Portland boasts a booming bar scene, encompassing everything from atmospheric whiskey lounges to nostalgia-inducing haunts. You’ll also find a handful of alternative options, such as edgy tasting rooms, massive distilleries, and more — a toast to a spectacular PDX trip at any one of these incredible establishments.
The Woodlark Hotel’s lobby-level bar boasts fun hand-painted floral-patterned mural donning the walls, cozy leather booths, and lots of candles, setting the scene for an elegant evening spent mingling, eating, and, of course, sipping cocktails. You can’t go wrong with the seasonal punch, mulled wine, or one of the martinis. Alternatively, opt for an old-fashioned made with Japanese whiskey as you nosh on haute cuisine like oysters or Steak au Poivre.
Aviation American Gin Distillery
Gin lovers, rejoice: Portland-based gin, Aviation American Gin, recently unveiled its new distillery in Northwest PDX. The sprawling space spans over 32,000 square feet and includes a tasting room, cocktail bar, and, most notably, an escape room themed as Ryan Reynolds’ office. (The actor is the face of the gin brand and was previously a part-owner.) While the tasting room is open to the public, we recommend reserving The Aviation American Gin Experience, which includes a tour, tasting, and a trip through the escape room.
Bar Cala doesn’t fit in with the Portland aesthetic — and that’s one of the reasons why it’s so unique. The design beats to its drum, with palm trees flanking its concrete entrance’s wooden doors and bubblegum pink dressing the interior. The menu pays homage to the owner’s Chilean heritage via a Latin American-inspired menu. Cocktail-wise, try the Sandia Es Vida, comprising Cappelletti, prosecco, watermelon, and grapefruit.
True whiskey connoisseurs will want to add Multnomah Whiskey Library to their Portland bucket list, STAT. Take one step inside, and you’ll feel as if you’ve been transported to the past (think: striking chandeliers, aged leather sofas, a crackling fireplace, wooden furnishings, and more). The real star of the show here, however, is the 2,000-plus-bottle collection of spirits. Also, since this joint is members-only, non-members must purchase a Hall Pass to make a one-time reservation.
Palomar is easily one of Portland’s trendiest bars. The buzzy Cuban-inspired hangout has a warm, welcoming, and tropical feel thanks to palm tree-printed wallpapers, framed photos of the owner’s Cuban family, funky black-and-white-tiled flooring, and pops of vibrant colors like pink, green, and yellow. Be sure to try one of the signature Cuban daiquiris, which are available in flavors like strawberry and banana. You also can’t go wrong with the Cuba Libre or pina colada.
This hip cocktail bar is located in Portland’s Pearl District. Inside, you’ll be dazzled by pink-hued neon lights, mixtape-shaped menus, and playfully named drinks like “Basic Bunny,” “Bad Bunny,” and “Bunny is a Rider” that drive the theme home even further. (And, of course, there’s also an actual pink rabbit painted on the wall.) In terms of food options, expect innovative Asian fusion in the form of furikake fries, kimchi fried rice, and wonton nachos.
Scotch Lodge is famous for its whiskey-focused cocktail offerings and innovative food choices like pickle-spiced fries, fried brie, pappardelle with duck breast and seaweed butter, and a hearty soft shell crab sandwich. The swanky space is done up in greens with sleek marble accents and gorgeous tilework around the bar. And, since the bar is open from 4 PM until late, it’s also the perfect place for a nightcap.
Oenophiles can savor locally produced wine at The Crick PDX, Abbey Creek Winery’s downtown Portland tasting room. (Fun fact: Abbey Creek Winery in North Plains is owned and operated by Bertony Faustin, Oregon’s first known black winemaker.) The tasting room features a laid-back, unstuffy ambiance complete with industrial-inspired interiors – plus Faustin’s very own hip-hop soundtrack playing in the background. Additional music-themed touches include a large painted mural featuring headphones and a creative menu that refers to tastings as playlists, small plates as EPs, and larger entrees as Deep Cuts.
Other articles you may like: