5 Bars Redefining Pub Grub Standards in Portland

If you’ve ever asked yourself, “Is this a bar or a restaurant?” you might be in Portland, where OLCC laws govern that bars must serve food in order to legally serve alcohol. Some places get by with offering Banquet frozen meals for $10 while others have embraced the ordinance. Countless bars in Portland have stepped up their kitchen game, often blurring the distinction between restaurant and bar. Here are a few places we go for both dinner and imbibing where the grub is just as irresistible as the cocktails.

The Bye and Bye (1011 NE Alberta St.; 503-281-0537)

After spending some time in Portland, vegan bars start to blend into the terrain and you forget about agendas and trends and lack of meat. The drinks are served in mason jars and there’s ubiquitous beards and black framed glasses, and then just like that you stop caring about everything around you (including the friends you just met there) and dig into a Samurai Bowl (nutritional yeast breaded tofu, carrot-cabbage slaw, brown rice, and miso chile sauce, topped with roasted sesame seeds) or mow down the Weeping Tiger Sandwich (tofu cutlets, lettuce, tomato, onion, avocado, jalapeño, Sriracha and miso mayo on Grand Central bread). When we’re feeling guilty about our less-than-nutritional-intake, we get the side of Brussels Sprouts.

 

Victory Bar (3652 SE Division St.; 503-236-8755)

It has “bar” in the name, so it must be a bar, right? But the food! Victory Bar, located in the Richmond neighborhood, is one of those Portland institutions that transform the way we think about bar food. From Spätzle to the venison burger to the deviled egg salad, the food is rich and comforting in ways that other bar food doesn’t come close. Bonus points for a menu item called “Freedom Fries” and propaganda decor inspired by the book “Nineteen Eighty-Four” by George Orwell.

 

Knock Back (2315 NE Alberta St.; 503-284-4090)

Fine cheeses, salami, and a sazerac rarely mean a white table cloth and a reservation in Portland. It’s more likely that this candle (in blue, yellow or red) will sit on your table as you order the shaved Brussels sprouts salad from your server in a Red Fang T-shirt. We recommend the chicken pot pie or Pierre’s cheese plate (cabra al vino, idaizabal, Crémeux de Bourgogne). Don’t miss the cocktail list with appearances from Chartreuse, champagne and Fernet.

 

White Owl Social Club (1305 SE 8th Ave.; 503-236-9672)

Signature and hyper-local cocktails like the New Deal Mule (New Deal Vodka, New Deal Ginger Liqueur, fresh lime juice and Cock ‘n Bull Ginger Beer) pair up swimmingly with vegan friendly fare such as Hatch Chile Taco Mac or the Fried Moonbrine Pickle Fritters. For a real score though, check out the specials board to the left of the bar next to the photo booth. It’s food “for those with fussy tastes.” (Their words, not ours) Wait, are they saying vegans are fussy?

 

Expatriate (5424 NE 30th Ave.; 503-805-3750)
Kyle Linden Webber (St. Jack) and Naomi Pomeroy’s bar has gotten its fair share of media attention but it still seems as though Portlanders aren’t ripping the door of the hinges in their usual hot spot dining frenzy. We’ve been watching as the corner of NE Killingsworth and 30th Avenue gets hipper by the day, so we imagine it won’t be long until Expatriate becomes inaccessible. Get there now for lowbrow eats like Chinese sausage corn dogs and the James Beard onion and butter sandwich, which accompany thoughtful cocktails such as the Queen Elizabeth (Noily Prat vermouth, fresh lime, Benedictine).

 

Photo: White Owl Social Club


Tags: Beer, Cocktails, Food, Spirits, Wine
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:
 
Ryan Reynolds & Aviation Gin Have Released a New, Hilarious Making-Of Video

Ryan Reynolds & Aviation Gin Have Released a New, Hilarious Making-Of Video

Ryan Reynolds & Aviation Gin have been teaming up to create some of the funniest ads in the business for quite...read more ›

by The Drink Nation Jan 4, 2019
Pedialyte Has a New Product That Might Help Cure Your Next Hangover

Pedialyte Has a New Product That Might Help Cure Your Next Hangover

If you've been picking up Pedialyte at the corner store after a long night of drinking, you're not alone — a...read more ›

by The Drink Nation Jan 4, 2019
Amy Poehler Has Opened a Wine Store in Brooklyn

Amy Poehler Has Opened a Wine Store in Brooklyn

Amy Poehler has a new role - she has opened a wine store, Zula Wines & Spirits, in Brooklyn's Park Slope, according to Eater. ...read more ›

by The Drink Nation Dec 11, 2018
SPONSORED
Drink Nation Store Rectangle
Red Spot Whiskey Has Returned after 50 Years Out of Production

Red Spot Whiskey Has Returned after 50 Years Out of Production

After 50 years out of production, Red Spot Whiskey has returned to join the Spot Whiskeys family once again....read more ›

by The Drink Nation Nov 26, 2018
Miller High Life is Now Available in Champagne Bottles

Miller High Life is Now Available in Champagne Bottles

Miller High Life, commonly known as the 'Champagne of Beers,' is now available in actual champagne bottles for a limited run during the holiday season...read more ›

by The Drink Nation Nov 13, 2018
Jack Daniels is Making a Whiskey Advent Calendar For the Holiday Season

Jack Daniels is Making a Whiskey Advent Calendar For the Holiday Season

Jack Daniels has debuted a boozy advent calendar filled with, naturally, whiskey, just in time for the holiday...read more ›

by The Drink Nation Nov 13, 2018
Behind the Bar: Jason Wise, Director of the SOMM Documentary Film Series

Behind the Bar: Jason Wise, Director of the SOMM Documentary Film Series

For this installment of Behind the Bar, we spoke to Jason Wise, documentary filmmaker and director of the new ...read more ›

by The Drink Nation Oct 31, 2018
Beam Suntory Has Launched a Japanese Vodka & Gin

Beam Suntory Has Launched a Japanese Vodka & Gin

Beam Suntory, one of the largest producers of both American and Japanese whiskeys in the world, has introduced two new clear spirits to its lineup: Ha...read more ›

by The Drink Nation Oct 29, 2018
You Can Now Minor in Bourbon at This Kentucky University

You Can Now Minor in Bourbon at This Kentucky University

Thanks to the booming bourbon tourism industry in Kentucky, the state's Midway University now offers a minor in Bourbon Studies as part of their under...read more ›

by The Drink Nation Oct 29, 2018
You Can Make Your Own Whiskey at This Virginia Beach Hotel

You Can Make Your Own Whiskey at This Virginia Beach Hotel

If you've always wanted to make your own whiskey, you're in luck - a hotel in Virginia Beach is letting guests make their own barrels of whiskey....read more ›

by The Drink Nation Oct 15, 2018
SPONSORED
View all Articles

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

Close