Portland is a beautiful city with a reputation for being creative and weird.
Originally a simple west coast port city, Portland has evolved into a hub for counter-cultural movements.
In Portland, you can discover the latest trends in art, music, food, and more.
One great way to get to know Portland is to spend some time in the bars and craft breweries.
The people of Portland love to innovate when it comes to fermented beverages, specialty cocktails, and conceptual experiences.
With so many cool and funky bars to choose from, it can be a challenge to select which nightlife spot is the right fit for you and your friends.
To help you narrow your search, I’ve compiled a list of the best bars in Portland.
1811 S River Dr Suite #200, Portland, OR 97201
Portland Sports Bar and Grill is a casual family-run sports bar with yummy food and an excellent beer selection.
This restaurant is truly family-oriented and is owned by a father and son team.
The son has worked as the lead restaurant chef since he was in high school, making Portland Sports Bar and Grill a truly local establishment.
The menu features some excellent variations on bar classics, including ten different burger options—the peanut butter bacon burger is my favorite.
Portland Sports Bar and Grill also has a quality drinks menu with local Oregon beers on tap, as well as a surprisingly diverse wine selection.
In addition, PSBG has been called the best happy hour on the Portland waterfront.
210 NW 21st Ave, Portland, OR 97209
For a true Irish pub experience, you can’t go wrong with Kells Brewery.
Kells Brewery is a traditional family-owned Irish bar with two locations in Portland.
The ambiance and service are fantastic, but the menu raises Kells Brewery to more than just a generic Irish restaurant.
In 2015, Kells Brewery hired professional Irish chef Dawn Farley, who provides authentic and delicious Irish cuisine that is made with farm-fresh ingredients.
In addition to the fantastic shepherd’s pie and Irish stew, visitors can also enjoy the brewery’s craft beer selection.
Their Irish stout is a classic, but I always look forward to having their signature red ale.
432 NW 21st Ave, Portland, OR 97209
If you want a cozy, artsy bar that gives you a decent snapshot of a casual evening in northwest Portland, I recommend McMenamins Blue Moon Tavern & Grill.
This bar and restaurant has warm, neon lighting, funky artwork, and gorgeous antique-style lamps.
Blue Moon has a great food menu, complete with a long list of original burger concepts, indulgent sandwiches, and yummy bar snacks.
They also have an excellent beer and wine selection that features plenty of local Portland brands.
I suggest checking Blue Moon out during happy hour, as they have great deals on beers and burgers.
107 SE Washington St #167, Portland, OR 97214
Everyone loves a good wine bar, but Portland elevates the concept to the next level with Ambonnay Champagne Bar.
Located in southeast Portland, Ambonnay Champagne Bar is an effortlessly classy joint that’s perfect for an intimate date night.
The warm, gold and brass interior creates the ideal environment for sampling wines and enjoying Portland’s take on fine culture.
Ambonnay focuses on the origin and qualities of each wine on the menu.
Unlike some snobbish upscale places, Ambonnay shares the stories of their wines with a relaxed enthusiasm that makes even the most inexperienced champagne drinker feel welcomed and included.
Breakside Brewery is one of my favorite Portland craft brewery brands.
Their beers are diverse, original, and tasty, emulating the artisanal values that make Portland beer so iconic.
Breakside Brewery has multiple taproom locations in Oregon, so be sure to put this brewery on your to-do list when visiting the beaver state.
For a proper introduction to Breakside Brewery, I suggest trying Stay West, a west coast IPA with a satisfying citrus flavor.
If you want to stay up-to-date on Breakside’s experimental work, I encourage you to look for something from their barrel-aged collection, such as Turtle Time, Let Your Indulgence Set Me Free, and The Trappings and the Suits of Woe.
620 SE 122nd Ave, Portland, OR 97233
I like going to Bridge City Taproom to experience a local neighborhood vibe in Portland.
Bridge City Taproom is a family-friendly sports bar that features quality pub food and a large selection of local draft beers—not to mention many television screens showcasing that day’s sporting events.
The bartenders are always friendly and happy to make menu recommendations, and the restaurant generally has a positive, relaxed atmosphere.
In terms of food, I have a special love for their creamy bacon mac and cheese.
And if you have room for a dessert, consider trying one of their generously-sized slices of cake.
426 SW Washington St, Portland, OR 97204
For a true taste of Portland history, stop by Kelly’s Olympian.
Established in 1902, Kelly’s Olympian is the third-oldest continuously run bar and restaurant in Portland, and the place is rich with local culture.
This unusual bar is decorated almost like a bike museum, featuring one of the owners’ motorcycle collection as well as various vintage motorcycle paraphernalia, creating an edgy but nostalgic aesthetic.
Aside from history, Kelly’s Olympian also has amazing food and entertainment.
