Located beneath the Crystal Ballroom, a mecca for live music lovers, this pub attracts a large contingent of patrons who attend the shows upstairs. Even so, it's a terrific place to meet with friends and nurse a drink or two. The spacious venue boasts a funky decor and serves up microbrews crafted in the on-site Crystal Ballroom Brewery as well as a collection of stiff cocktails. For distraction, there are pool tables and pinball machines, but there should be enough activity and conversation that you don't need anything else to hold your attention. The pub food menu offers all your favorites and adds a nice twist with dishes inspired by global cultures. A great place to meet people.
Recommended for Bars because: An overall great place to hang out with friends anyday of the week.
Meagan's expert tip: During the week try to hit happy hour from 3-6 pm each weekday.
Ground Kontrol is Portland's kick-butt classic arcade featuring over 100 classic video games and 40 pinball machines. Not only are there loads of video games they also feature a full-service bar all day long. Every game has a drink holder on it, allowing you to properly game. Often there is a host DJ. Whenever there isn't a DJ they will have another form of entertainment like comedy shows, trivia nights, game tournaments, or Rock Band karaoke. Ground Kontrol is available for public and private event rentals. Visit on the second Thursday or the last Wednesday of the month for unlimited gameplay with a $7 cover.
Recommended for Bars because: Ground Kontrol is one of the best bars in Portland for a fun night out.
Meagan's expert tip: Visit on the second Thursday of the month for unlimited gameplay with a $5 cover.
Secret Society is a 1907 Victorian-era hall with a rich history that housed two fraternal organizations, countless artists and musicians, and diverse events. The cocktail lounge is decorated in wood-paneled club and provides exceptional food and drink in a casual environment. The Secret Society offers Pacific Northwest spirits, wine, beer and food. The ballroom, a fraternal lodge meeting hall for roughly 90 years, now plays host to events, both public and private, from live music to private dining, weddings and parties. Draped in lush red velvet and vintage wood, the ballroom's history shines throughout, offering a spirit of ceremony and celebration. The recording studio offers a truly unique and comfortable recording experience. Deftly balancing modern technology and its 1907 vibe, the studio is an ideal musical environment, inspiring a creative flow for musicians who are enveloped by their recording projects.
Recommended for Bars because: Secret Society has a cocktail lounge, ballroom with live music, and a recording studio all wrapped into one awesome bar.
Meagan's expert tip: Visit early to enjoy happy hour from 5-7 pm Sundays -Thursdays.
Tope is a light, airy rooftop restaurant and bar in downtown Portland inspired by the flavors of Mexico and it is by far one of the best places to grab a drink and a couple of tacos. For the Mezcal lovers, they offer a wide variety and feature Mezcal-focused cocktails. One cocktail sure to please is the "Carrot on My Wayward Son" made with Bahnez Mezcal, carrot, sweet potato, lime, mole bitters, and egg white. In addition to lots of spirits, options are lots of taco options. On any given day they offer atleast 8 types of tacos including al pastor, kale and bean, lengua, and more.
Recommended for Bars because: Fun atmosphere with delicious drinks and food at reasonable prices.
Meagan's expert tip: Order a variety of things to share with friends like tacos al pastor, chips and salsa, and potato taquitos.
Located below the Doug Fir Restaurant, the Doug Fir Lounge is a hip live music spot that's got a dedicated following who show up to listen to the mix of regional and national musicians booked to play every night of the week. An outstanding food and cocktail menu is available, compliments of the Doug Fir Restaurant and Bar. They offer breakfast, lunch, dinner, and late-night food. Although shows have different time, generally doors open at 8 pm, with shows beginning at 9 pm; call or check their website for specific dates, times and shows. Doug Fir was listed as one of the Top 40 music venues in American by Paste Magazine. Doug Fir Lounge offers free wifi.
Recommended for Bars because: Doug Fir is a great bar to hang out with indoor and outdoor spaces.
Meagan's expert tip: Check their website to see upcoming shows.
