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Montavilla Station’s backbar
The bar at the Montavilla Station
Alex Frane/Eater PDX

The Ultimate Guide to Portland's Iconic Dive Bars

Unearth some of the city’s best watering holes for cheap drinks

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The bar at the Montavilla Station
| Alex Frane/Eater PDX

Craft cocktails and chef-driven bar menus are great and all, but sometimes love cries out for a simpler poison: stiff pours, Rainier tall boys, and greasy piles of crispy-fried potatoes in a variety of shapes. Perhaps unsurprisingly, our sordid little town practically runs on the back of its neighborhood dives — the beloved spots with stained carpets, blacked out windows, and iconic outdoor signage which acts like a beacon for those looking for a low-key (and maybe a little sketchy) bar experience.

Here are the 15 most essential dive bars in Portland. As usual, this map is organized geographically; we would never try to rank dives. Have a favorite dive not on the list? Rep it in the comments. Also welcome in the comments: Dive Bar Storytime.

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Note: Restaurants on this map are listed geographically.

1. Twilight Room

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5242 N Lombard St
Portland, OR 97203
(503) 283-5091
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While occasionally overrun by college kids packed in to watch a game, Twilight Room is a North Portland staple dive. Stacked with pool tables and 32 tap handles, the bar opens early for breakfast and closes late, so all walks of life are welcome here. The bartenders chat freely with those sitting near his well, so it’s advisable to grab a seat nearby.

2. Skyline Tavern

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8031 Northwest Skyline Boulevard
Portland, Oregon
(503) 286-4788

Way up on NW Skyline Blvd., the old-school Skyline Tavern looks transplanted from an Old West film (if the "saloon" sign out front wasn't enough indication). Fortunately, the notorious food was upgraded when environmental filmmaker Scott Ray Becker took ownership in spring 2015. And its back patio is still known for two things: horseshoes and views of the surrounding metro area.

3. The Alibi Restaurant & Lounge

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4024 N Interstate Ave
Portland, OR 97227
(503) 287-5335
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With its kitschy decor and potent tiki drinks first debuting in 1947, The Alibi calls itself "Portland's Oldest Tiki Bar" — and the nightly karaoke would keep things festive even without all the thatch and neon-colored drinks. The Alibi's sign alone is an icon, lighting up N. Interstate a stone's throw from the Palms. The bar went through some major renovation in 2017, bringing it up to code but luckily not classing it up too much.

4. Billy Rays Dive

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2216 NE Martin Luther King Jr Blvd
Portland, OR 97212
(503) 287-7254
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When by driving too fast down MLK, Billy Ray’s red facade might look like nothing more than a standalone Portland home. However, inside is a two-story dive fit for all bar flies. Hungry Man meals are microwaved to order, just passing the bare minimum for what qualifies for legally acceptable bar food, and the outstanding patio makes for excellent smoke breaks and people watching.

5. Joe's Cellar

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1332 NW 21st Ave
Portland, OR 97209
(503) 223-8825

There was a brief scare back in 2013, when Joe’s Cellar was forced to close for few months due to the century-old building having some code issues, but thankfully, Joe’s Cellar remains as an escape from the bustling NW “Trendy-Third” neighborhood. This place has everything needed in a dive bar: carpeted floors, wood paneling, pool, big-screen TVs, and the occasional karaoke night. Plus, like any good dive, it’s open as long as legally possible to serve alcohol in the state, from 7 a.m. to 2:30 a.m., with breakfast, lunch, and dinner.

Classic dive bar Joe’s Cellar
Joe’s Cellar in NW PDX
Alex Frane/EPDX

6. Yur's Bar & Grill

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717 NW 16th Ave
Portland, OR 97209
(503) 224-0160
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Yur's has style: half-circle booths that can easily fit eight people, pool, a jukebox, and free popcorn. The drinks are respectfully cheap, and, as a bonus, the food is actually quite good, from burgers to cheesesteaks, tots, and wings.

