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Lucky Labrador Beer Hall: by all means, bring your dog, borrow a dog
We were not really planning on going to the Lucky Labrador Beer Hall. We had already been to both Deschutes and Bridgeport that day but it was still beautiful out and I wanted to go for a walk. Of course, it didn't seem to matter that it was in the entirely opposite direction of our motel. We arrived at the cavernous aptly named beer hall to find it empty but in the rear it resembled a beer garden cum frat party. It was packed but we found a couple of open seats at a bench and blended in. We might have been east coasters but with so much Oregon beer coursing through our veins, we were nearly locals.
With a name like Lucky Labrador, you might expect a few dogs but this place is VERY dog friendly and it seems everyone there had a dog with them. We had a very cool dog at the table next to us. We kind of felt like he was ours and he liked our scent. We probably smelled like pizza. You had to go in and get your beer at the bar and the bartender may have been cute but she was clueless about beer, a hard thing to even imagine in Portland. I tried a couple tasters while in there but nothing really hit me so I went with their IPA and safely got Doreen their nitro poured Irish Stout. Mine was deep golden with a floral nose and bitter finish. After the cask beers at Bridgeport, it seemed a bit fizzy and harsh. Doreen's Stout was smooth and roasty with a bittersweet finish. We enjoyed our beers as the sun went down and cast warm hues on the brewery's cleverly adorned exterior. Worth the short detour but certainly not necessary that night. With more nights in Portland, it could be a sure stop, especially if you have a dog. Cost: $11.
Dress Code: Woof woof.Related to:
- Road Trip
- Food and Dining
- Beer Tasting
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Portland City Grill: Start your evening at the "Big Pink"
Portland City Grill is located on the 30th floor of the US Bancorp Tower, better known as "Big Pink", the second tallest building in Portland. It's often described as the restaurant offering the best view in the city, and it's especially popular for happy hour. We showed up on a Wednesday night and the place was packed! Judging by the way people were dressed, most of them had obviously come straight from work, but the atmosphere was still pretty casual so we didn't feel out of place wearing jeans. Of course, all the tables by the windows were taken but when I asked a couple if I could squeeze in just to take a picture, they actually invited us to take a seat since they were about to leave (score!!). I ordered a sunberry martini while Sylvain went for a mojito, and we also ordered some happy hour snacks - the mini-burgers were especially good, and although drinks were more expensive than what we paid elsewhere during happy hour, it was totally worth paying a bit more to enjoy the view of downtown Portland at night. No wonder it's one of the city's most popular spots!
Dress Code: Semi-casualRelated to:
- Food and Dining
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Darcelle XV: Nope, that's no lady!
Darcelle XV has been around for an impressive 37 years, and Darcelle herself turned 80 years old in November 2010. But this Las Vegas-style cabaret show is so much fun, I guess I shouldn't be surprised that it's been running for so long. We attended the 8:30 pm show on a Friday night and the crowd was large enough to create a nice atmosphere, but at the same time it was small enough that the performers could interact directly with the crowd - a young man with nice curly hair was especially popular with the ladies! And even I got to exchange a few words in French with Darcelle :o) The show includes a good mix of stand-up comedy and music, with the cast impersonating the likes of Cher, Liza Minnelli and a rather unforgettable rhinestone cowboy. As the MC said, bring your camera and make sure to take pictures because no one will believe you were there - definitely something fun and different to do in Portland!
Dress Code: CasualRelated to:
- Gay and Lesbian
The Vern (officially Hanigan's): The bar for the broke.... or cheap
If VT would put a category for dive bar under Nightlife spots than this would be the poster-bar. Few bars excel this well at NOT trying to create an image. The name is officially Hanigan's but the locals started calling it the Vern after the first two letters in the neon sign stopped working. The carpet is something like astroturf and the tables for sitting at are wooden picnic benches. As far as I can tell you can feel free to carve your name into the table with your pocket knife. You wouldn't be the first. The beer is cheap and cold - what more could you want? The air is filled with smoke and if you are a constant over-achiever, you are not welcome.
Dress Code: Do not wear a tie or anything approaching a suit. It's not that you'll get booted - just the cold shoulder.
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Kells Irish Pub: Every night's an Irish night!
