Portland's Best Non-Alcoholic Bar Programs

by Alexander Frane on Mar 14, 2017 in Roundups

Portland dining culture, at times, feels like it revolves around beer, cocktails, and wine more than it does food. However, sometimes it’s nice to have a meal with paired drinks that don’t get you drunk, or a night out on the town without spending your monthly budget. So 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 some of the best non-alcoholic drink menus in Portland restaurants and bars. Where do you best enjoy teetotaling? Let us know at our Facebook or Twitter.

La Moule
Wine, cocktails, and belgian beers are often the stars at La Moule, but Aaron Barnett’s fantastic food menu is just as important. Luckily you can enjoy moules, tartare, and liege waffles with a nice beverage while avoiding alcohol: La Moule offers a few house made drinks, including an orange vanilla soda ($4) with orange, vanilla beans, and citric acid, and a chocolate soda ($6) with spiced cocoa syrup and acid phosphate. (2500 SE Clinton St.; 971-339-2822)

Farm Spirit
Farm Spirit, Portland’s entirely vegetable based prix fixe restaurant, offers wine pairings for each seating, but there’s also a non-alcoholic drink pairing that is just as creative as the dishes. As with everything here, it’s incredibly seasonal and changes based on which local fruits and vegetables are currently at their best. Look for drinks like pear vanilla kefir, lingonberry-sage rejuvelac, persimmon & thyme shrub, or Chamomile-hyssop kombucha, generally served in adorable jars. (1414 SE Morrison St.)
 
Le Pigeon
Le Pigeon, the lauded French influenced restaurant, also offers a non-alcoholic pairing menu, and, like Farm Spirit, goes above and beyond with the drinks. The drinks change with the menu, but examples include a cucumber, coconut and celery "martini" paired with ahi tuna tartare, truffled “red wine” made with sunchokes to match the Beef Cheek Bourguignon, and an asian pear & ginger shrub to complement the cedar plank king salmon. Of course, if you’re finishing you meal with the famous foie gras profiterole, you might as well go all the way and get the Coca cola and foie gras ice cream float, for a total of foie five ways. (738 E Burnside St.; 503-546-8796)
 
Oven + Shaker
Ryan Magarian takes alcohol very seriously, and his drink menu at Oven + Shaker, the cocktail bar and pizza counter, reflects this. The menu is split into sections like Fresh, Dry, Strong, and Free, the last of which includes drinks just as considered as the others, but sans-alcohol. Try the Pineapple Pepper Punch ($6), with bell pepper, pineapple, lime, clover honey syrup, and black lemon bitters, for a non-alcoholic beverage similar to the famous Pepper Smash #2.  (1134 NW Everett St.; 503-241-1600)
 
Pok Pok
Pok Pok is famous for its chicken wings, but it’s equally well regarded for its line of drinking vinegars, Pok Pok Som. You can find bottles of these delicious vinegars in groceries around the city and beyond, and also on the menus at most Pok Pok locations. Try a gamut of flavors, lightly sweetened and topped with soda, from turmeric to blood orange, apple to chinese celery. Of course, you can also find a variety of Thai ice teas and coffees here as well. (Various locations)
 
Box Social
Even though it describes itself as a “drinking establishment”, that doesn’t necessarily mean alcohol (though it’s mostly what it means). This cozy and romantic little spot offers a special “Zero %” menu: it includes tea, coffee, and a pomegranate vinegar soda, as well as a Fancy Mocktail ($5), which is made to your tastes by the talented staff here. (3971 N Williams Ave.; 503-288-1111)
 
Ava Gene’s
One of Portland’s best Italian restaurants, Ava Gene’s is well known for it’s Negronis and lengthy wine list, but it also offers a variety of zero proof drinks that still go well with the Roman influenced cuisine. Try an elevated Shirley Temple with housemade grenadine, cleverly named Don’t Call me Shirley ($5), or the Tuscan Sunrise ($7), with Lemoncocco, orange, lime, honey, soda, and bitters, amongst others. (3377 SE Division St.; 971-229-0571)
 
Departure
Departure doesn’t just have one of the best views in the city from its rooftop bars, but it also sports a great cocktail list, including some “No Proof Libations”. Try the Tasha Ono ($6), made with Thai basil, fresh green Thai chili, demerara sugar, lime juice, ginger beer, grapefruit, and prickly pear syrup; it’s zesty, herbal, and slightly sweet with a touch of spice. The Oliang ($6) is a Thai iced coffee with Stumptown coffee and coconut, perfect to sip on a sunny afternoon looking over the city. There’s also a mango lemonade ($6) with prickly pear, a series of Som Sippers ($6) like Pok Pok’s, and teas, coffees, sodas, and more. (525 SW Morrison St.; 503-802-5370)

Photo via Nikki Unger-Fink

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