Yuri’s Bar and Grill hot wings
Hot wings at Yuri’s
Yuri’s Bar and Grill/Official

7. Low Brow Lounge

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1036 NW Hoyt St
Portland, OR 97209
(503) 226-0200
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A respite of low-brow dining in the otherwise bourgeoise Pearl District, the all-too-appropriately named Low Brow Lounge offers the cheapest drinks and most-fried food for blocks around. The multi-chambered diner and bar sports arcade games and quirky artwork, and each night sees regulars and service-workers coming in for an escape from the Pearl.

8. Montavilla Station

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417 SE 80th Ave
Portland, OR 97215
(503) 252-3240

Montavilla Station is a cross between a dive and a friendly locale, serving cheap drinks and entertaiment to residents of the cloistered Montavilla Neighborhood. Here, visitors can find shuffleboard, hunter arcade games, and the ubiquitous video-poker, as well as live music almost nightly in the spacious bar under the glow of the many TVs and neon signs.

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date night

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9. The Slammer Tavern

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500 SE 8th Ave
Portland, OR 97214
(503) 232-6504

Will the Christmas lights still be up? This is always a question at The Slammer, and the answer is always “yes.” It's usually followed up with, "So, do you want to play some Pac-Man, or what?" Along with arcade games and low ceilings, there's a jukebox and skee-ball. Those in a romantic mood can watch the sunset over the west hills from the tables outside.

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#tavern

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10. Yamhill Pub

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223 SW Yamhill St
Portland, OR 97204
(503) 295-6613

An old-school watering hole, the Yamhill Pub is hidden down by the train tracks, and not too far from the riverfront, as any true dive should be. Dark, grimy, and with an interior utterly covered in penned graffiti, the bar is vaguely intimidating to enter. Luckily, the bar staff is friendly and quick to serve a well drink in a plastic cup, and the digital jukebox takes cards.

11. Speakeasy Tavern

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609 1/2 SE Taylor St
Portland, OR 97214
(503) 234-8991
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Neither a speakeasy nor a tavern, Gil’s Speakeasy Tavern is a subterranean bar that harkens back to the old days of Portland’s punk rock bar scene. A long, double-sided bar dominates the center of the room and graffitti lines the ceilings, walls, and just about every other surface. Drinks are cheap, the bar regularly hosts local musical acts, and regulars generally respect the fact that it’s directly under an apartment complex, especially the ones who live there.

12. Watertrough Saloon

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4815 SE Hawthorne Blvd
Portland, OR 97215
(503) 234-4970

Among the many bars on the eastern stretch of Hawthorne Blvd. lies the dirty old Watertrough Saloon. Outfitted with key dive bar elements (soggy carpets, mismatched chairs, icy cold beer cans), patrons can be found playing pool, or reminiscing around a table. Visitors can sip on a cheap beer and a shot of whiskey before hopping to the next stop.

13. Reel M Inn

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2430 SE Division St
Portland, OR 97202
(503) 231-3880

SE Division's nondescript Reel M Inn would be just another dive — lack of windows, junk on walls, cramped pool table — if not for its killer fried chicken. On even a moderately busy evening, the chicken will take its time coming to the table, sometimes more than an hour — but it’s worth it to order a bottled beer or a cheap whiskey, play pool, and wait. It lives up to the hype.

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Fryer’s on. Nina’s here.

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14. Ship Ahoy Tavern

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2889 SE Gladstone St
Portland, OR 97202
(503) 239-0868

An oddly unleveled floor and some alcove rooms gives Ship Ahoy a charming kind of dive vibe, which is helped by the drink specials and hot food menu that’s there just because of legal requirements. It’s actually a surprisingly good place to get a beef hot dog, which are just $1 each, or for some fruit candies from the candy dispensers. A few TVs are strewn about the space and there’s a single pool table and some pinball machines for entertainment, but the true draw is the no-frills service that’s been bringing in regulars for decades. 

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Day drinking commences!

