Food & Drink

The Best Wine Bars in Portland

Published On 02/23/2016 Published On 02/23/2016
Coopers Hall, wine glasses, wine selection
Courtesy of Coopers Hall

With all due (re: no due) respect to Paul Giamatti and your neighbor from Sonoma who moved up here and won’t stop talking about tannins, the Willamette Valley is one of the best wine-producing regions in the country. And you don’t live 30 minutes away from one of the best wine areas in the world without having a wealth of world-class wine bars. These are the best places to purple-up your teeth in all of Portland.

Andy Kryza/Thrillist

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Venue Name

Southeast Wine Collective

Venue Node ID

3047925

Southeast Wine Collective

Urban winery SE Wine Collective is one of the more traditional-feeling of the wine bars in Portland, with a smaller, cozier tasting room serving up small plates and glasses from the 10 member wineries, a barrel room, and a big-ass production floor. Don’t let the whole “small plates” thing fool you, though: in its "Cuisinières" dinners, the Collective and Chef Althea Grey Potter collaborate to put our local wines and foods into perspective alongside Old World counterparts. Don’t have time for a multi-course meal but still love the wine? Buy one of the growlers and get it filled for as cheap at $15.

Pour Wine Bar and Bistro

You want cheap? Pour boasts a happy hour with $3 pours of both red and white wines. Even during regular bar hours, the owner promises that not a single wine is priced more than $15 over retail. Don’t let the prices set the wrong expectation, though: this place is great for casual happy hour fiends and wannabe soms alike. In fact, every Thursday the PDX Wine & Adventure Enthusiasts group hosts a class with a sommelier that’s open to the public, just in case you want to up your game.

Enso Winery

ENSO Urban Winery

An all-around more casual spot than most of the places on our list, ENSO is ideal for large groups thanks to tons of open-seating areas with comfortable lounge space. Even the wine club is more accessible because it offers different price points for its wine shipments. Regardless of how many shipments you get a year, all members get lots of tasting lounge perks like a complimentary tasting for up to four people each time you visit, $5 delivery in Portland area, and a free birthday glass of wine. And if you don’t want to be a wine club member, well, it’s also a damn fine wine bar, too.

Wine Up on Williams

Wine Up on Williams caters to wine lovers looking for a second home. Cellar Dwellers club members can get their name put on a plaque in front of their favorite stool, and here it really means something. Sit down at any of the barstools and the staff can tell you not only when your stool’s namesake was last in, but probably their favorite wine to boot. Bond with your new bar family at any of the many weekly events including Wednesday classes, jazz Thursdays, and wine-tasting Fridays. The Sweet Spot cellar even hosts comedy performances, making Wine Up a great contradiction to the stuffy reputation wine bars are shouldered with.

Ambonnay

Ambonnay

Ambonnay is how you’d imagine Wes Anderson’s wine bar would feel complete with perfectly twee decor. This intimate space has the upscale yet unconventional feel of a party in the Tenenbaums’ brownstone. While the Champagne-heavy menu doesn’t offer a wide range of options by the glass, the bottle list can supplement nearly any bubbly craving you could have. The best part of this tiny, slightly hidden space -- other than the excuse to get closer to your Tinder match -- is how much you can interact with and learn from the staff. Quick! Google some questions that will prove you earned that right-swipe.

The Hop & Vine

Most of the Portland wine world seems to sleep in late. So when you’re feeling the need to fill that wine glass-shaped hole in your heart and take in a delicious brunch, there is only one spot you should consider: Hop & Vine. Turns out, brunch can be so much more than mimosas (although the mimosas are great too). Keep the party going at your house later by stopping by the attached bottle shop on your way out.

Taste on 23rd

Taste on 23rd

Most of Portland’s wine scene seems to cash out early, but Taste on 23rd keeps the party going with a late-night happy hour and DJ sets Thursday-Saturday. Don’t let the party atmosphere fool you, though: wine is still serious business here. While everyone has their favorite Oregon pinot, Taste’s impressive 18 distributors and sommelier are dedicated to introducing a more varied Old World palate to Portland. Don’t worry, it's keeping things local and weird by building great relationships with winemakers who even deliver by hand.

Vintner's Cellar

This family-owned and -operated bar wants you to join the family. Come prepared to relax, and don’t be surprised if owner/vintner Norm encourages you to just kick off your shoes and curl up on the couch with your wine and the occasional live music. You can even design your own wine blend and pizza to match: a stark and welcome contrast to the usual pairing of wine and charcuterie. Even the pizza dough is made right there in the building by the bar's neighbor, Gabriel’s Bakery. It's part of the family too.

Andy Kryza/Thrillist

Bar Vivant/Pix Patisserie

Named one of the best sherry bars in the nation by Wine Enthusiast (and even owned by a Cheryl!), Bar Vivant is the number one spot in town for sherry/Cheryl lovers. Nowhere else in town comes close to the selection you can find in the six pages of sherry you find here (Frasier Crane would be stoked), paired up with tapas for good measure. Stick around for the perfect nightcap and dessert from the other side of the business at Pix Patisserie, or take a bottle home for 10% off the list price.

Noble Rot

One of the best date spots in Portland also boasts the best rooftop bar on the Eastside. And a great happy hour, with everything from a solid burger to poached pork clocking in at under $10. And great not-happy hour food ranging from steak to albacore. Oh, and wine... a carefully curated list that stays fancy without veering into the ridiculous side of the price spectrum. Basically, if you bring a date here that doesn’t go well, it’s on you.

