Portland, Ore., Is a Small City With an Enormously Cool Cocktail Scene

Portland, Ore., Is a Small City With an Enormously Cool Cocktail Scene

You’re never too far from a good cocktail in Portland, Ore. It’s a relatively small city compared to West Coast neighbors Seattle or San Francisco, but the amount of bar industry talent is staggering.

Travelers should know that, if you want to hit all the hotspots in the Rose City, you’re going to need to stay longer than a weekend. From underground cocktail dens by industry legends to quirky neighborhood institutions, Portland has a lot to offer. This is by no means an exhaustive list of all the good places to get a drink in the city, but it should at the very least get you started.

Pepe Le Moko

Credit: Jordan Hughes

This “boozy bunker” is located around the corner from industry icon Jeff Morgenthaler’s award-winning sister bar, Clyde Common. Enter via a narrow staircase that leads you directly into this intimate, subterranean speakeasy. The drinks menu features classics along with various “craft” versions of cocktails that have largely been shunned by modern bartenders (like the Long Island Iced Tea and Blue Hawaiian).

What to order

When Jeff Morgenthaler says he makes the best Amaretto Sour ever, you order an Amaretto Sour. Thanks to Morgenthaler’s adjustments, this typically sweet and imbalanced drink becomes a truly incredible cocktail. Location.

Multnomah Whiskey Library

Credit: Jordan Hughes

It’s a library… but full of whiskey. What more could you need? Admittedly, the atmosphere here does feel exclusive, but it comes off as more exciting than restrictive. Expect a wait; but, once you’re inside, sitting in a large leather chair with a breathtaking view of ceiling-high shelves of quality booze, it will all be worth it.

What to order

Spend some time perusing the extensive spirits menu because the Library is the perfect place to try a dram of something rare and exciting. If you’re in the mood for a cocktail, try the decadent “Scout’s Honor,” made with graham cracker-infused mezcal, vermouth, amaro, and dark chocolate bitters. Location.

Rum Club

Credit: Jordan Hughes

This fun and quirky neighborhood bar is a Portland institution where everyone goes to start or end their night (or both). With a laid-back and friendly atmosphere, Rum Club is the place to get a craft cocktail without an ounce of pretentiousness.

What to order

You can’t go wrong with a Rum Club Daiquiri: añejo rum, lime, Maraschino, Demerara, bitters, and a touch of absinthe. Location.

Angel Face

Credit: Jordan Hughes

A horseshoe-shaped bar takes up the majority of the floor plan of this cozy, stylish hideaway. There is no cocktail menu; instead, bartenders give guests a menu of base spirits and ask about their flavor preferences. Don’t worry if you aren’t well versed in craft cocktail terminology, either. The expert staff at Angel Face is exceptionally approachable and aims to please.

What to order

Some of Angel Face’s best cocktails are simple classics with a twist. Get a Mezcal Negroni and let the bartender select a different bitter from the extensive amaro collection. Location.

Palomar

Credit: Jordan Hughes

There are plenty of dark and moody bars in Portland, but Palomar isn’t one of them. This bright, airy cocktail haven was opened by none other than Ricky Gomez, an award-winning bartender with roots in both the Portland and New Orleans bar scenes. Gomez’s Cuban heritage is evident throughout Palomar, which has vintage Havana styling and decor, and a menu of classic Cuban favorites.

What to order

There are all kinds of delicious Daiquiri variations to choose from, all made with real ingredients and beautifully balanced flavors. However, the Old Fashioned here is a standout. Made with bourbon, toasted coconut, and Masala syrup, it’s unlike any Old Fashioned you’ve had before. Location.

Topé

Credit: Jordan Hughes

Located on the roof of the Hoxton Hotel, Topé is a hip, casual hang-out spot. Even on cloudy days (which are often), Topé feels bright and lush thanks to its beautiful indoor plants. Come summertime, enjoy an agave-focused menu and selection of Mexican-inspired snacks on an outdoor patio with stunning views of the city.

What to order

Any of Topé’s various Margarita variations, or the “Inside Baseball,” made with Monkey Shoulder Scotch, Bozal Mezcal Ensamble, Centerba, and honey. Location.

Eem

Credit: Jordan Hughes

Three Portland food and beverage icons came together to create this restaurant featuring Thai-inspired BBQ and tropical cocktails. Eem finds the perfect balance as a casual and fun neighborhood spot that still feels cool and sophisticated.

What to order

Try the Nocturnal Worker, a boozy blended drink, often served in an unusual drinking vessel. It’s made with Oaxacan rum, banana, soursop, cardamom, and lime. Location.

The article Portland, Ore., Is a Small City With an Enormously Cool Cocktail Scene appeared first on VinePair.

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