The Best Outdoor Drinking Spots in Portland
It’s no shock that the dreary skies of Portland’s nine-month winter drive its denizens to drink a lot, but the preponderance of excellent outdoor drinking spots scattered throughout the city is a pleasant surprise considering how infrequently the weather cooperates. Life is glorious when it does, and the following list is guaranteed to provide an optimal plan of attack for taking advantage of sun-soaked afternoons on the myriad decks, yards, and patios found in every corner of the metro area.
Whittling down an index of bars that almost totals in triple digits was no easy task, so we accounted for geographical diversity and assigned a high value to places that offer some amount of shelter in case mother nature throws an abrupt wrench in your plans. Behold, the 16 best bars where you can enjoy the summer sun when it finally reappears!
A trendy Chinatown rooftop refuge with high-end tacos and creative tequila cocktails
With glistening white tiles and greenery galore, the inside of the tacos-and-tequila bar atop the Hoxton is already an Instagram influencer’s dream come true. But its outdoor terrace is the real gem. Offering serene views of Mt. Hood and the sprawl of the east side alongside clever tequila cocktails and hearty plates of queso fundido and tlayuda, Topé is certain to be a hit amongst the after-work crowd who prefer stiff drinks in fashionable environs.
A terrace atop an old high school that offers refreshing drinks and stunning views of Downtown Portland
The rooftop of the former Washington High School building isn’t the first such experience available on the east side, but it’s easily the best. Erected two summers ago at the top of an ambitious entertainment complex that already contains a stellar music venue in an old auditorium (as well as two different bars), it’s become the crown jewel of the Buckman bar scene and is predictably crowded with chic, Wayfarer-clad revelers anytime the temperature breaks the 55 degree mark. The folks who book shows at the Aladdin Theater and Mississippi Studios have dabbled in hosting intimate live shows at sundown as well, which is the perfect marriage of everything everyone loves about Portland.
An iconic hipster hang famous for free Sunday night shows and a massive enclosed patio space
Talk all the trash you’d like about the inner east side’s premiere weekend -- ahem -- meat market, but the patio here is an exalted realm that even the midwestern insurance salesmen who’ve stumbled over from the Oregon Convention Center via Yelp can enjoy when the sun is shining. Big moods (read: large personalities) abound on both sides of the counter, but all is easily forgiven thanks to cheap cans of Tecate, tasty happy hour snacks, and a steady stream of Portland’s brightest new bands every Sunday night during Rontoms’ legendary (and free) Sunday Sessions concert series.
A jail-turned-hotel on a sprawling, verdant estate that’s popular in the summer for outdoor concerts and bar-hopping between its many taverns
Why settle for just one bar when you can hop between a distillery, a winery, and a cozy Grateful Dead-themed pub? Most Portlanders are familiar with Edgefield as a popular outdoor music venue where bands like the Shins, Father John Misty, and Death Cab For Cutie make frequent appearances, but it’s also a fantastic place to spend an afternoon while lounging on the patio of the Power Station, playing a round of golf or just chilling under the trees outside Edgefields iconic hotel. It is, in essence, one giant patio, which means your options for summertime shenanigans are nearly endless.
An authentic German beer bar on Mississippi Avenue with a generous patio that opens up to one of the best cart pods in the city
Long ago there was a time when frosty cold low-ABV lager was yet to be bastardized by the likes of Big American Breweries, and Prost does an excellent job of whisking beer drinkers away to that era. This classic North Mississippi Avenue bierhaus does an even better job of offering guests generous patio space on which to enjoy oversized steins of Helles and Altbier with a bevy of top-tier food carts within arms reach, with Matt’s BBQ and Koi Fusion being two of the heaviest hitters on offer.
A friendly neighborhood NoPo spot that appeals to homebodies, beer snobs and Instagram obsessives all at the same time
As its name connotes, Backyard Social is all your dreams of an idyllic backyard party come to life. Rope lights and leafy walls create a slightly twee ambiance that anyone who’s watched an episode or two of Portlandia would expect from a NoPo patio spot with such an on-the-nose name, but sometimes you have to embrace the affectation and remind yourself why you love calling Portland home. In this case, it’s a luxe backyard for everyone to enjoy, complete with a chalkboard loaded with local craft beers and the come-hither aroma of hangar steak grilling in the distance. You can’t live at Backyard Social, but you know you would if you could.
A honky-tonk patio hang that’s as beloved as it is out of place in indie rock-obsessed Portland
If you’ve spent any time in Austin, the scene at Landmark Saloon will feel familiar. The bar itself is a diminutive bungalow draped in Pendleton blankets and fliers for the raucous honky tonk and Americana shows that pack the house on weekends, but the real party -- in typical Texas fashion -- is always outside. There you’ll find lively crews of heshers, hipsters, and the occasional shit-kicker in a button snap shirt sipping cans of Shiner Bock and chowin’ down BBQ from Leroy’s Familiar Vittles, as well as kind hearted neighborhood folk who’ve warmly embraced the fact that Landmark is the only bar that’s worth a damn for several blocks in any direction.