Coopers Hall

Coopers Hall

One of the newer ventures by local supergroup ChefStable, Coopers Hall is a sprawling place where you can drink wine while feeling like you’re in a beer hall. This is a good thing. The spot’s in a former auto shop that looks like an airplane hangar full of barrels. The wine is poured from 44 taps (that also pour beer and cider) and paired with rotisserie meat and not an ounce of pretension. Oh, and the wine’s made, barreled, and kegged in-house. It’s a sprawling celebration of wine that caters perfectly to the amateur and the aficionado.

Tesoaria Winery

TeSoAria

Williams/Vancouver

New to the Williams St fray -- as is basically everything -- the Portland outpost of Roseburg’s TeSoAria ticks off all the right boxes. Cheap flights are paired up with everything from BBQ to nuts, charcuterie, chips, and candy bars, making for one of the most appealing-to-everybody -- and affordable -- wine experiences you can have, and one you can take home thanks to the bottle-your-own program that lets you tap into the on-site barrels. Even better, wine comes with free BBQ on Wednesdays, and free BBQ makes everything better.

Andy Kryza/Thrillist

Cyril’s

The big rustic tasting room attached to urban winery Clay Pigeon is a testament to all things wine, right down to a bar made largely of repurposed barrel parts. It’s also a great spot for big wine-thirsty groups thanks to the ample space and big tables. Oh, and the owner used to be associated with Cheese Bar, so you can bet your weight in blue that the selection of dairy and meat here is perfectly calibrated to go perfectly with the in-house vino.

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Thrillist senior editor Andy Kryza contributed to this story, then purchased some teeth-whitening kits.

A reformed Texan, living abroad in Portland, OR, Amy Wolfenberger loves comedy, cocktails, and comics and will fight you about any of those on Twitter: @shame_y.

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1. SE Wine Collective 2425 SE 35th Pl, Portland, OR 97214 (82nd Ave)

Bringing the authentic, wine country experience to the people of Portland with tastings, events, and a decadent monthly supper club that you should probably hop on ASAP. SE Wine Collective serves up some of the best small plates available in Portland, and they charge a respectable price for their wine growlers.

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2. Pour Wine Bar & Bistro 2755 NE Broadway, Portland, OR 97232

Head here for some delicious beers on the cheap. Their happy hour boasts $3 pours! Besides their great deals, they host a weekly PDX Wine & Adventure Enthusiasts group that you need to be a part of. Once you stop by, you'll learn all of the reasons why we think that Pour Wine Bar & Bistro is one of the best wine bars in Portland.

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3. ENSO Urban Winery 1416 SE Stark Street, Portland, OR 97214 (Buckman)

This is the perfect wine bar for large groups, and everyone else can enjoy a free glass of wine for their birthday!

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4. Wine Up on Williams 3037 N. Williams Ave, Portland, OR 97227

This wine bar is anything but boring, with weekly events and a special Cellar Dwellers Club. Besides their weekly specials and events, their staff is both friendly and knowledgeable about everything from wine selection to the bar's unique history.

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5. Ambonnay 107 SE Washington St #167, Portland, OR 97214

Ambonnay is Portland’s only wine bar exclusively devoted to Champagne and sparkling wine, and their affordable prices and lack of pretension makes the spot an easy destination, even without a reason to celebrate.

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6. Hop and Vine 1914 North Killingsworth, Portland, OR 97217 (Overlook)

H&V serves up plenty of domestic and imported beers on top, plus hosts plenty of cocktail tastings. If you are a brunch lover, Hope and Vine should be one of the first places on your list to bring a brunch date this weekend. We think that they are one of the best wine bars in Portland.

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7. Taste on 23rd 2285 NW Johnson St., Portland, OR 97210 (Nw Portland)

Head here for happy hour specials that last well after all of the other bars have closed. Here you can enjoy a DJ on the weekends and a great selection of local wines on their expertly curated wine list. We think that this wine bar is one of the best in Portland, but you'll have to stop by and see for yourself.

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8. Vintner's Cellar 1111 NW 16th Ave, Portland, OR 97209

Every visit here feeling like you're spending time with family, thanks to Vintner's friendly wait staff and cozy environment. Here you can choose your own wine and pizza parings, and sometimes they even host live music events. Make sure to keep your eyes out for any upcoming events.

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9. Noble Rot 1111 E Burnside St, Portland, OR 97214 (Lloyd District)

Offering scenic views of Portland, Noble Rot's a wine bar with a serious vino menu (they've got 300+ bottles in stock from small wineries in the Pacific Northwest and across Europe). Noble Rot's always topping out best of Portland lists, and for good reason; It's a solid date spot with great happy hour specials, and awesome dinner menu, and a great rooftop bar.

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10. Remedy 733 NW Everett, Portland, OR 97209 (Pearl District)

Remedy's a wine bar and bistro that's serving up locally sourced meats and veggies as well as killer aromatic cocktails inspired by old-timey French recipes.

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11. Coopers Hall 404 SE 6th Ave, Portland, OR 97214

The wine-heavy Coopers Hall has become one of the best places for large parties to party, mostly thanks to a space designed by the same cats who took that little hotel on Stark and turned it into the powerhouse combination of the Ace Hotel, Kenny & Zukes, and Stumptown.

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12. Cyril's 815 SE Oak St, Portland, OR 97214 (Se Portland)

Housed within Buckman's Clay Pigeon Winery, Cyril's is keeping things classy with its simple menus of sandwiches (grilled cheese, prosciutto), salads, soups, cheese plates, and meat boards. Of course, none of this is complete without at least one glass of wine, of which they've got a range of sparkling, white, and red options.

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13. TeSoAria Tasting Room 4003 N Williams Ave, Portland, OR 97227 (Williamsvancouver)

TeSoAria is the best place in Portland to go for a wine tasting. Not only are their prices reasonable, but the have odd wine pairings and free BBQ on Wednesdays. We think that they are one of the best wine bars in Portland, and you would to if you tried their cheap wine flights and charcuterie chips.

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