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New Year’s Eve at CC Slaughters
CC Slaughters/Official

Portland’s Wildest Gay Bars That Are Still Open and Ready for Pride

Here’s where to dance, drink, and catch a drag show with the local queer community, even now

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New Year’s Eve at CC Slaughters
| CC Slaughters/Official

Even before COVID-19 decimated much of the restaurant and bar industry, gay nightlife spots in Portland, Oregon were an endangered species — In fact, bars catering to local lesbians are nearly extinct, and in recent years, Portland’s queer community has said goodbye to holdouts like Fox & Hounds, Sullivan’s Gulch, and Embers. In 2020, Pride was a much milder affair — a necessity, given the circumstances — and the city’s few gay bars held on, in attempt to make it to the other side of the pandemic.

Still, not all is lost — there are still a slew of spaces that offer adult beverages, food, and great company, as this map to Portland’s best LBGTQ-friendly bars and restaurants attests. June is normally a period of time when queer Portlanders cram themselves into bars for drag shows and dancing, and as restrictions begin to loosen, some bars are bringing back their drag brunches, scantily-clad performers, and long-awaited festivities. The bars may not be as packed and the party may end much earlier; nonetheless, these gay bars are still kicking, even after yet another brutal year. For more specific Pride events in Portland, check out this guide. Note the points on this map, like all Eater PDX maps, are not ranked; rather, they are organized geographically.

The latest CDC guidance for vaccinated diners during the COVID-19 outbreak is here; dining out still carries risks for unvaccinated diners and workers. Please be aware of changing local rules, and check individual restaurant websites for any additional restrictions such as mask requirements. Find a local vaccination site here.

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Note: Restaurants on this map are listed geographically.

1. Eagle Portland

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835 N Lombard St
Portland, OR
(503) 283-9734
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The Eagle might be a bit off the beaten path, but it’s well worth the ride to North Portland for this always fun and fascinating bear and leather bar. It isn’t always for the shy and timid, but the bar staff is friendly, the DJs are usually good, and the under-dressed patrons are more than happy to make newbies feel at home, including locals who love to drop coin in the Eagle’s various video poker machines. The theme nights are slowly starting to return, and the Eagle is even teaming up with the nearby Casa Zoraya to serve dishes like lomo saltado sandwiches and anticuchos between beers and Red Bulls.

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2. Escape Bar and Grill

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9004 NE Sandy Blvd
Portland, OR
(503) 255-4300
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Located in a nondescript strip mall, the Escape Bar and Grill caters to an open-minded queer crowd. Escape also furnishes a fairly extensive and inexpensive menu, with things like mozzarella sticks, pear sugar waffles, and buttermilk fried chicken sandwiches. Escape is slowly bringing back some of its parties and events, including drag and music bingo. It’s open for dine-in and takeout.

3. Local Lounge

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3536 NE M L King Blvd
Portland, OR
(503) 282-1833
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Location matters, and it doesn’t get more local than this smallish bar on Northeast’s main drag, Martin Luther King, Jr. Boulevard. Local Lounge prides itself on its all-inclusive atmosphere and offers live music, art shows, an outdoor seating area, drag performances, and appetizers like chicken flautas and spinach artichoke dip. Plus, every first and third Saturday of the month, the bar is home to Mis Tacones, the vegan taco pop-up that has us enamored.

4. Santé Bar

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411 NW Park Ave
Portland, OR 97209
(971) 404-8216
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This narrow, elegant space on the North Park Blocks has been around for years, but its star has only recently risen. The drinks are solid — house-made bitters and infusions support a robust cocktail list — and the service is warm, with lounge-y vibes and guaranteed familiarity. Normally, the event calendar is a bonafide treasure trove: film screenings, open mics, showtune singalongs; while things aren’t quite that involved these days, the bar still offers drinks inside and out, and the team is throwing a drag show in the park for Pride 2021.