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15. Cosmo Lounge

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6707 SE Milwaukie Ave
Portland, OR 97202
(503) 233-4220

When drinking cheap in Westmoreland, many would head to the perfectly respectable bar Kay’s. But for a more low-key, eccentric experience, imbibers would do well to head next door to The Cosmo Lounge. Felt paintings line the walls above the booths of this little dive bar on the way to the back hallway, which sports a fair amount of video poker machines. There are no fancy cocktails or five-star meals here, but there are cheap shots of whiskey and a solid tap list.

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1. Twilight Room

5242 N Lombard St, Portland, OR 97203

While occasionally overrun by college kids packed in to watch a game, Twilight Room is a North Portland staple dive. Stacked with pool tables and 32 tap handles, the bar opens early for breakfast and closes late, so all walks of life are welcome here. The bartenders chat freely with those sitting near his well, so it’s advisable to grab a seat nearby.

5242 N Lombard St
Portland, OR 97203

2. Skyline Tavern

8031 Northwest Skyline Boulevard, Portland, Oregon

Way up on NW Skyline Blvd., the old-school Skyline Tavern looks transplanted from an Old West film (if the "saloon" sign out front wasn't enough indication). Fortunately, the notorious food was upgraded when environmental filmmaker Scott Ray Becker took ownership in spring 2015. And its back patio is still known for two things: horseshoes and views of the surrounding metro area.

8031 Northwest Skyline Boulevard
Portland, Oregon

3. The Alibi Restaurant & Lounge

4024 N Interstate Ave, Portland, OR 97227

With its kitschy decor and potent tiki drinks first debuting in 1947, The Alibi calls itself "Portland's Oldest Tiki Bar" — and the nightly karaoke would keep things festive even without all the thatch and neon-colored drinks. The Alibi's sign alone is an icon, lighting up N. Interstate a stone's throw from the Palms. The bar went through some major renovation in 2017, bringing it up to code but luckily not classing it up too much.

4024 N Interstate Ave
Portland, OR 97227

4. Billy Rays Dive

2216 NE Martin Luther King Jr Blvd, Portland, OR 97212

When by driving too fast down MLK, Billy Ray’s red facade might look like nothing more than a standalone Portland home. However, inside is a two-story dive fit for all bar flies. Hungry Man meals are microwaved to order, just passing the bare minimum for what qualifies for legally acceptable bar food, and the outstanding patio makes for excellent smoke breaks and people watching.

2216 NE Martin Luther King Jr Blvd
Portland, OR 97212

5. Joe's Cellar

1332 NW 21st Ave, Portland, OR 97209
Classic dive bar Joe’s Cellar
Joe’s Cellar in NW PDX
Alex Frane/EPDX

There was a brief scare back in 2013, when Joe’s Cellar was forced to close for few months due to the century-old building having some code issues, but thankfully, Joe’s Cellar remains as an escape from the bustling NW “Trendy-Third” neighborhood. This place has everything needed in a dive bar: carpeted floors, wood paneling, pool, big-screen TVs, and the occasional karaoke night. Plus, like any good dive, it’s open as long as legally possible to serve alcohol in the state, from 7 a.m. to 2:30 a.m., with breakfast, lunch, and dinner.

1332 NW 21st Ave
Portland, OR 97209

6. Yur's Bar & Grill

717 NW 16th Ave, Portland, OR 97209
Yuri’s Bar and Grill hot wings
Hot wings at Yuri’s
Yuri’s Bar and Grill/Official

Yur's has style: half-circle booths that can easily fit eight people, pool, a jukebox, and free popcorn. The drinks are respectfully cheap, and, as a bonus, the food is actually quite good, from burgers to cheesesteaks, tots, and wings.

717 NW 16th Ave
Portland, OR 97209

7. Low Brow Lounge

1036 NW Hoyt St, Portland, OR 97209

A respite of low-brow dining in the otherwise bourgeoise Pearl District, the all-too-appropriately named Low Brow Lounge offers the cheapest drinks and most-fried food for blocks around. The multi-chambered diner and bar sports arcade games and quirky artwork, and each night sees regulars and service-workers coming in for an escape from the Pearl.