The Multnomah Whiskey Library holds an exhaustive collection representing all major, and lesser, styles of distilled spirits known to the modern world. The vibe here is amazing and contrary to what many say you do not have to be a member to get in here. The Multnomah Whiskey Library is open to the people and community of Portland, Multnomah County, Oregon. The Library offers an unrivaled selection of whiskey and other fine distilled spirits, beers, and wines as well as accompanying cuisine. Tableside Cocktail Service is a specialty of The Library, as are tastings, pairing dinners, and other educational events.
Recommended for Bars because: Multnomah Whiskey Library is a unique place to have a drink in downtown Portland.
Meagan's expert tip: Do not let the extensive cocktail menu intimidate you. Ask one of their knowledgeable bartenders for direction if needed.
A favorite downtown spot for people of all ages, Kells offer Irish food and drink with a Northwest influence. Nightly shows make this pub the best place in Portland to hear traditional Irish music. A separate cigar lounge (with separate ventilation, of course) offers a wide selection of smokes. Though Kells offers Guinness Stout and a selection of beers and wines, it really stands out with its menu of single-malt scotch and Irish whiskey. The menu offers some traditional Irish favorites along with some more typical American fare. Kells is also open for and breakfast on the weekends.
Recommended for Bars because: Kells is always a fun place to go and they have shows every night.
Meagan's expert tip: On weekends Kells can get very crowded. Happy hour is generally low-key.
Kask is a sleek saloon located in downtown Portland adjacent to Gruner restaurant. Named one of the Best Bars in America in 2012 by Esquire, Kask boasts an amazing list of spirits including 25 types of gin and 48 types of whiskey. They serve their own signature drinks along with small plates. Here you will find some of the most interesting, unique cocktail creations in Portland. They serve 30 of their own hand-crafted cocktails, plus 6 seasonal signature cocktails. Unlike many bars, Kask offers a punch of the day for only $5. All of their bartenders are extremely knowledgeable and friendly.
Recommended for Bars because: Kask is an award-winning bar in downtown Portland, Oregon.
Meagan's expert tip: If you are unsure of what to order, tell the bartender what kind of drink you like and they will construct one just for you using their house-made extracts and syrups.
Hey Love has got a lot going on creative cocktails, beautiful food all day long, and cool vibe. Any time of day is a good time to visit, but at night Hey Love has become one of the most popular bars to be at. Hey Love has some delightful cocktails, like their Secret Life of Plants aka a Salty Mango Oolong Mai Tai or the Pink Feather made with bourbon, guava, macadamia Orgeat, lemon, banana, coconut salt spray. If you need a bit to eat to go along with your drink, try the chilaquiles Verdes made with Cochinita Pibil braised pork, crema, sunny egg, cotija cheese, and Three Sisters tortillas.
Recommended for Bars because: Hey Love has created a lively bar everyone will love with amazing cocktails and great food.
Meagan's expert tip: If their signature cocktails seem too over the top for you, stick to a classic like the Hey Love mule.
If you enjoy having a drink while taking in sweeping views of the city, you will love Xport. Situated on the 16th floor of the Porter Hotel, Xport gives you multiple views of Portland including bridges and mountains. On a chilly day sit by the fire and warm up with one of their handcrafted cocktails like the Cinderella's Big Score combinations of plantation dark rum, Rhum Neisson Agricole, Giffard banana liqueur, Aperol, velvet falernum, lime, coconut milk, and citrus foam. The bar menu is a bit limited, but all the items are quite tasty, especially the chicken tinga tacos. Other bites like crab tots and chickpea fries are delicious as well. For seafood lovers, there is a raw bar with oysters, Lomi Lomi, prawns, dungeness crab, tuna poke, caviar, and more.
Recommended for Bars because: This swanky rooftop bar has beautiful views of the city, good food, and fun cocktails.
Meagan's expert tip: If you are on a budget, you can still enjoy a drink. Just order a Stella, it's the best deal on the drink list.