5. Stag PDX

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317 NW Broadway
Portland, OR 97209
(971) 407-3132
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This nicely appointed gentlemen’s club features a relaxed-yet-clubby interior with leather furnishings, cheeky art, and exposed male dancers. DJs help keep the main bar spinning, and Stag offers private bookings for people seeking something a little more exclusive for this year’s Pride; those who feel uncomfortable being inside a club can still grab a drink on picnic tables stationed outside the bar.

6. Darcelle XV

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208 NW 3rd Ave
Portland, OR 97209
(503) 222-5338
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What is there to say that hasn’t been said? Darcelle hosts the longest-running drag show on the West Coast, and not for nothing. The food is greasy, the queens are brassy, and there’s a Sunday matinée fit for the whole family. A queer Stumptown staple since Stonewall (really! 1969!), Darcelle’s has the air of an institution, and it’s a can’t-beat spot for out-of-towners. The events aren’t as abundant as they were in past years, but Darcelle is still throwing $20 shows on the weekends, as well as a stellar drag brunch.

7. CC Slaughters

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219 NW Davis St
Portland, OR
(503) 248-9135
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This popular club appeals to a slightly younger crowd of queers and their allies, who come to dance and take Jell-O shots. After a long hiatus that seemed like it may be permanent, CC Slaughters is back open, with extensive outside seating, dancing indoors, Friday night drag shows, and snacks like jalapeño poppers. Check out the bar’s Facebook page for more event details.

8. Silverado

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610 NW Couch St
Portland, OR 97209
(503) 224-4493
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This nightclub and legendary strip club is divided into two decidedly different spaces. In the main room, male strippers dance in a club with two separate bars and a dance floor. And for chatty types, a throughway leads you to a smaller lounge with plenty of bar seating, as well as a giant screen to watch everything you’re missing onstage next door. The bar has even opened up an outdoor area, for those who don’t feel ready for all the action just yet. The Silverado also offers a full menu with things like carne asada fries and fish and chips.

9. Scandals

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1125 SW Harvey Milk St
Portland, OR 97205
(503) 227-5887
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This always-evolving entertainment hub is one of the few remaining gay bars in what used to be the epicenter of Portland’s gay-friendly nightlife scene. Scandals features art shows, djs, jazz nights, really cheap drinks, and an outdoor patio. And even despite the events of the last year, the bar’s “Brunching with the Boys” lives on every Saturday and Sunday, from noon to 3 p.m., with every dish $5 or under.

10. Crush

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1400 SE Morrison St
Portland, OR
(503) 235-8150
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Pre-pandemic, this inner Southeast boîte spot drew in a huge, diverse crowd during Crush’s outrageously cheap happy hours ($5 martinis!) or to raise money for socially relevant causes, such as Basic Rights Oregon. These days, things look different at Crush, but the bar still offers indoor and outdoor seating, with things like curry-and-paneer-topped fries and the house Orange Crush, an orange-infused vodka with blood orange syrup and soda.

1. Eagle Portland

835 N Lombard St, Portland, OR

The Eagle might be a bit off the beaten path, but it’s well worth the ride to North Portland for this always fun and fascinating bear and leather bar. It isn’t always for the shy and timid, but the bar staff is friendly, the DJs are usually good, and the under-dressed patrons are more than happy to make newbies feel at home, including locals who love to drop coin in the Eagle’s various video poker machines. The theme nights are slowly starting to return, and the Eagle is even teaming up with the nearby Casa Zoraya to serve dishes like lomo saltado sandwiches and anticuchos between beers and Red Bulls.

835 N Lombard St
Portland, OR

2. Escape Bar and Grill

9004 NE Sandy Blvd, Portland, OR

Located in a nondescript strip mall, the Escape Bar and Grill caters to an open-minded queer crowd. Escape also furnishes a fairly extensive and inexpensive menu, with things like mozzarella sticks, pear sugar waffles, and buttermilk fried chicken sandwiches. Escape is slowly bringing back some of its parties and events, including drag and music bingo. It’s open for dine-in and takeout.

