Can you believe we are already over halfway through the year? Can you believe that the days are starting to get shorter again? I find it absolutely crazy to think about, and I feel like I only just started getting used to the idea of bright early mornings and the sun setting about 9:30pm (PST). I suppose now is the best time to share my favorite Portland bars for the first half of this year, as I find friends and people I talk with asking me more often, “where should I go?”
“My BFF is coming into town, what should we check out?”
“Where do I find great beer?”
“Whose happy hour is best?”
While I have yet to try every spot Portland, OR has to offer, I have visited some spots that have me wishing I lived above them. It’s time for me to share some of that knowledge with my readers who don’t always frequent my Instagram.
I give you The Spicy Bee’s Favorite Portland Bars of 2016 (so far anyway!)
Home, A Bar
I cannot shut up about this spot, and while part of me wishes to keep it secret to keep it from being overwhelmed with Portlanders, Home, A Bar is a new little dive off SE Morrison and 7th Ave. Its Happy Hour menu will leave you wondering if your stomach could handle seconds, and though I haven’t said anything on social media yet, the mac and cheese sandwich deserves everything awarded to it. The Dirty Burger (pictured above) is the best burger I’ve had so far this year, and if you follow my Instagram, you’ll see I’ve had/made a lot of burgers thus far. This spot replaced the Morrison Hotel Bar in the last year, and it’s got everything an eastsider wants in a bar: dark walls, comfort food, a long happy hour (4pm-7pm daily and 11pm-close sloppy hour), and a solid tap list.
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Ok, so I had to be convinced on this spot because I’m like, expensive tiki drinks? Why?
I was wrong Rebekah, lol thank you for showing me the light (or the fire?). Hale Pele is NE Broadway at 27th Ave hiding in a nondescript strip mall. Standing outside this bar on a cold winter evening, I remember thinking my good friend was a touch off-base walking us into a “themed bar.” I was met with a cozy little piece of paradise, with a 7+ page menu of colorful bevies rated 1 to 5 in strength. My favorite thing about Hale Pele? It’s definitely a tie between the quality of the drinks and the ambiance, which goes a long way in helping you forget you’re in a strip mall on a cold and rainy winter evening (or perhaps a 100°F day?). I highly suggest the Painkiller, Boo Loo (perfect for a date night), or the Volcano Bowl if you’re introducing friends to the spot. It’s like a 1st class version of my glorious shark bowl days of college.
A classy spot in NW Portland (NW 10th and Everett to be precise), Teardrop Lounge is where I go when I want to feel like an adult and not a poor kid just out of school. I originally worried that I was walking into a sister spot to Bartini (also in NW Portland and has it’s place but is not my bag), only to be floored with the menu and level of execution. It’s one of the only places on the west side I feel comfortable telling the bartender to “surprise me.” I’ve been back quite a few times since, enjoying their 4pm-7pm happy hour or a drink catching up with friends.
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The Ranger Station is the pub every backpacker dreams about while 10 miles into a trip. At SE 42nd Ave and Hawthorne, this spot is good in all weather with outdoor seats on a quiet 42nd Ave to chill with your pup and ample indoor seating during the gross weather months. Another long, lovely happy hour of 4pm-7pm with $1 of drafts and yummy venison burgers and tacos. I highly suggest popping for some extra pickled jalapeños to add to either menu item.
Do you have a favorite Portland bar? Tweet it at me! @TheSpicyBee