Kells Irish Pub is supposed to be one of the best Irish pubs in the United States (at least according to food critic Tom Horan), and it certainly is one of the city's most popular nightlife spots. I think what's made this pub a favourite with locals and visitors alike are its great happy hours followed by live Irish music every night of the week - so if you ever find yourself in Portland, say, on a rainy Tuesday night, you always have a place to go for good food and entertainment! We stopped by Kells for happy hour early on a Friday night and already the place was getting crowded, and there was a nice atmosphere all around. There was an impressive selection of appetizers offered at only $3 each, so my friend Sylvia and I decided to share a plate of Irish nachos (like regular nachos but with deep-fried potato slices instead of chips) and the gorgonzola spread. Both were really good and very filling! We washed it all down with a few pints of Black & Tan, and although we couldn't stay for the music session (we had a date with Darcelle that night!), we did hear some of it on our way back to the hotel and the band sounded amazing. This is definitely a place I wouldn't mind visiting again on another trip!
Dress Code: CasualRelated to:
- Food and Dining
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Bagdad Theatre (movie theatre): Cheap Movies with a Place to Put your Beer
The Bagdad is one of Portlands old movie theatres, dating back to a time when live orchestras were required as musical accompanyment to silent films.
The theatre was purchased by the McMenamin brothers and added to their now substantial empire of old buildings that have been restored and renovated to a condition that appeals to more modern audience.
What was once the dressing room for the orchestra is now the "Backstage Pub" and other drinking and establishments are part of the same building.
However, by far the largest purpose for the theatre remains: enjoying a movie. These days, however, about half of the seats in the theatre have been removed to make way for tables, and beer and pizza are available for purchase - as well as a number of other beverages and food common in any McMenamin's establishment.
Movies are second-run, so chances are what you are seeing here is something you have already seen, or maybe it is out on DVD already. However, at $3 a movie (the prices have been the same for years) you can barely rent the thing for what you can see it here.
The name of the theatre comes from the age of film when movies transported people to exotic, far away locations. The entire theatre has been decorated to inspire thoughts of a grand Middle Eastern palace or Turkish bath house, or some other such grand building of the Middle East.
While the movies are the primary attraction, check the schedule on the web site, as there are other special events here. In the past, this has included authors from Powell's Books (Powell's Books on Hawthorne is basically across the street), presentations on solar power, and various other one-time showings. At one time the Battlestar Galactica TV series was showing on the big screen on Friday nights. Big sports events may also make an appearance here on the big screen.
As the facility serves alcohol, those under 21 are usually excluded from entering. However, there are exceptions to this rule. For example, from time to time there are "Mommy Matinees" ("Crying babies are welcome" says the advertisements) or other special showings in which the facility is open to all ages.
Dress Code: Pacific Northwest Casual: wear some sort of clothing. The theatre (as are virtually all public establishments in Multnomah County) is non-smoking.Related to:
- Budget Travel
Southpark Wine Bar: Nice wine bar in downtown Portland
My friend Sylvia presented a paper at the Jane Austen Society of North America AGM we were both attending and to celebrate how well she did, we decided to head out for a glass of wine before the closing banquet. We followed the concierge's recommendation and walked over to Southpark Wine Bar. Southpark is actually divided into two sections: there's a seafood grill and a wine bar. Both offer a really nice ambience, perhaps less casual than other places we'd been to, but still affordable and the staff was very friendly. We ordered some marinated olives and fried chickpeas (only $4 each and really good, especially the chickpeas), and sampled a couple of Oregon wines that our waiter recommended. I very much enjoyed the loungy atmosphere of the place, and Southpark turned out to be the perfect place to celebrate, chat and relax once the conference was over!
Dress Code: Dressy casual?!Related to:
- Food and Dining
- Wine Tasting
THE oldest bar in Portland: Huber's
With history back to the 1880's you can't go wrong in this true institution of Portland. While Huber's has a dining room that serves excellent turkey sandwhiches (another must at Huber's) the back room is open for food and drinks to an upscale Portland crowd. Not uncommon to see a Blazer here.
What are they known for, history and Spanish coffees that will knock you on your butt. Great menu to choose from, crowded and fun people watching.
