They say that the Meow Meow has closed but I am sure it will reopen with a new name so I am posting some pix from before the closure.
Dress Code: None - wear anything. You will find a lot of rock-a-billy and emo types here.
I swear, I've had to update this every two weeks. A good portland rock and roll dive bar just doesn't last very long. I don't have time to write reviews down right now, but if you are looking for a good dive bar in Portland do a search for these bars and their music schedules:
East End - Quickly becoming the best spot in Portland. Live basement punk and Mod bands in the basement. PDX's most improved jukebox (now with the Cockney Rejects!). Guinness and Boddingtons by the can! Hell Yes!
Slabtown - People should be fighting for tickets to their annual bender.
The Ash Street Saloon- Going to this place too much will turn you into either Bukowski or Burroughs, minus the talent. If taken in small doses, it can be fun.
The Doug Fir Lounge- Where the trendy and trendy seeking go. Great architecture, a bit pricey, alot of pretension, but mostly by the clientelle.
Dantes-Sexy, crowded, cool.
Billy Ray's Neighborhood Dive - The name says it all.
The Tonic Lounge - Mostly Local, Usually bad, but has some really good nights too.
Plan B - Formerly Acme - Good shows when they happen. Home of the 2007 stripper olympics. How very Portland.
The Know - Great spot, Really annoying kids that try way too hard.
Ground Kontrol - Retro video arcade that has music at least once a week. Unfortunately, usually bad music. (Cold beer+punk rock+old pinball machines=Bliss)
Jolly Inn - Beer in a Plastic Cup, often really good bands on the floor between pool tables. Yes indeed.
More later I promise.
As of October 31, 2004... The Twilight Lounge will stop having live music, ending yet another era of yet another great rock and roll dive. I new it was nearing an end when they put up that four foot high stage. You should never have to look up to a rock and roll band. Anyway, the new billiards club next door complained about the noise, so like Billy Ray's , no more live music. The bartender there told me to come by on their last day to trash the place; hope to see you there.
Here's the original review:
Well, Portland used to have some awesome dives to see great rock and roll. But Satyricon has changed into a bad disco joint, EJ's is gone, and Rudy Tutti's old rockabilly joint (later another come and gone venue called The BlackBird) came and went faster than word of mouth could have made it great. So now The Twilight Lounge steps up to the plate as P-Towns crowning king of Rock and Roll Divery. Tucked just off of the buzzing East Powell Boulevard, the Twilight Lounge earns bonus points for being within walking distance of the Twenty Four Hour Hotcake House, a great place to sober up after a rowdy night at a rock and roll show. The Twi is small, has pretty bad food, only two, single occupancy bathrooms, and is always packed to the gills. The stage and venue area is in a corner that is extremely small, so you will be up close and personal with the band and fans whether you want to or not. This is all made up for by the great staff, and the best bands the northwest has to offer. The crowd is mostly PBR hipsters and punks, but the place does have Guinness on tap ( bonus), and some cool-retro fifties decor. The best thing about the twilight is the names of the bands that play there. Where else can you find The Eddie Haskels, The Pornstore Janitors, The Axes of Evil, and Cootie Platoon all in the same week. Unfortunately, being king isn't always good, now the place is always packed to the gills, and has reneged on its promise of always free shows.
Chris - Drop pdx McMenamins into the Google query slot. PDX nightlife = Mcmenamins from what I understand, but glabah might be a better judge of that then myself. They are famous locally for converting worn out old schools, mortuaries, etc into lively nightspots, but the Crystal Ballroom is probably their main venue.
Club 82 hosts live music with bands from all over the Northwest. The bands range from Indie/Pop to Classic Rock to Punk. There is a modest cover charge, but it's well worth it - 3 bands for 3 bucks... The atmosphere is great, the sound/acoustics work well. They have burlesque-style dancing (no nudity) on opposite stages. Great bar staff, full bar and menu. Great location on the east side!
Kells is a great place for food, fun and guiness! Expect to wait for a table if you're there after 8pm on a weekend. Get there before 9 and skip the $3-5 cover. Theres always great bands that liven the place up, and a few might even get up and dance. Don't forget to have the Irish chips!
