Portland has one of the freshest nightlife scenes in the country- a mishmash of dives, strip clubs, ballrooms, pool halls and cocktail lounges, plenty of which are brand new to its oddball and innovative scene. Part of that innovation is thanks to some very peculiar Oregon state laws dictating that every venue serving booze must carry a seven-item food menu as well. So expect a city loaded with bars cutting their respective jibs by perfectly aligning cocktail and food menus, while providing a region-specific flavor of music to ease it all together.
Editor’s note: These spots are all taken directly from travelstoke®, a new app from Matador that connects you with fellow travelers and locals, and helps you build trip itineraries with spots that integrate seamlessly into Google Maps and Uber. Download the app to add any of the spots below directly to your future trips.
An oldie-goodie that’s been around since the fifties. Located downtown in the heart of the Hotel Deluxe, this is a grand spot for people watching while sipping champagne cocktails and munching on free popcorn. Good for impressing dates and dressing up like Paul Newman or Grace Kelly.
Stag is the newest male strip club in Portland and a gay bar for the 21st century. From the Lumbersexual décor to the age of the patrons- this place has the energy a new bar needs to stand out in a standout town. The dudes hanging from ceiling and prancing on the bar are about as strong as the Jell-o shots
The longest operating bar in the city, this is where you go if you are looking for the best Spanish coffee in town served by a bartender in a tux. Be sure to go to the older room in the back if you want brush shoulders with Portlanders who have been partying there for generations. Also, rad turkey-themed menu.
Three years old and this bar is already a local legend. The leather-bound speakeasy is furnished with Portland’s most-stocked bar (1500 bottles, organized by region), a collection of chic den sofas and a real fireplace. This is where to go to forget about the Northwest’s winter gloom.
When it comes to a crowd pleaser, the odds are in Goodfoot’s favor. Three cheap and fairly well-kept pool tables, a row of pinball machines, an ever-changing gallery of local art, decent food (with more spots nearby), and a basement music hall featuring a soul set with DJ Aquaman every Friday. Play. Dance. Drink beer. Eat fried pickles.
Pricey for Portland, but you would be hard-pressed to find a more spectacular sushi menu in town. The panoramic views of the city from the top of The Nines hotel make this a quality date venue (or an even better spot to jam on some happy hour Koshihikari and udon noodles by yourself).
The classiest old hotel in town just so happens to have the best lobby bar. Palm Court’s cocktail menu is as unique and well crafted as the crystal chandeliers hanging between ornate wood pillars. Located almost dead center in the city, there are few spots more ideal to kick off an evening in.
This revamped dive is trying to change people’s opinions about Portland’s once lackluster dancing scene- and it’s a good place to start. A spacious bar and equally big outdoor area sport a top-notch sound system that blares live acts and DJ sets. No cover charge and a plethora of cheap eats/drinks make this a hotspot for a younger crowd.
There are few musical acts who would dare pass through Portland without trying to book a show at this East Side icon. Styled like a modernist log cabin with big booths and warm lighting, Doug Fir at the Jupiter hotel is must for every Portland newcomer.
The new Paris, which replaced the old porn theater of the same name, is about to break onto the scene. Despite its decor serving as a throwback to its early days as a burlesque theater, there is nothing dusty about its sound and video system. Considering this is right next to Voodoo donuts, expect a fair number of out-of-towners.
Another newbie to the Portland scene, only this beer/wine-only brewpub has sequestered a fine locale among some decades-old classics (Mary’s Club, Palm Court). A living-room bar with a 90’s feel, Tugboat goes in for some softer tunes, hot eats and stacks of board games to choose from. Good for a rainy day with an old friend.
This cocktail bar goes all-in with the new cool of North Portland. It will give you fantastic opportunities to meet some of the city’s most entrepreneurial dude-bros just up from L.A. But, hey, those guys really know how to find a killer vegan menu and smoking patio.