Best Nightlife in Portland

Portland's Nightlife Scene Offers an Eclectic and Creative Mix

Two things Portland, Oregon is best known for are Beer and Music. So, of course, they are also the defining characteristics of the city's nightlife. With more craft breweries than any other city in the world, Portland offers ales and lagers of singular style and quality. The many neighborhoods of Stumptown each have their own flavor and style. This is expressed not only by the shops and restaurants but also by the many music venues located throughout the city.  From small rock and blues stages like Doug Fir Lounge and Mississippi Studios to the symphony performances of the Arlene Schnitzer Concert Hall, Portland has live performances for every taste. Popular night clubs have DJ's and dancing in Old Town and Downtown.

The flavor of the Northwest and the creative spirit of Portland is evident no matter what activity you choose. Here are our top 10 recommendations of some of the hottest night spots in town from live music to cocktail and dessert bars. 


Northeast Portland

Patisserie has become a popular late night hot spot in Northeast Portland with the addition of Bar Vivant. Known for their Beautiful award-winning hand-crafted French desserts, bottomless coffee, and extensive champagne list. One look at their dessert case and you will quickly see why Pix is always busy. They have more than 24 desserts to choose from with flavors to suit anyone's cravings. Enjoy a glass of dessert wine along with your dessert or a Batdorf and Bronson coffee drinks. They also serve teas from local Townshend's Tea. Not in the mood for dessert, then you'll appreciate their recent addition of tasty tapas, including traditional Spanish tapas.

Recommended for Best Nightlife because: Pix Patisserie, also known as Bar Vivant, is an awesome late night dessert and wine bar.

Meagan's expert tip: Try the award-winning Amelie dessert a chocolate mousse topped with orange vanilla créme brûlée adorned with caramelized hazelnuts, praline crisp, and Cointreau génoise.

Read more about Pix Patisserie →

The Sapphire Hotel is a cocktail lounge in a former hotel lobby with a shady past. They serve small plates and craft cocktails. The atmosphere here is killer and perfect for a date night. The cocktails are the best part about this lounge. Their most popular drink is actually named "The Most Popular Drink" and consists of vodka, lime, coconut, orgeat, Shirley Temple soda and pop rocks. Not only are the bartenders here expert mixologists they sometimes put on quite the show while making cocktails which is super fun to watch. The food here is good too. They offer selections like charcuterie plates and mussels and clams. On the weekend they offer brunch from 10 AM - 2 PM.

Recommended for Best Nightlife because: The Sapphire Hotel is a great place to hang out with friends or take a date.

Meagan's expert tip: Enjoy bottomless mimosas during weekend brunch from 10 AM - 2 PM.

Read more about Sapphire Hotel →

Financial District

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 organic dishes inspired by global cultures. A great place to meet people.

Recommended for Best Nightlife because: Ringler's Pub is a good place to play pool and have a beer.

Meagan's expert tip: This is the perfect place to grab drinks and food before catching a concert at the Crystal Ballroom.

Read more about Ringlers Pub →


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 Best Nightlife because: Ground Control is a fun way to spend a night out gaming and hanging out with friends.

Meagan's expert tip: Visit on the second Thursday of the month for unlimited gameplay with a $5 cover.

Read more about Ground Kontrol →

Photo courtesy of Jim Yeager

Holocene is a 21+ bar, dance club, and venue all rolled into one. On almost all weekend nights they offer high energy dance parties, including themed dance parties, on their two dance floors. On Saturday's it is usually Booty Bassment, a hip hop party. They always serve some type of alcoholic slushie as the drink of the day, like green tea-vodka-mint-honey or vodka, strawberry, lemonade, and black pepper. There cover charge is usually minimal at around $3. As a venue, they host a variety of music group. Check their website to see what upcoming bands are playing and what type of dance parties are happening.

Recommended for Best Nightlife because: If you are in the mood to go dancing Holocene is one of the best dance clubs in Portland.

Meagan's expert tip: Bypass long drink lines by heading to the cash-only bar in the back.

Read more about Holocene →

North Portland

Of all the live music venues in Portland, Mississippi Studios holds a special place in the hearts of many concert goers. Considered by many to be the best place in town to see a live show, the small, intimate space has amazing, clear sound. When it's not too crowded, the main floor is great for dancing, while the balcony has seating for those who prefer it. Audiences are so close to the performers that a concert can become an interactive, shared experience. Food and drinks are available for both lunch and dinner, and patios offer outdoor seating as well as a second performance stage. Occupying a quaint, historic building in the hip North Mississippi neighborhood, this is a great place to see concerts by big names and small indy bands alike.

Recommended for Best Nightlife because: Mississippi Studios is one of the best places in Portland to see a live show.

Meagan's expert tip: If you are hungry try the Bar Bar Veg Burger before the show. It's a vegan burger with housemade ketchup, "Bar Bar" sauce, garbanzo beans, black beans, onions, oats, and panko patty in an Alessio potato bun.

Read more about Mississippi Studios →

If you love country music, Bluegrass or Texas rock you are going to love the LandMark Saloon. Here they have everything a country bar should: a massive bar, quality libations like cold beer and signature cocktails served in mason jars, live honky-tonk music, a small dance floor for two-stepping and a killer outdoor area. Outback you can sit around a fire or play a round of corn hole. Their spacious patio includes a covered seating area and another bar. They even have decent bar food, if you like hotdogs. Unlike many bars in the area Landmark Saloon is open every day of the week and many nights there is no cover charge!

Recommended for Best Nightlife because: Landmark Saloon is everything a great bar should be: good drinks, live music, and a great patio.

Meagan's expert tip: For some fresh air go play corn hole in the back yard where you will still be able to hear the music.

Read more about Landmark Saloon →

Southwest Portland

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 Best Nightlife because: Multnomah Whiskey Lounge is hard to get into, but a cool experience once you finally get in.

Meagan's expert tip: Do not let the extensive cocktail menu intimidate you. Ask one of their knowledgeable bartenders for direction if needed.

Read more about Multnomah Whiskey Library →

A longtime favorite downtown spot for people of all ages, Kells offers Irish food and drinks 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. Happy hour is Monday through Friday 3pm-6:30pm and again from 10pm-close. It's also on Sunday from 7pm-close.

Recommended for Best Nightlife because: Kells has been a staple of Portland nightlife for years and continues to be one of the liveliest places in town.

Meagan's expert tip: On weekends Kells can get very crowded. Happy hour is generally low-key.

Read more about Kells Irish Restaurant and Pub →

Doug Fir Lounge
Photo courtesy of Courtesy Travel Portland

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 and they have a killer patio.

Recommended for Best Nightlife because: Doug Fir Lounge offers live shows every night of the week and great food.

Meagan's expert tip: Check their website to see upcoming shows.

Read more about Doug Fir Lounge →


Meet Meagan Wristen

Meagan Wristen is an Oregon resident by choice and thinks Portland is a tremendous city that everyone should visit. Originally a Texas girl, she has lived all around the United States,...  More About Meagan