thoughts!

*Name:
*E-mail:
*Suggestions:
 
Things No One Asked For: Prosecco-Flavored Nail Polish

Things No One Asked For: Prosecco-Flavored Nail Polish

If you're the kind of alcoholic who needs to have booze on your person at all times, Groupon has just the product for you: prosecco-flavored nail poli...read more ›

by Ryan Hudak Mar 22, 2017
The Sobro Refrigerator Coffee Table Means You Never Need to Get Up Again

The Sobro Refrigerator Coffee Table Means You Never Need to Get Up Again

A recent IndieGoGo campaign has resulted in a coffee table with everything you could want: the Sobro Refrigera...read more ›

by Alexander Frane Mar 22, 2017
Celebrate Wine & The Women of Marvel at Pairings Portland Wine Shop, March 23-26

Celebrate Wine & The Women of Marvel at Pairings Portland Wine Shop, March 23-26

This weekend, Thursday March 23 through Sunday March 26, join the fun with wines made by female winemakers pai...read more ›

by Alexander Frane Mar 21, 2017
SPONSORED
Cold Brew Hard Coffee is Coming to Stores in May

Cold Brew Hard Coffee is Coming to Stores in May

Soon, you'll be able to enjoy cold brew coffee with the alcohol percentage of a strong beer with Bad Larry's Cold Hard Coffee. ...read more ›

by Alexander Frane Mar 17, 2017
Budweiser Wants to Be the First Beer Consumed on Mars

Budweiser Wants to Be the First Beer Consumed on Mars

In what is undoubtedly the company's latest publicity stunt, Budweiser announced Saturday, March 11 at SXSW in Austin, Texas that they are looking int...read more ›

by Jessie Donofrio Mar 16, 2017
Portland's Best Non-Alcoholic Bar Programs

Portland's Best Non-Alcoholic Bar Programs

Whether you're a designated driver, trying to saving money, cutting out alcohol entirely, or just feel like going out without getting buzzed, here are...read more ›

by Alexander Frane Mar 14, 2017
Where to Celebrate St. Patrick's Day 2017 in Portland

Where to Celebrate St. Patrick's Day 2017 in Portland

St. Patrick's Day is a time for celebration in Portland, not just because we always love an excuse to drink stout, but also because it marks the end o...read more ›

by Alexander Frane Mar 14, 2017
Visit One of Portland's Many Female Owned Bars and Restaurants

Visit One of Portland's Many Female Owned Bars and Restaurants

If you want to go to a bar and support women this Women's History Month, try some of these great women owned Portland bars....read more ›

by Alexander Frane Mar 8, 2017
BrewDog's Latest Project is a Crowdfunded Craft Beer Hotel

BrewDog's Latest Project is a Crowdfunded Craft Beer Hotel

The publicly owned Scottish brewery announced their plans to crowdfund a craft beer hotel, called the "Dog House" via Indiegogo less than week ago. ...read more ›

by Jessie Donofrio Mar 8, 2017
Appleton Estate Celebrates 20 Years with Joy Spence

Appleton Estate Celebrates 20 Years with Joy Spence

Appleton Estate, the Jamaican rum label, is celebrating 20 years with its master distiller Joy Spence this year....read more ›

by Alexander Frane Mar 7, 2017
SPONSORED
View all Articles

Sign up to get weekly drinking news, bar reviews, events and more sent directly to your inbox!

Close