The Best Restaurant Bars in Portland

Bars and restaurants have evolved alongside one another in this oddball town, so whenever a new one opens, it’s almost guaranteed that it will come stocked with a well-considered cocktail program and, more often than not, a solid wine program to match. Below is a list of some of the best places to either grab a seat at the bar for a full dinner, or simply while away the seemingly endless number of happy hours on offer across Portland.

  • 1

    Ava Gene's

    Peering into the windows of Ava Gene's is like looking into the storybook version of Portland that everyone dreams about. It's all floating lights, lace curtains, wood-fired grills and elegant-rustic décor. The bar acts as the dining room's buffer, and is an excellent place to eat and drink second to the counter that wraps around the open kitchen where pieces of locally raised pork are thrown on the grill and line cooks prep some of the freshest vegetables in the Northwest. Chef Joshua McFadden's vegetable-heavy menu has a way of coaxing depth of flavor from ingredients that don't often play a starring role, and ...

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    KNOWN FOR

    • full menu
    • craft cocktails
    • craft beer
    • Italian wine
    • natural wine
    • lots of amari
  • 2

    Aviary

    A perusal of Aviary’s menu wouldn’t necessarily raise an eyebrow. But upon execution, the restaurant's cocktails are equal parts cerebral and surprising, arriving with odd little touches like a clear shard of black sesame “glass” or a float of cabernet sauvignon. Like the lofty, yet comforting cooking, Aviary’s bar maintains an air of accessibility not always associated with high-concept drinks.

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    KNOWN FOR

    • craft cocktails
    • full menu
  • 3

    Barwares

    Adjacent to the self-proclaimed “inauthentic Asian” restaurant Smallwares, Barwares’ focus is, unsurprisingly, on booze. Rather than residing on separate lists, sake, wine and beer are mixed together under categories like “rich,” “fruity” and “earthy,” while the abbreviated cocktail menu is composed of spirit-driven cocktails titled, simply, “The Whiskey,” “The Gin” and “The Rum." Carrying on the theme of improvisational Asian, and taking cues from the kitchen, the bar stocks ingredients usually reserved for culinary use like kaffir lime and garam masala. A fireplace and an overstuffed orange couch are congruous with ...

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    KNOWN FOR

    • craft cocktails
    • full menu
  • 4

    Clyde Common

    Clyde Common has been the city's catchall dining and drinking hall for years, but has yet to feel anything but fresh and original. Its bar—headed by Jeffrey Morgenthaler—continues to provide one of Portland's best dining and drinking experiences, morning to midnight. Thanks to Morgenthaler's tongue-in-cheek creativity, the bar program has always pushed the craft cocktail conversation forward, whether intentional or not, from bottled and barrel-aged drinks to makeovers of once-maligned drinks like the Amaretto Sour. Similarly, the wine list has remained one of the city's most consistently excellent, marrying a love of ...

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    KNOWN FOR

    • craft cocktails
    • French wine
    • Italian wine
    • natural wine
    • craft beer
    • day drinking
    • hotel bar
    • full menu
    • lots of whiskey
  • 5

    St. Jack

    Everything about St. Jack—from the French provincial wallpaper, the mountains of candlewax atop the bar and the custardy canelés—is charming. The cuisine is inspired by rustic Lyonnais cooking, and Chef Aaron Barnett's hearty meat dishes and seasonal salads feel right in step with Portland’s culinary ethos. The well-edited wine list pays homage to France and the Northwest, while the cocktails skew classic, with drinks like the French Pearl listed alongside champagne-based cocktails and house updates to the Manhattan and Bijou.

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    KNOWN FOR

    • full menu
    • bar food
    • good wine
    • craft beer
    • craft cocktails
  • 6

    Kask

    Adjacent to downtown staple (and parent restaurant) Grüner, Kask is an Alpine-inspired ode to cocktails. The small wood and slate adorned barroom room plays host to a massive selection of whiskey, and offers an around-the-world tour of beautifully crafted cocktails both classic and original. Kask's well-edited menu is easy to navigate, with each drink owning its own quirky line of attribution, whether a nod to its origins (El Diablo: Trader Vic, 1947) or its inspiration (Boot Strap Buck: from Dark & Stormy with love).

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    KNOWN FOR

    • craft cocktails
    • bar food
    • lots of whiskey
  • 7

    The Whey Bar at Ox

    Housed in a spiffed-up garage-cum-woodshed space, Whey Bar is where Ox’s overflow happily goes to drink cocktails and snack on oysters, olives and house ricotta while waiting for a seat. Like Ox’s Argentinian-inflected menu, Whey’s drinks are intense and swift in effect.

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    KNOWN FOR

    • craft cocktails
    • bar food
    • outdoor / patio
  • 8

    The Woodsman Tavern

    The first restaurant from Stumptown founder Duane Sorenson—whose brood now includes Ava Gene's and Roman Candle—The Woodsman has always boasted a top-notch beverage program. The prototypical Portland restaurant, all Edison bulbs and reclaimed wood, the place practically begs for you to order a glass of whiskey. And while the list of brown spirits is worth a trip alone, the wine program remains one of the most concise and avant-garde in the city. The list skews French, but detours are encouraged, particularly if they lead to the "Italian Reds" section.

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    KNOWN FOR

    • French wine
    • lots of whiskey
    • craft cocktails
    • full menu
    • brunch

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