1036 NW Hoyt St
Portland, OR 97209

8. Montavilla Station

417 SE 80th Ave, Portland, OR 97215

Montavilla Station is a cross between a dive and a friendly locale, serving cheap drinks and entertaiment to residents of the cloistered Montavilla Neighborhood. Here, visitors can find shuffleboard, hunter arcade games, and the ubiquitous video-poker, as well as live music almost nightly in the spacious bar under the glow of the many TVs and neon signs.

417 SE 80th Ave
Portland, OR 97215

9. The Slammer Tavern

500 SE 8th Ave, Portland, OR 97214

Will the Christmas lights still be up? This is always a question at The Slammer, and the answer is always “yes.” It's usually followed up with, "So, do you want to play some Pac-Man, or what?" Along with arcade games and low ceilings, there's a jukebox and skee-ball. Those in a romantic mood can watch the sunset over the west hills from the tables outside.

500 SE 8th Ave
Portland, OR 97214

10. Yamhill Pub

223 SW Yamhill St, Portland, OR 97204

An old-school watering hole, the Yamhill Pub is hidden down by the train tracks, and not too far from the riverfront, as any true dive should be. Dark, grimy, and with an interior utterly covered in penned graffiti, the bar is vaguely intimidating to enter. Luckily, the bar staff is friendly and quick to serve a well drink in a plastic cup, and the digital jukebox takes cards.

223 SW Yamhill St
Portland, OR 97204

11. Speakeasy Tavern

609 1/2 SE Taylor St, Portland, OR 97214

Neither a speakeasy nor a tavern, Gil’s Speakeasy Tavern is a subterranean bar that harkens back to the old days of Portland’s punk rock bar scene. A long, double-sided bar dominates the center of the room and graffitti lines the ceilings, walls, and just about every other surface. Drinks are cheap, the bar regularly hosts local musical acts, and regulars generally respect the fact that it’s directly under an apartment complex, especially the ones who live there.

609 1/2 SE Taylor St
Portland, OR 97214

12. Watertrough Saloon

4815 SE Hawthorne Blvd, Portland, OR 97215

Among the many bars on the eastern stretch of Hawthorne Blvd. lies the dirty old Watertrough Saloon. Outfitted with key dive bar elements (soggy carpets, mismatched chairs, icy cold beer cans), patrons can be found playing pool, or reminiscing around a table. Visitors can sip on a cheap beer and a shot of whiskey before hopping to the next stop.

4815 SE Hawthorne Blvd
Portland, OR 97215

13. Reel M Inn

2430 SE Division St, Portland, OR 97202

SE Division's nondescript Reel M Inn would be just another dive — lack of windows, junk on walls, cramped pool table — if not for its killer fried chicken. On even a moderately busy evening, the chicken will take its time coming to the table, sometimes more than an hour — but it’s worth it to order a bottled beer or a cheap whiskey, play pool, and wait. It lives up to the hype.

2430 SE Division St
Portland, OR 97202

14. Ship Ahoy Tavern

2889 SE Gladstone St, Portland, OR 97202

An oddly unleveled floor and some alcove rooms gives Ship Ahoy a charming kind of dive vibe, which is helped by the drink specials and hot food menu that’s there just because of legal requirements. It’s actually a surprisingly good place to get a beef hot dog, which are just $1 each, or for some fruit candies from the candy dispensers. A few TVs are strewn about the space and there’s a single pool table and some pinball machines for entertainment, but the true draw is the no-frills service that’s been bringing in regulars for decades. 

2889 SE Gladstone St
Portland, OR 97202

15. Cosmo Lounge

6707 SE Milwaukie Ave, Portland, OR 97202

When drinking cheap in Westmoreland, many would head to the perfectly respectable bar Kay’s. But for a more low-key, eccentric experience, imbibers would do well to head next door to The Cosmo Lounge. Felt paintings line the walls above the booths of this little dive bar on the way to the back hallway, which sports a fair amount of video poker machines. There are no fancy cocktails or five-star meals here, but there are cheap shots of whiskey and a solid tap list.

6707 SE Milwaukie Ave
Portland, OR 97202

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