Spirits

Here in Portland, we sing a New Old Fashioned love song to the hallowed cocktail, to the ever-inquisitive spirit of our prolific hometown bartenders as they tinker with tincture and tonic, and to the fearless local distillers who craft the holy spirits that make it all possible. When the chilly Night & Fog descends, droves of Rose Cityzens can be found tucked into dark corners, luxurious lounges and comfortingly seedy dens of anise-scented iniquity, using Bourbon Renewal as the cure for all that ails–be it a Broken Bike, The Long Goodbye, or absinthe-mindedness. So down your Obligatory Pink Vodka Drink, share a long Mandarin Kiss, and find Love in the Afternoon at one of these notable Portland drinkeries. You’ll likely leave inspired to try some shaking and stirring of your own–to source the best local booze, see the list of Portland distilleries (currently located under the Liquor Stores tab pending a slight site alteration!). And to help you on your spirits-tual journey (with designated driver in tow of course), here is a handy map.

Mixology Meccas

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Andina

Start with this bright, peppy Pearl District bar’s legendary mojito, a perfect balance of lime, mint, simple syrup and Appleton rum over ice, chew your sugarcane garnish, then drink your way through the rest of the exotic cocktail menu.

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Angel Face

A sultry French mistress for neighboring Navarre restaurant, this beautiful little bar captivates with hand-painted walls, divine wine, an invisible cocktail list, and delicate bar bites like the unforgettable egg meurette.

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Ava Gene’s

Owner Duane Sorenson spared no expense in gilding this Division Street lily, so don’t spend too much time admiring the interior’s shiny pretty bits and jibblies and get to the really good stuff, like the superb craft cocktail menu.

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Aviary

Adventurous eaters will have a ball grazing this stylish Alberta restaurant’s intriguing small plates and the roomy back bar’s unique cocktails, like the Milkplus Vellocet with cantaloupe, rum and sake.

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Barwares

If you’re up past your bedtime and on the hunt for late night salty-spicy drinking food, look no further–Smallwares‘ bar serves cocktails and elevated bar treats like Chinese sausage and chive pancakes nightly until 1am.

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Bent Brick

Should you have left work early to drink cocktails and eat happy hour duck fat jo-jos in this beautiful Alphabet District eatery? Maybe not, but after a few Bearded Ladies and Peat and Peets, the guilt just…vanishes. Weird!

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Biwa

Low lights that disguise even the most bloodshot eyes, the lively conversation, the restorative bowls of ramen and crisp chūhai cocktails and peerless ginseng Manhattans-–if only you could spend every night at Biwa’s bar.

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Block + Tackle

Fruits of the sea and Rum Sirens rule the menu at this cute, casual Division Street fishhouse. Bivalve lovers, chart a course for their happy hour…the cocktail of the day is $5 and oysters are half off.

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Bluehour

See-and-be-seen Pearl District hotspot Bluehour is just the place to get your sleek on and celebrate a big birthday, promotion or app sale, starting with Chivas Regal-kissed Blood & Sand cocktails in the sexy mirrored bar.

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Box Social

Squeeze yourself into your best corset/slip on spats and take a carriage to this North Portland “drinking parlour,” where you can sip decidedly unstaid cocktails like the RuPaul Sparkle Pony and Dirty Little Thief.

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Café Castagna

The consummate neighborhood place, this upscale Ladd’s cafe and bar makes a mean roast chicken, one of the city’s best burgers, and some very respectable craft cocktails. During happy hour, get the “bartender’s mood” for just $5.

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Church

This crystal decanter and priest portrait-lined Sandy Boulevard house of whiskey worship is feeding and watering the Kerns flock with Fernet-blessed Hang Your Cross cocktails and Southern-style eats.

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Clyde Common

Even if you aren’t normally a cocktail person (Huh? What?!), you’ll want to try hottie bartender Jeffrey Morgenthaler’s creations—the barrel-aged Negroni is a perfect pairing for the beautiful people watching.

