Post Overview: Best Bars in Portland, Oregon
If there’s one thing Portland locals love as much as breweries, beards and beanies, it’s strong libations. Thankfully, there’s a handful of great bars in Portland to choose from.
As a life-long local, I’ve spent my fair share of dates, work functions and friendly catch-ups at the various bars throughout town.
I thought it’d be fun to highlight some of the best bars in Portland for anyone in search of a strong (or simply fun) drink to catch up over. Hope you enjoy!
Best Bars Portland, Oregon
If your idea of a perfect Portland bar involves strong cocktails with the ability to turn a casual dinner into an evening that lasts a lifetime, Deadshot is the spot for you.
Located in the Central Eastside, Deadshot was opened in 2018 by Adam Robinson, who loves creating innovative cocktails by infusing flavors and seasonings he discovers on his world travels.
Think of bold-flavored cocktails mixed with unusual ingredients like mustard, cardamom and egg yolks. One of the most popular drinks at this beloved Portland cocktail bar is the crystal daiquiri. It has all the usual suspects (rums, lime, sugar) but because it’s a clarified version of the original, it ends with a clean and citrusy finish.
Local’s Tip: If you’re open to trying one of the most unique cocktails in Portland, I highly recommend the Who Is Jack Nance (whiskey, sesame, citrus, mustard, sherry, yolk) from Deadshot.
Portland Monthly magazine named Scotch Lodge the best bar in Portland in 2019. No small feat, considering they opened that very year. But in a lot of ways, the award is not surprising when considering the well-curated cocktail menu, relaxed vibe and expert execution by the talented bar tenders.
The biggest draw is the roundup of rare whiskies and scotches on offer. My husband and I took trip to Islay, Scotland over the summer and have been on a whiskey since! Imagine out surprise when we spotted some of the hard-to-find bottled in our own backyard.
Since this Portland cocktail bar specializes in whisk, expect most of the cocktails to hit hard. I’m partial to the Lotus Espirit (Japanese whisky, lemon, genmaicha, lotus seed orgeat and eggwhite), while my husband prefers the whisky-heavy Four Grain Old Fashioned.
Lastly, don’t sleep on the food. The robust menu of seasonal dishes only adds to the never-ending list of reasons this is considered one of the best bars in Portland.
Bible Club PDX
Obviously there’s no shortage of great bars in Portland, but every once in a while you find yourself stepping foot into a place you know you’ll love a long time. Enter Bible Club PDX, a stylish speakeasy in Sellwood keen to impress all who walk through the door.
The menu (cleverly called Ten Commandments) lists the 10 cocktails on offer. Anything ordered is bound to be generously poured and spirit-forward. Make no mistake, the drinks steal the show but the speak-easy inspired interior is equally engrossing.
Found in a charming 1920s home, this has to be one of the most beloved bars in Portland.
I’m partial to Holy Smokes (Uncle Nearest Bourbon, Cardamaro, Benedictine, Chocolate Bitters, Laphroaig Scotch Mist), while my husband opts for the perfected Old Fashioned.
If you’re looking for inspirational cocktails in Portland, I highly encourage you to swing by the Sapphire Hotel. The menu is chock-full of exceptional classics sitting alongside tantalizing concoctions.
My favorite drink to date has been the Not An Espresso Martini (Vodka, Spanish vermouth, cold brew concentrate, salted brown sugar) and the Seasonal Manhattan (Japanese whisky, rosé vermouth, creme de cacao, Polynesian kiss bitters).
With a reputation for taking risks, it’s not hard to see why locals consider this one of the best bars in Portland.
Hale Pele is one of the most popular bars in Portland, Oregon and it’s not hard to see why. Which of us in dreary rain-soaked Portland hasn’t dreamed of a tropical beach vacation with daiquiri in hand? Be honest.
Well, thankfully locals have somewhere to turn when a 6-hour flight to Hawaii is out of the question. Hale Pele is a tiki-themed Portland cocktail bar boasting an exciting menu of 50 (yes, 50!) colorful mixed drinks.
Almost everything is made in house, from the juices to the syrups, which ensures each drink is fresh, strong, balanced and satisfying. Plus, the garnishes are always over-the-top, but somehow it works.