A lush bamboo-lined oasis for locals and waitstaff tucked away from the clatter of tourists on nearby Division Street
Nestled squarely in the middle of the seemingly endless development of the Richmond neighborhood is this gem of a cocktail bar, which is rightfully proud of being “Not on Division Since 2004.” Inside is a dimly-lit haven of inexpensive cocktails and pub fare, and out back is a quaint little patio covered with a dense canopy of foliage that does wonders in keeping the klatches of chain-smoking industry types who love it dearly from baking in the sun when temperatures hover near triple digits.
The quintessential outdoor party porch in Inner Southeast Portland, complete with DJs, vegan nachos and unbeatable craft beers
Provided you remember to bail before the trap DJs and fanboys descend like a plague every Friday and Saturday night, this powerhouse inner Southeast patio spot truly has something for everyone. The beer selection is always on point, delicious vegan and omnivore food options abound, and the giant fire pit out back is one of the best places in town to get cozy with strangers while sharing a smoke or a massive plate of nachos.
An awesome rooftop patio in the Pearl courtesy of Bend’s inimitable IPA-focused powerhouse of a brewery
Beer snobs love to hate on this insanely popular Bend-based brewery for being, well, insanely popular (and owned by InBev), but there aren’t many other breweries in town that can hold a candle to 10 Barrel’s rooftop patio. You’ll find an unbeatable panorama view of the West Hills right above its very own bar, and on most days of the week the atmosphere is as party-hardy as it gets in the chichi Pearl District. It definitely helps that the beers -- specifically the hop-forward experiments of brewmaster Whitney Burnside that are generally exclusive to the Portland outpost -- are consistently fantastic.
Go-to for authentic German beer, plump sausages and picturesque views of nearby Cathedral Park
The comparison of the always-busy patio at Prost to that of Occidental Brewing provides a perfect glimpse into what people love so much about the St. John’s neighborhood. It’s really not that far, yet the unhurried way of life and pleasant residential feel of the area feels miles away from freshly gentrified areas like the aforementioned German beer bar’s Mississippi Avenue neighborhood. Like Prost, Occidental’s primary focus is quaffable German beers, with the primary difference being they’re brewed on site by a pair of brothers who thought the idea of opting out of the “hops arms race” was too novel a concept to pass up when they got started in 2011. Fast forward to today and they’ve got an impressive selection of beers that are perfect for summer sipping, as well as a patio that offers an unbeatable view of the iconic St. John’s bridge and the grassy expanse of Cathedral Park below it.
A roomy veranda with a roof and heat lamps that make it perfect for year-round outdoor drinking
The dearth of certified industry hangs in the Alphabet District is baffling considering the volume of high-end restaurants in the area, but Paymaster Lounge is more than capable of picking up the slack. A winding journey through an unflattering concrete bunker of a bar ends at what’s arguably the neighborhoods most beloved patio space, complete with a generous selection of bench and picnic table seating, a corrugated roof, and plenty of heat lamps to keep smokers and claustrophobes comfortable all year round. It’s never a bad time to be kinda outdoors at Paymaster, but the warmer temperatures of summer make a patio that’s already poppin’ absolutely lit no matter what day of the week it is.
A rustic cabin-pub hybrid settled amongst the trees with fire pits and a cozy camping vibe
Nestled amidst the sprawling hilltop estates adjacent to Forest Park lies the Skyline Tavern, one of Portland’s best-kept secrets in alfresco imbibing. What was once a crumbling roadhouse left for dead by negligent ownership has been lovingly restored to its glory days of a quaint shack in the woods, complete with ping pong tables, fire pits, and a backyard that’s as close as one can get to a deep-woods campfire vibe while still technically residing within city limits. Grab a pint of beer from pFriem or Terminal Gravity and a loaner blanket from the basket at the bar, nestle up to some nature outdoors and enjoy the peace and quiet that comes with traveling to the edge of town for a truly special night outdoors.
A glamorous new Downtown hotel bar highlighted by a wraparound porch with fire pits, high-end cocktails, and satisfying pub fare
Departure still gets all the credit for being the go-to for Downtown patio partying, but the 16th floor the brand new Porter Hotel is hot on its heels in terms of views and brews. First and foremost is Xport’s outdoor terrace, which is partially covered and extends to both sides of the building, offering stunning views of the West Hills on one side Mt. Hood and the Willamette River on the other. Throw in a communal fire pit, an expansive selection of high-end cocktails, and pub fare like crab-covered tots and curry squash hummus, and you’ve got yourself a proper fancy experience located far away from the hustle and bustle of street level.
A former produce market-turned-summertime (or wintertime) patio spot way out in The Numbers
The spacious greenhouse-turned-patio at Level Beer would be royalty of the patio scene if it weren’t a 20-minute drive from Portland proper, but the bucolic ambiance of this old produce market turns out to be its greatest strength despite the obscure location. Checking out the space is worth the first visit, and the beer -- a diverse portfolio of IPAs, English ales and delicate saisons brewed by a small dream team of beer scene veterans most hopheads will recognize -- is the reason to return again and again.
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