When you think about it, Portland really is a beverage city. We’re known for our exacting coffee roasters and our award-winning breweries, and our role in the craft movements of both. The city itself is positioned between two world-class wine regions, and several distilleries pull water from the Bull Run Watershed to create gins, whiskies, and even aquavit. So of course, Portland’s cocktail scene is no exception: The city’s bars often balance the approachable with the inventive — incorporating house syrups, shrubs, and bitters; barrel-aging and fat-washing; infusing and clarifying drinks that can be simple and austere or fun and elaborate. Find our guide to the city’s cocktail bars below; for more recent additions to the city’s scene, this map may help.Read More
The Essential Portland Cocktail Bars Where You Can Sip Something Exceptional
Where to find Portland’s classic cocktails
Tulip Shop Tavern
Killingsworth bar Tulip Shop Tavern is an industry favorite, thanks to its dialed-in smash burgers, fun scoot-and-beer combos, and its consistent late-night hours. The cocktails here get wild with a laundry list of spirits, combining Kronan Swedish Punsch with rye and Combier Liqueur de Pamplemousse, or apple brandy with Old Overholt, Cynar, and Batavia Arrack. But the classics menu dials in standards like Boulevardiers and Sherry Cobblers, and the slushy machine is almost always spinning with something special. Keep an eye on the specials board for hardcore nostalgia — think hard-shell tacos, corn dogs, and the like.
The cocktail menu at Wilder is like the bar itself: a lot more than it appears at first glance. It’s small and straightforward and most drinks don’t go past three or four ingredients. Still, that restraint shows a deft understanding of how to make a balanced, pristine cocktail. The ubiquitous “classics with a twist” are joined by more distinctive concoctions, like drinks made with tamarind puree or pistachio orgeat. Visitors sitting at its modest wooden bar will quickly learn what a neighborhood-friendly establishment it is, as bartender and owner Ben Preacher greets most customers by name.
Dark and moody, usually with some kind of classic rock or new wave record playing, Expatriate drips with style. Its cocktails match those vibes, generally deep and bold with high-proof spirits mixed with aromatic bitters and vermouths. It’s always been on the forefront of Portland’s cocktail scene, and many seasoned bartenders have put in time stirring, shaking, and swizzling its innovative drinks. Those in the mood for some fun bar snacks would be hard pressed to find a more playful and satisfying menu, as its thick cheeseburger, lemongrass-beef nachos with wonton “chips,” and James Beard onion sandwiches have wowed diners since its opening.
Interurban excels at mixing the mature with the playful, the serious with the fun. Over the polished wooden bar, bartenders slide deep, lush whiskey drinks and austere gin cocktails alongside Jell-O shots and corn dogs. Diners sip on classic concoctions like Boulevardiers and Penicillins outside on the covered patios; otherwise, they dine on hearty entrees and knock back boilermakers and rare whiskies in the dining room with its hunter’s lodge vibes. It’s open daily, open late, and even open on many holidays, which means it’s always a safe bet when visiting Mississippi Avenue.
The elegant, marble-clad interior of Wonderly is the right venue for its minimalist cocktail menu. The martini and Manhattan are each oversized, with a sidecar bottle on ice for refills; the house margarita gets an additional pop of acidity and heat from a pineapple-habanero shrub; and there’s usually an olive-oil washed version of a Vesper or White Lady, the fat washing giving these normally bracing cocktails a silky mouthfeel. “Fancy bar snacks” is the best way to describe the food menu, with options like Brussels sprouts with bacon vinaigrette, shrimp cocktail, and a pretty stand-up burger that comes with bacon and egg.
For those in the know, the cozy Free House slings cocktail-lounge-quality drinks in a casual neighborhood bar with neighborhood bar prices (aka: no drinks over $14). Often bright and citrusy or dark and spirit-forward, with an emphasis on tequila and mezcal, the bar shines with simplicity and approachability, with drinks tending towards the familiar, maybe with a few inventive touches like uncommon bitters or a rare amaro. A draft beer list, large bottle-and-can list, and modest wine menu round out the drink offerings, while the food menu leans on the meaty side of things with charcuterie plates and sausages.
Hale Pele has received national attention as one of the best tiki bars in the country, from the overwrought decor to its takes on all of the tiki essentials, like mai tais, hurricanes, and zombies. One thing that can’t be found at Hale Pele are the artificial-tasting, overly juiced tiki drinks of the ‘90s and early 2000s — here, everything is made with high-end rums, syrups, and juices. And outside of Huber’s, with its flaming Spanish coffees, Hale Pele sports the most pyrotechnics in town, with all kinds of flaming garnishes.
