Food & Drink

Where to find PDX's best cocktails

Published On 12/05/2013 Published On 12/05/2013
whiskey library
Drew Tyson

No night would be complete without some sweet cocktails, and to make sure you're only imbibing the best, we scoured the city for the seven best places to find chorizo tequila, super-rare rums, drinks that're literally big enough for six, and more.

Gilt Club

Clyde Common
Downtown
The guy who's almost single-handedly responsible for putting the Portland cocktail scene on the map, Jeffrey Morgenthaler, is posted up at this uncommonly good resto/bar making a constantly rotating array of swillables, like vodka/ grapefruit/ Aperol/ quinine syrup Heavy Petting, or a Christmas-y Eggnog number w/ Anejo tequila, Amontillado Sherry, farm eggs, cream & nutmeg.

Drew Tyson

Multnomah Whiskey Libary
Downtown
About the time one of their roving bartenders (no waiters here, y'all!) rolls a seriously next-level cocktail made with traditional techniques/ preparations to your table in an elegant wheeled cart, you’ll stop wondering why the wait at this old-school drinkery, with an "overwhelming" catalogue of spirits that's over 1500-strong, is even longer than the ones at a Seven of Nine kissing booth at Comicon.

Hale Pale
Irvington
Opened in the old home of another Tiki bar (Thatch), this sunny spirits-slinger raises the island-inspired bar... um, bar by serving classic tikis along side modern creations made with exotic rums you truly can’t find anywhere else in the city.

Drew Tyson

Kask
Downtown
The folks behind neighboring Gruner are serving carefully (and sometimes time-consumingly) crafted cocktails in tavernish mountain-Americana-meets Euro-modern digs with cork floors and a rough-hewn "live-edge" walnut bar supported in part by the kind of rock-filled gabion wall often used in erosion control, which hopefully ensures they never serve mudslides.

Rookery Bar

Rookery Bar
Downtown
Swank, restored carriage house that used to be owned by one of Portland’s founders? Check. Barrel-aged cocktails named after said Portland founder (amongst others)? Check. Whiskey Wednesdays featuring famous craft cocktailers from around the city? Check. Fireplace where you can post up and drink a Clear Creek apple brandy/ rye/ Cocchi Vermouth di Torino/ aromatic bitters Saratoga? Oh, you already know... 

Teardrop Lounge

Teardrop Cocktail Lounge
Pearl District
The nationally renowned classic-cocktailistas (but not necessarily classic-Portlanders) at the TL are serious about their drinks, as evidenced by libations like the herbaceous lemon vodka/ Combier crème de pĂŞche/ Marco Polo black tea/ Lillet Blanc/ lemon/ honey Heartbreak Kid, which costs $52 and serves four to six people, despite the fact it would... waitforit!... break your heart to share. 

Racion
Downtown
Perhaps best known for Chef Anthony Cafiero’s molecular gastronomy, this eatery also does booze that can hold its own against the modernist cuisine: try the margarita w/ chorizo tequila & sea salt foam, or the Hemingway's Blood w/ a house-smoked Bacardi 8.

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1. Multnomah Whisk{e}y Library 1124 SW Alder St, Portland, OR 97205 (Downtown)

If you're a whiskey fan, Multnomah Whisk{e}y Library in Portland is worth a trip. One of the best whiskey bars in the country, it has more than 1,500 whiskeys stacked along a huge brick wall, and in true library fashion, they're accessible by a sliding ladder. Roaming bartenders serve drinks from bar carts, and they know more about whiskey than you ever will, so trust them. You can buy a membership to the semi-gentlemen's club to reserve a table ahead of time, otherwise you'll have to wait a few hours for a seat on peak nights with the rest of the non-members. You can always buy a one-time "Hall Pass" to skip the line though.

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2. Clyde Common 1014 SW Stark St, Portland, OR 97205 (Downtown)

Clyde Common's rocking Prohibition era-themed cocktails are crafted by top-notch mixologists, plus this spot also offers European-inspired eats in its casual space Downtown. The trendsetting tavern has communal tables and small plates. Snack on truffle popcorn while you wait for your Heavy Petting cocktail, made with vodka, quinine syrup, lemon peel and grapefruit.

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3. Hale Pele 2733 NE Broadway, Portland, OR 97232 (Lloyd District)

You might be a landlubber, but there's no reason you can't pretend to be a pirate and taste more than 50 different rums from all over the map, earning monikers that were previously reserved for guys with birds on their shoulders. Hale Pele in the Lloyd District rejects your average tiki cocktails and instead adopts more inventive cocktails. Don't forget to order the Zombies, which are so strong they are limited to two per person.

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4. KASK 1215 SW Alder, Portland, OR 97212 (Downtown)

From the folks behind neighboring Gruner, KASK slings domestic bites n' booze to create a cocktail-forward experience balanced by artisanal meat/ cheese/ bread, in tavernish mountain-Americana-meets Euro-modern digs with cork floors and a rough-hewn “live-edge” walnut bar supported in part by a rock-filled gabion wall often used in erosion control, which hopefully ensures they never serve mudslides.

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5. Rookery 1331 SW Broadway, Portland, OR 97201 (Sw Portland)

Located on the top level of the historic Ladd Carriage House, the good people at The Rookery, located just above Raven & Rose, concoct masterful cocktails and delicious food. This spot feels like an exclusive hideaway where the staff selects single-barrel spirits specifically for each individual drink. This means when you order a Sazerac or a mint julep, you’re getting the best possible whiskey for the cocktail.

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6. Teardrop Lounge 1015 NW Everett St, Portland, OR 97209 (Pearl District)

Located in Portland's Pearl District, the Teardrop is a quiet and inventive cocktail lounge, creating original drinks with specialty liqueurs, syrups, digestifs, vermouths, bitters, and tinctures. The impressive drink menu, paired with a number of upped/casual appetizers, are the makings of a great night out. The atmosphere is a mix of night club and chic, so anyone will feel comfortable sipping drinks at one of Portland's first cocktail bars.

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7. Racion 1205 SW Washington St, Portland, OR 97205 (Sw Portland)

This popular tapas factory cooks in an open, all-electric kitchen so you can observe the chefs as they whip up your meal, while you sip on a signature craft cocktail, of course.

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