During the daytime, it has more of a laid-back vibe that’s great for having a pint of beer and some diner food with friends.
At night they host DJ performances and live music, inviting all kinds of people to come in and have a fun time.
1124 SW Alder St, Portland, OR 97205
Portlandians adore developing an in-depth passion for a specific food or beverage, and Multnomah Whiskey Library is a quintessential example.
Multnomah Whiskey Library is a membership-based drinking club that offers a comprehensive whiskey collection, as well as other high-end spirits.
The Library is about appreciating fancy liquor, but it’s also about reviving and updating the culture of old-fashioned social clubs, places where people could talk, bond, and appreciate life at a slower pace.
I enjoy visiting Multnomah Whiskey Library when I want to have a special, intimate evening with close friends.
959 SE Division St #100, Portland, OR 97214
Portland has plenty to offer when it comes to craft breweries and distilleries, but the city also has a love of fun cocktails.
Palomar is a Cuban-inspired cocktail bar that will make you feel like Miami has been transported to the Pacific Northwest.
Palomar is a creative spot with a retro, beachy aesthetic.
Some of the food is truly scrumptious, but Palomar is primarily known for its fantastic cocktails.
Most of the cocktails are sweet and tropical, which is why Palomar is ideal as a summer drinks location.
I recommend both the mojito and the rum-based Old Fashioned.
2724 Northeast Pacific Street, Portland, OR 97232
Paydirt Bar is exclusively devoted to serving cocktails and spirits.
Conveniently located in the Zipper building, which has plenty of takeout food options, Paydirt Bar is the ideal place to go out with friends where everyone can get the food they like and drink and dine together.
This whiskey and cocktail bar has so many fun menu items that you really can’t go wrong with what you order.
I always suggest that first-timers try the Old Fashioned Roulette: you order an Old Fashioned, and the bartender chooses all the ingredients.
720 SE Sandy Blvd, Portland, OR 97214
Rum Club introduces itself as a “craft cocktail bar with a rum problem,” which is a charmingly honest nickname for this lively tropical-inspired bar.
I appreciate that Rum Club can stick to the rum theme while still having a timeless and classy feel.
The decor is welcoming but traditional with a horseshoe-shaped mahogany bar and several cozy side booths.
This cocktail bar has so many tempting beverages that it can be hard to choose, but I suggest looking in the rum cocktail section—after all, when in the Rum Club, do as the rum-lovers do.
The Rum Club Daiquiri is a fantastic take on a classic, but I also always recommend the Queen’s Park Swizzle.
7907 SE Stark St, Portland, OR 97215
Vintage Cocktail Lounge is a simple bar that emphasizes high-quality classic cocktails and an extensive spirit collection.
This cocktail bar has the unique quality of having both the feel of a neighborhood bar and the menu of a high-end craft cocktail club.
There are several cocktails here that I strongly recommend.
For gin fans, check out the Tabor Reservoir, which will provide you with a dream-like combination of lemon and lavender flavors blended with Gordon’s dry gin.
If you want to satisfy your sweet tooth, consider trying the Filthy Chocolate Martini.
215 SE 9th Ave Ste 102, Portland, OR 97214
Scotch Lodge is a dark, cozy whisky bar with a classy drinks selection and elegant food menu.
This is the place to go if you want to play out your fantasy of coming from old money.
Sip on a vintage whisky while enjoying a steak tartare and catch up with your dear friends.
I like going to Scotch Lodge when I want an upscale drink and appetizer experience.
The Painkiller Cobbler is a popular favorite cocktail at Scotch Lodge, but I also enjoy having the Four Grain Old Fashioned and the Blade Runner.
1329 NE Fremont St, Portland, OR 97212
Books and brews come together at this adorable beer and wine bar.
Rose City Book Pub is filled to the brim with books for their patrons to enjoy, including fiction, nonfiction, and even children’s literature.
I greatly value that Rose City Book Pub encourages visitors to take things slowly and browse the collection while nursing a drink.
I love to come here in the fall and winter when the warmth of both the books and the soup feel the most inviting.
You can spend an afternoon here with a good read and a good glass of wine, or visit in the evening when Rose City Book Pub is hosting one of its many live entertainment events.
2719 NE 7th Ave, Portland, OR 97212
The Pocket Pub has a cute name and an excellent atmosphere.
This petite bar and restaurant serves pizza, wine, beer, and a few simple cocktails.
If you want to hang out and catch up with friends over a few slices of pizza and a pint of local craft beer, this is the best place to be.
There are many items to highlight on The Pocket Pub’s menu.
They have various pizzas, ranging from traditional cheese to fancy toppings.
I’m always impressed by the local beers they have on tap, and for a neighborhood pizza joint, they have a shockingly good wine list.