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Departure

At first sign of summer sunbeams, head straight up (15 floors) to the Nines Hotel’s posh space-age bar, claim a lounger on the gorgeous terrace, and toast your lofty downtown views with a round of New Horizons.

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Driftwood Room

This dark, sexy, and completely glamorous bar would be the perfect place to have an affair, and as it’s in the Hotel deLuxe, it’s easy to get a room after too many champagne cocktails. Not that I’m encouraging your sordid antics.

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Expatriate

Noted bartender Kyle Linden Webster rules this Concordia cocktail lounge’s bar, while Beast chef Naomi Pomeroy runs the kitchen, resulting in a mashup of sublime drinks and exotic Southeast Asian & Indian-inspired eats.

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Fireside

Sip refined cocktails like the mezcal and rhubarb amaro-accented Backyard Grillin’ and A Foragers ‘tail  (Isle of Skye scotch and mushroom tincture), at a leather stool with a view of the indoor firepit and pretty Nob Hill people.

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Free House

Minimalist surroundings let you focus all the harder on this Fremont Street pub’s excellent house cocktails (you can even order a No Hassle Night, only in liquid form though, the rest is up to you) and equally choice bar eats.

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Hale Pele

Stiff drinks, South Pacific swag, and banana sauce-swamped koloko moco—it’s hard to resist the kitschy allure of this revamped NE Broadway tiki bar, where delightfully over the top décor is tempered by some serious cocktails.

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Imperial

If you end up getting the proverbial room after a few too many of this swanky downtown den’s dangerously affordable craft cocktails, come morning, brunch and a Peychaud’s Mimosa are but an elevator’s drop away.

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Interurban

It might take a while to elbow your way through this crowded bar to order the whiskey chicken liver mousse, Murphy’s lamb stew, and Luger burger, but the 14 taps and top notch house cocktails make it worth the effort.

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Kask

Easily one of my favorite Portland cocktail bars, this handsome little space tucked behind Grüner is just the place to take your spirits snob friends when downtown. Try the Bootstrap Buck or Heaven’s Kickback.

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Mint/820 Lounge

One of the city’s original craft cocktail bars, this lush little North Portland lounge and its menu hasn’t changed much at all since I first started going many moons ago, but that means the avocado daiquiri is still just as good.

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Nostrana

The “Rooster” bar’s Rhubarbarellas, white peach Bellinis and engaging bartenders who know their charms will occupy your attention long into the evening. And remember, every night at 9pm, the clock strikes late night happy hour.

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Oven & Shaker

Nostrana chef Cathy Whims and Aviation Gin co-founder Ryan Magarian joined their culinarily complimentary forces to open this sleek Pearl District hangout, where wood-fired pizzas and craft cocktails fuel a chic crowd.

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Pépé le Moko

Slink down the stairs and into this stylish downtown bunker bar tucked beneath the Ace Hotel for top notch cocktails, Spanish drinking snacks, icy oysters and warm bocadillos.

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Portland Penny Diner

Gird yourself for a wondrous workday (haha) with Reuben croissants and rye and praline liquor-laced Cafe Imperials at this downtown corner cafe. (Check the company policy on three-cocktail breakfasts first, please.)

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Radar

Drink Appleton rum and marmalade-fortified Fairgame cocktails and watch futbol at this classy Mississippi Avenue eatery’s bar, or slump over a roasted garlic and peppercorn-infused Voddie Mary and Croque-Madame post-long night.

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Rookery Bar

Occupying the top floor of the historic Ladd Carriage House, Raven & Rose’s lofty wood beam-thatched bar is part shiny cocktail lounge, part flat screen and billiards-endowed man cave.

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Rum Club

You’ll never succumb to a shortage of rum at this popular Buckman bar, which lives up to its name with nearly a dozen rummy cocktails like the house daiquiri and Anemic Tiki, served alongside sophisticated small plates.

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Saucebox

This glossy, saucy downtown hotspot has everything you and your sequin-splashed crew could possibly want–a prime downtown location, exotic cocktail list that seems miles long, and a trendy, club-like feel.