Dress Code: anything goes. Usually a bit more low key of a place...but its also a place people go before heading out to some dance clubs so sometimes people are dressed up.
The Portland Art Museum's nationally recognized Museum After Hours is the only place to be for great music every Wednesday night from 5:30-7:30 PM. The best local, regional, and national recording artists play in an intimate setting at the Art Museum. Food, beverages [beer, wine, & soft drinks] and a hip, eclectic audience make for great people watching and meeting.
A regional blues icon, Norman Sylvester opens the 30 week series beginning Wednesday, October 6th. Come join the fun and make new friends...i'll see you there, ciao!
Dress Code: Dress code runs from casual to just arrived from the office hip suit & tie.
Best Places to See Live Bands:
4) Roseland - can be tough to get a drink when it is all ages - can also watch music downstairs on monitor w/o buying a ticket
5) Crystal Ballroom
6) Meow Meow - all ages all the time
7) Jimmy Mak's - Jazz
Up on Hawthorne & 39th area is a few good watering holes...Bar of the Gods and the Space Room....then head over to Belmont and experience Belmont Inn and the martini bar across the street....
Dress Code: Casual...
For all who know me it is needless to say that Ireland & her people have captured my heart :o) So the first thing I did when coming over the big blue sea was checking out the locations of Irish pubs, since I'm just such a sucker for the flair & the music ;o)
And here we go - this is Kells Irish Pub in Portland - from the outside not at all Irish looking, but once you are inside you come a step closer to Ireland - I promise :o)))
My friend Ashlee & I went there one Friday night to listen to the Scotish Band "The Rogues" who were playing good Scotish & Irish tunes as well as some American Folk - good mix for a great night.
The fun-part was that the Rogues are happy to involve the audience in their performance in good Scotish/Irish manner :o)
That's how Ashlee & I ended up on stage - originally planned to accompany them for the first 2 songs - but when the band members found out that I actually PLAYED the Bodhran they would not let us go again - so we basically performed with them the whole night and it was SUCH GRAT FUN!
Dress Code: Whatever you feel comfortable in :o)
There is no pretentiousness at the Green Room. Straight up it is a venue for live music with a crowd ranging from blues fans to hard rockers - depending on the music.
Almost always a local band, and always loud. Yet to really be impressed with any of the bands, but they do get better as the beers go down.
Fun place without any attitude to catch a live show.
Dress Code: Pretty open, but who wants to be "That Guy" in the jeans, sneakers and ballcap?
Candlelight Cafe and Bar:
For those who love the blues this is the spot for you! this smoky blues bar is near PSU (Portland State University) where I went for my 1st year as a Freshman! Very good live bands play there.It is also a good pick-up place in Portland! I am sure non of the people on this site would ever do that!! :) .......
Mestizzo Restaurant & Nightclub:
Feeling like Salsa? Try Mestizzo Restaurant & Nightclub., Dance to the Rythems of Salsa, Meringues and South American pop dance hits.Often the club has some hot live Latin bands! .......
A club where house music is worshipped above all else. This a club for those who want to DANCE! If you’re looking for bar to relax, have a drink and talk with friends then this is NOT the place for you! This bar is LOUD with a solid beat designed to get the bodies shaking!
This is the underground musical mecca of Portland. Weekdays are usually open mic night and weekends usually play established hard core musical artist. Nice bar next door (although many locals consider it too hip to be hip).
Dress Code: Ripped clothing (you chose whether it's ripped before or after you enter)
This is a shady looking place from the outside, but really chic once you go in. In the newly discovered hot spot of Portland, NE Alberta Street. They are getting a great live music reputation.
Dress Code: Always casual (you should see the owner...)
Portland has a plethra of live music. Admittedly, not all is super star quality, but it's definitely something you should check out while you're in town.
Dress Code: Always casual. Two rooms, one large stage for local bands and a smaller room for accoustic sets. Very good ventilation system for non-smokers.