Where to Celebrate Valentine's Day in Portland
Whether you’re celebrating Valentine's Day with a loved one or raising your glass for Singles Awareness Day instead, Portland bars and restaurants are here for you with a wide range of options. From perfectly executed traditional dinners to quirky parties aimed at keeping our city as weird as possible, check out seven great ways to spend your holiday.
Quartet: This much anticipated restaurant opens on Valentine’s Day with all the mystery of a new romance, since no menu details have been released other than the fact that the cuisine will be Southern-influenced Pan-Asian meets Pacific Northwest. Although the food may be a surprise, you can expect a drinks list highlighting the best of our region’s famous wines, beers and craft spirits. And, really, aren’t surprises supposed to keep the flame alive? If you prefer to be certain, check back here on the Wednesday before Valentine’s Day for a better idea of what Quartet will be offering; we’ll have the lowdown (1910 SW River Dr.; 503-222-7300).
UPDATE: Whether you visit on Valentine’s Day or you visit after the holiday you are in for a beautiful night out on the town. While Portland has a very robust food and drink scene nothing has quite brought the metropolitan look and feel of Quartet. In fact, if it weren’t for the romantic view of two different Portland bridges, you may not even know what town you are visiting after walking into this richly decorated waterfront restaurant. If you are looking for something different and a bit more extravagant this year then check out Quartet’s Valentine’s Day menu featuring unique dishes such as scallops served with fig jam and a pinot noir gastrique or a more traditional dish like a perfectly cooked bone-in rib eye. Of course you can’t forget the drinks so make sure to ask for their signature cocktail made with plumb sake, chile, vodka and prosecco served up with a floating flower garnish.
Genoa: This petite diamond can be found in the rough of SE Belmont and it’s a testament to the fact that sometimes traditional choices are classic for a reason. To fully capture the magic of a sultry and quiet romantic night, make sure to have sommelier Michael Garofola choose pairings for your meal from Genoa’s truly impressive wine list (2832 SE Belmont St.; 503-238-1464).
Departure: Let Departure’s spicy foray into Indian cuisine and sweeping views of the city add a bit of magic to the night. Chef Gregory Gourdet has managed to make an already romantic spot even more intimate by offering a special $60 “Eat. Drink. Love” menu — this is a shared-style meal with cuisine that you can often eat with your hands instead of a soulless metal fork. This is also a great option if you’re looking for a more cocktail-friendly meal rather than the traditional bottle of wine (525 SW Morrison St., 15th Fl.; 503-802-5370).
Ground Kontrol: Who needs a date when you can have your very own Bride of Pinbot or a dashing Doctor Who of your own? If you do grab a guild member or roommate for two-player mode, make sure to arrive early for the two-for-one happy hour where you and a friend can get in for just $5 from 5–7 PM. Either way, Ground Kontrol is offering an entire night of free games plus music from the Landau Boyz (511 NW Couch St.; 503-796-9364).
Jones: Whether you’re looking to meet someone new or you’re feeling nostalgic for those college parties you used to attend, Jones Bar is there for you. In fact, nostalgia is this ‘80s tribute bar’s bread and butter, so expect plenty of your old favorite songs and even pictures of your teen crush on the walls. The Red Light, Green Light Party starts at 8 PM with a $6 cover, and rules are simple: just wear a red shirt if you’re taken, a yellow shirt if you want to keep your options open and a green shirt if you’re ready to party (107 NW Couch St.; 971-271-7178).
Helium Comedy Club: If you’re not a fan of Valentine’s Day. there’s no better place to be on February 14 than a comedy show. Comedians can highlight all the negative things about relationships and turn them into fits of laughters. Alternately, if you are attached, what could be better than sitting in a dark cozy room with your Valentine while enjoying microbrew table service and great entertainment? The fun starts at 8 PM and runs $20 for general admission of $25 for reserved seating. Comedy may save the world, but first it could save your Valentine’s Day. (1510 SE 9th Ave.; 888-643-8669)
Holocene: Work off those calories from your big meal out with your Valentine, or forget the holiday altogether by dancing the night away at the Hole in my Soul ball. DJ Beyondadoubt promises to get your heart going with her deep cuts and vintage vinyl. The party starts as 9 PM and the cover is just $5. Dance all you want, the bar will be on hand to cool off you and your date so you can last all night (1001 SE Morrison St.; 503-239-7639).
Photo via Flickr user Maite Confiteria & Brunch