They have the classics down pat, but I’m always eager to try innovative seasonal creations. Go for the Jet Pilot (blend of aged rums, citrus, cinnamon and Falernum. Served flaming!) if you’re feeling adventurous, or the house-favorite daquiri if you swear by classics.
Offering a full food menu, Palomar is technically a restaurant, but locals see past the disguise — the mixed drinks are worth the occasional long lines. Palomar serves Cuban fare alongside thrilling tropical cocktails like daiquiris and creamy piña coladas.
In terms of the vibe, this Portland cocktail bar couldn’t be cooler if it tried. Vibrant shades of turquoise and pinks splashed on the walls, while energetic music competes with the symphony of blenders at the hands of skilled bartenders. So yeah, it’s no surprise locals consider this one of the best bars in Portland, it feels like an instant vacation.
If you’re at a loss for what to order, I suggest the Swizzle (house signature rum, lime, mango, falernum, chile, bitters) if you’re into spicy drinks, or the Matcha Flip (vodka, matcha, coconut, yellow chartruese, egg) if you love earthy flavors.
Airy, cheerful and bright, Bar West is part-restaurant, part-bar, but the drinks will have you convinced this is one of the best bars in Portland regardless.
Serving fresh Pacific Northwest fare alongside velvety cocktails, Bar West offers both indoor and outdoor seating (the patio swells with chatter during summer evenings). I love the seasonal cocktail menu and often pop in to see what they’ve come up with next.
I especially enjoy Cape Perpetua (mescal, aperol, lemon, blue doris, amaro nonino) and the Herbitual Ritual (bourbon, lemon, ginger honey, cardamaro, angostura, Laphroaig mist).
Located in the charming Woodlark Hotel (one of the best hotels in Portland), Abigail Hall is equally impressive. This is one of the newer bars in Portland, but that doesn’t stop it from being one of the best.
One of the biggest perks about this Portland bar (apart from the strong drinks) is the walk-in only policy. Swing by any hour of the day to see if you’re lucky enough to score a table, no reservations necessary. Happy Hour runs Tuesday – Saturday from 5-6pm, so expect a wait unless you show up early.
As for the drinks, don’t sleep on the Koji Old Fashioned (Tahini Washed Japanese Whisky, Koji, Wildflower Honey, Good Coffee) or the Martini McFly (Mezcal, Gin, Vermut Blanco, Bergamot, Bitter-sweet cube).
When it comes to creative cocktail bars in Portland, Abigail Hall is (very) hard to beat.
Multnomah Whiskey Library
No list of the best bars in Portland would be complete without Multnomah Whiskey Library. If your knowledge of whiskey expands beyond the aisles of Fred Meyer then you’re in for a treat. This whiskey bar in Portland will make you feel like a baron from a bygone era.
The sophisticated interior — clad with dark leather furniture, bookshelves storing 1,000 whiskey bottles and classy music — clearly evokes library feels. But rather than Nabokov and Dickens lining the shelf, you’ll find the knowledgeable team scrolling past Ardbeg and Lagavulin.
Getting reservations at Multnomah Whiskey Library feels like an impossible task. This is one of the best bars in Portland and everyone knows it. I mean, they create the best Old Fashioned in Portland, Oregon, so a wait is all but guaranteed.
Teardrop Cocktail Lounge
If you’re looking for a fancy cocktail bar in Portland, Teardrop Lounge will undoubtedly fit the bill. Opened in 2007, this has become one of the most popular bars in Portland because of the swanky vibe and air of sophistication.
Voted as one of the Best Bars in America by Esquire Magazine, Teardrop Cocktail Lounge is all about perfecting classics though high quality ingredients. Order the Late Check-Out (gin, passionfruit, red bitter, sherry, lemon) and see what all the fuss is about.
Best Cocktail Bars in Portland, Oregon (Post Overview)
In sum, here’s a roundup of the best bars in Portland, Oregon.
- Scotch Lodge
- Sapphire Hotel
- Hale Pele
- Bar West
- Abigail Hall
- Multnomah Whiskey Library
- Teardrop Lounge
- Bible Club PDX
Map of the best Portland Bars
Vasty Ram says
Thank you! I love that you included a map!! That’s always so handy. I’ll definitely be tagging you on IG when I hit these spots. I love all your lists!