Huber's is the perfect spot during a cold rainy winter evening to stop in and refresh yourself.
Dress Code: No jeans or sneakers will get you into this place. Dress up a little.
EVERYWHERE: Strip Clubs galore
Portland has a lot of these things- breweries/pubs, bookstores, coffee houses, churches and strip clubs.
Don't ask me why, but you can't throw a stone without hitting a strip joint in Portland. They are everywhere downtown, East Side and all the surrounding areas.
If it is your deal, you'll be even more impressed that they serve alcohol at all the 21 and up clubs.
Not that I know...but I hear the ones to hit are Sassy's (small but hotties), Acropolis (Eastside, great steaks), Stars (South of the city, Vegas Style). There is something for everyone here.
Expects women club goers too. Since there are so many, usually no covers and local women see them as no big deal. Don't expect them there to meet you though.
Stay away from the juice bars (18 & up). They are just terrible unless you are a teen. Not that I know.
FYI, don't expect lap dances. Not part of the deal. Ah well, at least you can cry over a beer here.
Number of strip clubs in Portland, OR (pop. 437, 319): 65 - per capita we're number 1...good or bad thing you decide. And always new ones opening.
Dress Code: No dress code, just be sure to wear pants.
Just remember to stick to the mainstream. With so many, kind of like having 6 new expansion teams in baseball- the talent gets spread thin...
Dark, loud, smokey and fun: Low Brow Lounge
Drop all pretention and relax at the low brow. Not that you can't go into most Portland bars in shorts, flip flops and a t-shirt - but you'll just fit in better here.
When you want to kick back, have a beer and some pub food - the Low Brow is for you. Great dive bar, think tater tots.
Dress Code: You have to have pants on. Shorts ok, but no loin cloths or banana hammocks.
self proclaimed Ultra Lounge - worth it: Voo Doo Lounge
As my wife said it -ah so this is where the pretty people are...
We went early on a Saturday to grab some dinner - something about a menu Cajun infused Northwest - sounded good.
We were pleasantly surprised.
Located in a not so hot area of downtown (next to Ohm and near Chinatown) we were iffy on the place.
Once inside, beautiful couches, candle lit and friendly staff. Outside porch is awesome. Only complaint in the noise from the neighbors (OHM) nightclub set up.
Out side you'll find hooka (sp?) pipes you can rent and tobacco to smoke.
The food - fantastic. Try thr mango, avacoda, crab martini for an app and the softshell crap for dinner - amazing.
Plenty of fun drinks to try, but we were happy with the red and mixed drink we tried.
Specialty rooms to rent out are totally hip if you have a party. Great for a night life spot or for dinner.
P.S. We met the owner and chef - great guys and real friendly.
Dress Code: Nice. Jeans seem out of place here. Think black and hip shoes. You don't want the wait staff to look better than you. And they will.
XV as in roman numeral 15: Good Place to Start the night
Great place to start the night with dinner and drinks or just drinks. Get there before 9pm and it might be kinda dead (great if you want to get a seat) Get there after 11 and its packed. Drinks are good and they have a slightly unusal mixed list that are almost all somewhat sour and strong.
Dress Code: Usually a young professional crowd (mid-late 20somethings) some afterwork crowd dressed up, but plenty of people are casual as well.
The Greek Cuisina: The Greek Cuisina
You can have dinner and have drinks if you're upstairs (over 21 only). If it's your birthday, bachelor(ette), engagement party, let the staff know and you will enjoy breaking plates, an Ouzo contest and Greek dancing. Some nights they also have a belly dancer.
Dress Code: It's incredibly hot upstairs, even for the rainy northwest. You can dress up or go casual.
McMenamin's Bagdad Theatre &...
McMenamin's Bagdad Theatre & Pub
Bagdad is a 2nd run theater that serves pizza and beer. Unlike most theaters... you do not have to smuggle the beer in. The environment is nice but don't expect high quality sound(it is not bad, but it is not like your regular Dolby-surround-sound theater).
Capt'n Billy Bangs: Capt'n Billy Bangs
Wanna become a regular (where everyone knows your name)? This is the local hang out for a fun group of folks -- You'll usually find them sitting up at the bar or playing pool.... easy to join in the conversation --
Dress Code: Casual to dressy.
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