9004 NE Sandy Blvd
Portland, OR

3. Local Lounge

3536 NE M L King Blvd, Portland, OR

Location matters, and it doesn’t get more local than this smallish bar on Northeast’s main drag, Martin Luther King, Jr. Boulevard. Local Lounge prides itself on its all-inclusive atmosphere and offers live music, art shows, an outdoor seating area, drag performances, and appetizers like chicken flautas and spinach artichoke dip. Plus, every first and third Saturday of the month, the bar is home to Mis Tacones, the vegan taco pop-up that has us enamored.

3536 NE M L King Blvd
Portland, OR

4. Santé Bar

411 NW Park Ave, Portland, OR 97209

This narrow, elegant space on the North Park Blocks has been around for years, but its star has only recently risen. The drinks are solid — house-made bitters and infusions support a robust cocktail list — and the service is warm, with lounge-y vibes and guaranteed familiarity. Normally, the event calendar is a bonafide treasure trove: film screenings, open mics, showtune singalongs; while things aren’t quite that involved these days, the bar still offers drinks inside and out, and the team is throwing a drag show in the park for Pride 2021.

411 NW Park Ave
Portland, OR 97209

5. Stag PDX

317 NW Broadway, Portland, OR 97209

This nicely appointed gentlemen’s club features a relaxed-yet-clubby interior with leather furnishings, cheeky art, and exposed male dancers. DJs help keep the main bar spinning, and Stag offers private bookings for people seeking something a little more exclusive for this year’s Pride; those who feel uncomfortable being inside a club can still grab a drink on picnic tables stationed outside the bar.

317 NW Broadway
Portland, OR 97209

6. Darcelle XV

208 NW 3rd Ave, Portland, OR 97209

What is there to say that hasn’t been said? Darcelle hosts the longest-running drag show on the West Coast, and not for nothing. The food is greasy, the queens are brassy, and there’s a Sunday matinée fit for the whole family. A queer Stumptown staple since Stonewall (really! 1969!), Darcelle’s has the air of an institution, and it’s a can’t-beat spot for out-of-towners. The events aren’t as abundant as they were in past years, but Darcelle is still throwing $20 shows on the weekends, as well as a stellar drag brunch.

208 NW 3rd Ave
Portland, OR 97209

7. CC Slaughters

219 NW Davis St, Portland, OR

This popular club appeals to a slightly younger crowd of queers and their allies, who come to dance and take Jell-O shots. After a long hiatus that seemed like it may be permanent, CC Slaughters is back open, with extensive outside seating, dancing indoors, Friday night drag shows, and snacks like jalapeño poppers. Check out the bar’s Facebook page for more event details.

219 NW Davis St
Portland, OR

8. Silverado

610 NW Couch St, Portland, OR 97209

This nightclub and legendary strip club is divided into two decidedly different spaces. In the main room, male strippers dance in a club with two separate bars and a dance floor. And for chatty types, a throughway leads you to a smaller lounge with plenty of bar seating, as well as a giant screen to watch everything you’re missing onstage next door. The bar has even opened up an outdoor area, for those who don’t feel ready for all the action just yet. The Silverado also offers a full menu with things like carne asada fries and fish and chips.

610 NW Couch St
Portland, OR 97209

9. Scandals

1125 SW Harvey Milk St, Portland, OR 97205

This always-evolving entertainment hub is one of the few remaining gay bars in what used to be the epicenter of Portland’s gay-friendly nightlife scene. Scandals features art shows, djs, jazz nights, really cheap drinks, and an outdoor patio. And even despite the events of the last year, the bar’s “Brunching with the Boys” lives on every Saturday and Sunday, from noon to 3 p.m., with every dish $5 or under.

1125 SW Harvey Milk St
Portland, OR 97205

10. Crush

1400 SE Morrison St, Portland, OR

Pre-pandemic, this inner Southeast boîte spot drew in a huge, diverse crowd during Crush’s outrageously cheap happy hours ($5 martinis!) or to raise money for socially relevant causes, such as Basic Rights Oregon. These days, things look different at Crush, but the bar still offers indoor and outdoor seating, with things like curry-and-paneer-topped fries and the house Orange Crush, an orange-infused vodka with blood orange syrup and soda.

1400 SE Morrison St
Portland, OR

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