Where to Drink Beer in Portland This Fall
You could use a drink.
Any Portlander over the age of 21, and many under, know that the City of Roses might as well be the City of Brews. Portland, and the greater Pacific Northwest region, is renowned for its breweries, from smaller craft spots to the larger ones that sell across the world. It makes sense, then, that we have so many great places to drink said beers. Besides the breweries themselves, which are definitely worth a visit, these are the best beer bars to down a frosty pint of ale or lager, or to grab a six-pack to go.
As with all cities in 2020, Portland has lost more than a few favored places due to the pandemic. The places on this list have managed to persevere, often by switching to more of a takeout model with bottles, cans, and growler fills. Even the places that remain open for in-house imbibing have precautions set up to protect workers and guests, and it’s essential to follow these. And now, more than ever, is a good time to tip generously on those beers that workers are risking their health to serve.
Produce Row Cafe
Alongside the Horse Brass and some now-defunct spots, the gastropub Produce Row was one of the most important bars to help launch the craft brew scene. Since its heyday as the homebase for the Brew Crew, it’s been renovated, renovated again, closed, and reopened, but it remains a staple taphouse. Its large covered patio out back has helped it weather the pandemic, and it remains a venerable spot for high-end bar food and draught beers.
How to order: Produce Row provides full service, and is now on Postmates for delivery.
Newcomers may be confused by the name, as Belmont Station sits declaratively on Stark Street. That’s because it used to be on Belmont, serving as the Horse Brass’s bottle shop. Today it has one of the best selections of imported and local beers in the bottle, with more than 1,000 to choose from. Sadly, its casual taproom is closed, but despite the fact that it doesn’t have on premise drinking, its curbside pickup system makes it one Portland’s best markets for beer.
How to order: Belmont Station’s current bottle list is available here. Call (503) 232-8538 to place an order for curbside pickup.
Beer Mongers feels more like your friend’s furnished garage than a bar, if your friend happened to be a beer nerd with a seemingly endless amount of disposable income. This friendly, neighborhood bottle shop didn’t let a pandemic slow it down, and has not closed its doors once in more than 4,000 days, according to its website. At the moment, it’s a great beer market, rather than a bar, but its taps are still running for growler fills, and its fridges are still well-stocked with cans and bottles.
How to order: Beer Mongers is open for shopping needs for all customers with a mask.
The best German bar in town, hands down, Prost! serves German and Austrian lagers and ales, as well as snacks like sausages, pretzels, and pâté. Luckily, the bar has always been far more about its huge patio and food cart lot than it has its cozy interior, and even in the cooler months there’s a cover for guests to keep warm. Unfortunately, it is no longer recommended to share one of the massive boots of beer. You’ll have to finish it yourself, now.
How to order: Prost! offers full table service.
From the same folks who brought you Prost! comes Stammtisch, which is a lot like Prost! (a good thing) only much more of a restaurant with a full menu and extra table seating. It’s also in Northeast, rather than NoPo, for those who don’t want to travel up to Mississippi for an Oktoberfest bier. During the monthslong shut down, the bar expanded with an annex seating area with fully spaced dining areas, and plenty of outdoor seating.
How to order: Stammtisch offers full table service.
Horse Brass Pub
An English-style pub, the Horse Brass’ influence on Oregon beer culture cannot be overstated. The late owner Don Younger was integral to launching the Oregon microbrew scene, carrying many breweries back when they were barely even considered micro. Nowadays, the bar still boasts one of the largest tap lists, with 20 ounce Imperial pints and a number of hand-pumped, cask-conditioned ales. Darts are free to play, and the food is British, including a delicious scotch egg and some truly indulgent fish and chips. At the moment, its large interior has room for socially distanced tables, and the front sports some new outdoor seating.
How to order: The Horse Brass Pub currently offers full table service.
For Midwestern transplants looking for a taste of home, or anyone looking for some chilled pints and squeaky cheese curds, Saraveza is the place to be. The pandemic has put a damper on the rowdy screenings of Packers games, but it’s still an excellent spot to find some beers, pasties, and other Midwest staples, including the aforementioned, dangerously addicting fried cheese curds.
How to order: Saraveza offers online ordering for its food and beers for takeout and dining in.
Ninety-plus Oregon beers on tap sounds like an amazing idea, until you start to consider how the hell they can keep that many lines clean and that much beer fresh. Other mega-tap bars have tried and failed, but that’s why Loyal Legion devotes an entire page of its menu to describing the decontamination process, which includes weekly cleaning, shorter lines, colder temperatures, and quick turnover. So relax and enjoy Oregon beers of every sort, a prodigious whiskey selection, and house-made sausages from the kitchen, all in a beautiful wooden and copper bar.
How to order: Visitors can order at the plexiglass-walled bar and enjoy food and beer on the expanded patio.
Concordia Ale House
Concordia Ale House is a great taproom with a sizable list of mostly local draughts, but it’s an even better bottle shop. Over 120 options of styles and sizes fill the coolers here, and the spacious dining rooms make following the distancing guidelines easy. The Ale House features a full bar as well as a full menu, including lunch, dinner, and even a weekend breakfast menu. What really sets it apart from other beer bars is its entertainment: free pool, plus video-games, video poker, pinball, and sports regularly broadcasted on its big-screen TVs, even during these troubled times.
It’s cash-only (still) and the service can be snarky, but it’s impossible to deny the great selection of taps at Apex. Even during the pandemic, its massive front patio is filled as much as possible, with guests eager to down some local brews. There’s no food served here, but guests are welcome to bring a banh mi from across the street at Double Dragon, or grab a burrito just next door at the excellent Los Gorditos.
How to order: Order at the bar for patio imbibing and mason jars to go.
Nestled in sleepy Montavilla, the Beer Bunker offers a nice back patio to enjoy its many draught and bottled beers. The bar regularly updates its beer menu online, and offers its brews in unconventional vessels -- rather than the standard pint glasses at just about every bar, Beer Bunker has a range of goblets and carafes for imbibing.
How to order: Order at the bar for patio drinking, to-go bottles, and growler fills.
A spacious and beloved beer hall and market in Multnomah Village, John’s Marketplace recently expanded its operations with an offshoot in the rapidly developing lot on SE Powell Boulevard. Both places offer a massive selection of canned and bottled beers; the Powell location also currently offers tap pours for the sprawling patio, surrounded by some of Portland’s best new food carts.
How to order: Open with reduced hours; call 503.244.2617 for to-go orders