Welcome to Ask Eater, an Eater Portland column where the site’s editor and reporter answer questions from readers and friends. Have a question for us? Submit your question in this form with the subject line ‘Ask Eater.’
What bars and restaurants still have covered outdoor patios and eating spaces as we head into fall with new variants?
Hey, Maddie. Super valid question, considering the state’s rising COVID-19 numbers, and it turns out, several Portland restaurants and bars are still investing in year-round, comfortable seating outdoors. We still have our bar and restaurant patio maps up, which include quite a few strong options; if you’re really concerned about whether these spots are still seating on their patio, it’s worthwhile to just give them a call ahead of time. However, I have a few options in mind that really fit the “cozy” bill — I’ll organize them by quadrant, to make things easy.
North Portland: During the colder months, a number of bars on Mississippi offer comfortable outdoor seating for a beer or cocktail. The two that immediately come to mind — conveniently a short jaunt away from each other — are Interurban and the Rambler. The former’s back patio feels very stylish, plenty of wooden banquette seating and plant life, tucked away from the bustle of Mississippi; the latter evokes more of a casual house party, seating around the front and back yard of a converted craftsman. Both offer covered fire pits, which feel like a must during a rainy Portland evening. Restaurant-wise, Piedmont Peruvian spot Casa Zoraya has a colorful, secluded outdoor dining area, netted with string lights and lined with plants.
Northeast: For Northeast Portland, let’s go with a cute date-night option: Le Clos, the outdoor sister to subterranean wine bar Les Caves, still has a hidden-nook sort of energy, furnished with church pews and couches where cool thirtysomethings drink skin contact wines. As for restaurants, the back patio at Killingsworth neighborhood standby Gabbianos, decked out in red-and-white tablecloths and filled with patio heaters, is a prime spot to hang out and stay warm, ripping apart fried mozzarella and cutting into hubcap-sized sheets of chicken Parmesan.
Southeast: The titular ‘hideaway’ at Division restaurant Oma’s Hideaway refers to the restaurant’s back patio, surrounded by curtains and hanging lights, with ample heaters and Jell-O shots aplenty. The back patio has all the atmosphere of its vibe-y indoor dining room, as well as its same bowls of funky laksa and flaky roti. Southeast Portland is home to numerous bars with well-appointed outdoor spaces, but the Richmond Bar’s patio has been a noteworthy stop for years, thanks to its stylish setup, abundant heaters, and fire pits.
Southwest: Because of its density, finding roomy, covered, heated patios downtown can be tricky; however, there are a few options in Southwest Portland. Once owned and run by the late Portland mayor Bud Clark, the Goose Hollow Inn surrounds itself with outdoor seating, including plenty of heated and covered options; neighborhood locals and decades-old regulars linger on the patio, sustained by the beers and Reubens coming from inside. As for restaurants, Sesame Collective spot Yalla in Multnomah Village offers a spacious heated patio, where visitors can eat things like smoked beef short rib with roasted mushroom demiglace.
Northwest: If seeking something with a somewhat dive-y edge, Paymaster Lounge has had one of the city’s best bar patios for years, wood-lined, heated, consistently dry during rainy days, and set up with a pool table. In terms of straight-up inventive options, the patio at Thai destination Phuket Cafe is meant to look and feel like a street car, which gives it an intimate vibe while also feeling well ventilated. And yes, the heaters keep the space warm; no shivering through meals here.