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Secret Society Lounge

This elegant Eliot bar captivates with its craft cocktails, Victorian aesthetics, impressive green fairy selection, and wondrous pink-walled bathroom, where you may accidentally pass out on a velvet sofa. Bad green fairy!

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Spirit of 77

‘Twas never a hipper place to sip a craft cocktail, nosh on “gourmet stoner food” like Reuben fritters and pork confit tortas, and gather with your most attractive and coolest friends to watch the Blazers/Timbers/etc game.

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St. Jack

It doesn’t get much more ooh la la than this trés charming Clinton bistro, with its drippy candle-lined zinc bar, puff pastry-crowned escargot and captivating cocktails like the L’Américain and Strawberry Sazerac.

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Teardrop Lounge

Get glammed up and meet your posse for Love in the Afternoons and Hibiki Hi-Balls at this seductive Pearl District lounge, a favorite among the beautiful barhopper crowd and serious craft cocktail afficionados alike.

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The Tannery Bar

Settle into the sexy votive-lit gloom of this Burnside cinder block bunker with a potent Fish House Punch and an order of “priest stranglers,” then pass the time Googling why exactly they’re called priest stranglers.

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Urban Farmer

You best dress to the Nines to mix with this hotel bar’s high fashion mannequins, white leather furniture and chic crowd. Take advantage of happy hour and its $5 cocktail du jour and multitude of liquor-absorbing small plates.

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Victory Bar

There are plenty of good reasons to spend the evening in this snug Division bar—e.g., the sexy lighting, good looking hipster crowd, and reasonable prices, but numbers one and two are the New Old Fashioned and the spaetzle.

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Vintage Cocktail Lounge

Only at this sultry Montavilla classic cocktail lounge is it perfectly acceptable to go Sans Nickers or sip from a Dirty Tabor Reservoir. And during the twice-daily happy hour, sip them with a dollar discount and a $5 pizzetta.

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White Owl Social Club

If you’re forever terrified of white owls thanks to that Alaskan alien movie with Milla Jovovich, worry not, there aren’t any real ones skulking around this Buckman bar, just lots of cocktails and beers and the occasional sandwich.

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Woodsman Tavern

Portland spirits sorcerer Evan Zimmerman crafts puckery Omaha Sours and 24kt gold-accented Bentley cocktails at the rustic bar around which this cool kid Division gastropub revolves.

Liquor Stores

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Bull Run Distilling Company

Start/end your Tour de NW 23rd Avenue with some Medoyoff vodka tasting and a tour of Bull Run’s big, beautiful distillery and adjoining tasting room, tucked down a quiet side street just steps from the action.

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Clear Creek Distillery

You see Clear Creek’s gorgeous fruit spirits on Portland’s best menus, now taste their eaux de vie, grappa, and liqueurs at the source–the NW industrial district tasting room is open every day but Sunday.

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Eastside Distilling

Before you go Burnside Bourbon and ginger rum-sipping at this inner Southeast distillery’s tasting room, stop into neighboring Pacific Pie Company and line your stomach with a few hearty savory pies and pasties.

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House Spirits Distillery

Aquavit lovers, head for this Buckman distiller, tucked behind a humble facade at the far end of Distillery Row. On Saturdays at 1 and 3pm, tour the distillery then sample in the handsome saloon-esque tasting room.

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New Deal Distillery

Raising spirits one bottle of Hot Monkey vodka and ginger liqueur at a time, this spunky distillery’s friendly owners and staff will always show you a good time. Stop in most days of the week for a fun tour and tasting.

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Rogue Distillery

Inside Rogue’s boisterous Pearl District pub lies one of its Oregon distilleries, which churns out bottles of the brand’s dark and hazelnut spice rums. Tours are given weekdays at 4pm, just call ahead the morning of.

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Stone Barn Brandyworks

Specializing in Pacific NW fruit-based brandies, Stone Barn lets fans experience them firsthand at their SE Powell tasting room, where you can sample Northwest Cherry Brandy and Oregon Blush Rhubarb Liqueur.