A chic, cozy spot, Blank Slate has been quietly serving craft cocktails to the Montavilla neighborhood for a few years now. While it’s primarily a neighborhood bar, the cocktails — which veer tropical and playful with lots of rum and mezcal options — are worth the visit. Many drinks incorporate culinary elements with skill: For instance, the caraway notes of Brennivin blend with tomatillo juice, lime, and cumin simple syrup for an inventive, captivatingly savory cocktail, while the Naked City uses a red wine gastrique to add an acidic note to Pisco and Cocchi Americano. Blank Slate is also a strong option for low-ABV and nonalcoholic cocktails, often customizable for those looking for something less intense.
Housed in a Japanese outdoors store Snow Peak, the light, breezy, wood-filled bar and grill Takibi was once home to legendary bar owner Jim Meehan, formerly of PDT in New York, as well as Portland’s own accomplished Lydia McLuen. While both have since departed, new bar manager Alex Anderson has held down the fort, and the drinks are as good as ever. Though elements of the restaurant and bar program nod to Japan and its stylings, there’s a hefty amount of local representation on the menu, as well — for instance, the Imperial Jade pairs Suntory Roku Gin with both Stone Barn Brandyworks Apple Brandy and Accompani Flora Green, two local liqueurs, giving the Japanese gin a lush, verdant note. Those looking to splurge can find the Tanigawa, a blend of Oregon and Californian spirits infused with shiso, a lovely accompaniment to the grilled fish and meats coming from the kitchen.
It would be hard to overstate Teardrop’s influence on the city’s cocktail scene. It was, in many ways, Portland’s first “craft cocktail” bar, ushering in the drink culture Portland is now known for. The expansive menu is split into descriptive categories (like “bright and crisp,” “supple and herbal,” or “deep and dark”) all of which are made with meticulous care and high-quality ingredients by knowledgable veteran bartenders. Seasonal drinks are often a strong move here: In the summer, that may mean one of the city’s finest piña coladas, while in the fall, late harvest-noted cocktails like Boogie Street blend Asian pear butter and blood orange with Evan Williams 1783 bourbon and Novo Fogo cachaça. Year round, large-format punches incorporate hard-to-find spirits and liqueurs like Greek Skinos Mastiha.
Pink Rabbit is the Pearl’s resident cocktail bar with serious party vibes. Its drinks blur the line between serious, contemplative “mixology” and playful, zany creativity. Visitors will find drinks made with ghee-washed tequila, bell pepper-infused mezcal, and graham cracker milk punches, as well as more restrained stirred drinks, like a Negroni variation with clarified orange and lemon. Its electric pink and sky blue hues, regular DJs, and Asian American bar snacks make it a deeply fun place to dine and imbibe.
There is no cocktail menu at Angel Face, this sexy lounge nestled next to Navarre on Northeast 28th. Instead, bartenders create original drinks after quick conversations with visitors, using flavor notes and general liquor preferences as a jumping off point. The current staff at Angel Face is up to the challenge, offering several smart martini riffs and spirit-forward sippers on recent visits. Angel Face is absolute date night fodder, particularly before dinner at one of the neighborhood’s many strong options.
With a dining room decked out in live plants and festooned with vintage lanterns, Hey Love evokes the atmosphere of 1970s fern bars. Its drinks are executed with modern style and techniques but harken back to a similar era, never taking drinking too seriously. For instance, the refreshingly sweet-tart slushies have been on the menu since opening, and the pro move is still to go with the Utah, Gimme Two!, two slushies blended together into a beautiful dichromatic swirl. Other drinks follow the same party vibes — mango oolong mai tais, spicy margaritas, cucumber vodka sodas on draft, and the Oaxacan Sunrise, a passion fruit margarita topped with a strawberry slushy, served in cactus (naturally). However, fans of more spirit-forward drinks may prefer the bar’s take on a classic Old Fashioned, made with the Hey Love’s own single barrel of Maker’s Mark.
This subterranean cocktail bar is home to an A-Team of bartenders, who bend, twist, and expand what we expect of whisky. Pulling from a truly jaw-dropping list of spirits, bartenders spike pineapple daiquiris with Islay Scotch and coconut-oolong demerara to give it a touch of smoke, blend a painkiller and a sherry cobbler with a fun dose of ube cream of coconut, and combine genmaicha and lotus-seed orgeat with Japanese whisky for a floral and sophisticated sour. The food menu is full of stunners, as well, be it a pumpernickel-rolled fried brie with verjus syrup or a bowl of pasta with seaweed butter and candied duck. Scotch Lodge takes a few walk-ins, but it’s best to get a reservation.
The lively-vibed, sultrily-lit subterranean bar from Top Chef darling and James Beard Award winner Gregory Gourdet is far more than a waiting room for the perpetually booked Kann upstairs; Sousòl is a destination in its own right, serving drinks and snacks leaning heavily on ingredients and flavors from the Caribbean with creative additions. The Jungle Phoenix uses coconut milk for a clarified milk punch, a sweet, silken layer to a funky blend of Caribbean rums; Campari adds a nice shot of bitterness to the overall drink, evading any cloying notes. In the Pi Che Le, Opal adds a wisp of menthol-y chill to agave and pineapple. And for sustenance, seek out Trinidadian doubles, ginger-soy wings, and any of the bar’s fun raw fish or salad options, which may shift with the seasons. And pro tip: It is infinitely easier to get a reservation here.
Easily the Tabor neighborhood’s best-kept secret, the food at Bellwether is almost good enough to overshadow the drinks — almost. The bar consistently churns out cocktails following a Coco Chanel-style minimalism: No drink on the menu includes more than five ingredients, and most are closer to three or four. But every drink pulls off a shocking level of depth despite the short ingredient list, from a fennel-y aquavit-vermouth-amaro trio to the cozy rum cocktail with nutmeg, orgeat, and a touch of sherry for a nice caramel-y note. It’d be sacrilegious to dine elsewhere, however.
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Unsurprisingly, rum is the focus at the Rum Club, and drinks often include house-made syrups or other spices — the Rum Club daiquiri is always a good bet to start, but pros know to trust their bartender with all sorts of variations on the ubiquitous sour, blended or otherwise. Those who aren’t a fan of rum have plenty of options as well, with a selection of whiskey and gin drinks, many of which are dark and lush rather than bright and fruity; despite the rum focus, it’s definitively not a tiki bar. Besides the drinks, Rum Club’s main draw is its fun, party-like atmosphere and bartenders that are clearly having a great time being there.
This Buckman cocktail bar hidden down a flight of stairs the back of Loyal Legion loves a themed drink, but don’t expect food coloring and gimmicks; Halloween cocktails may include Last of Us-themed martinis with mushroom-infused Cocchi Americano, while a Zodiac cocktail menu included Leo-themed drinks with Sichuan peppercorn and meringue. Drinks are consistently balanced and genuinely creative, with fun large-format options for groups and parties.
The Midnight PDX
Belmont’s gothic-tinged Midnight quickly built up a faithful crowd due to its stylish interior, live music venue, and its agave and rum-focused cocktail menu developed by a team of industry veterans led by Estanislado Orona. In the Siren Serenade, Meletti adds a touch of dark intrigue to a blend of coconut-washed rum and pineapple. The Beso Muerte, or Death Kiss, is another favorite, a rum and white port cocktail with calendula cordial. Mestizo handles the food here, so expect snacks like vegan empanadas and yuca fries.
While many bars go for the tried-and-true “classics, but with a twist” approach to cocktails, the modernist lounge Deadshot is unafraid to get weird. It challenges drinkers with unorthodox ingredients like in the Who Is Jack Nance?, a whiskey drink with sesame, citrus, mustard, sherry, and yolk that has been on the menu since the bar was a Monday night-only affair. None of it feels arbitrary, though, but rather thoughtful, exploratory, and intentional. Those looking for something a little more traditional, though, will likely love the crystal daiquiri, a clarified version of the iconic drink that is crisp, clean, and bright. French-ish pop-up Plumb handles the food menu, which includes treats like Gruyere cheeseburgers and steak frites with harissa-sungold hollandaise.
The drinks at this Miami-vibed haven from lauded bartender Ricky Gomez are simply fun, from blended banana or strawberry daiquiris to the bar’s take on a Pimm’s Cup with kiwi and ginger beer. Palomar has shifted away from its daiquiri-heavy focus, making room for inventive drinks like the Japanese Cocktail with salted pineapple, root beer, and absinthe, or the prickly pear gastrique sour. Palomar’s teal and pink modernist dining room provides a fitting venue, and on warmer days the wide windows are thrown open, giving the whole place a breezy, outdoorsy feel.
From the bartenders who brought you the Old Gold, Holy Ghost is the only bar of its kind in the neighborhood: spacious, stylish, and an agave fan’s dream, with a wide range of Ranch Waters, margaritas in flavors like elderberry basil or calamansi tamarind, and single-varietal espadín picked out by the staff in Oaxaca. Drinks can get sillier or more serious, depending on the vibe; partiers may prefer Double Bubble-infused vodka shots or large-format cocktails served in teapots; solitary sippers can stick to an Old Fashioned variation or even a nonalcoholic fizz made with faux gin and orange blossom water.