The best thing about the OLCC is that... um, they're not quite as terrible as the Washington Liquor Control Board? OK, the second best thing about 'em is that their rules pretty much guarantee you'll have something to eat until closing time, while our list of PDX's best bar snacks pretty much guarantees anything you eat from these places around closing time will be delicious.
The best bar eats in Portland. Period.
Best Blue Collar Burger: Slow Sliders
Slow Bar, South Eastside Industrial
By now, everyone knows about the Slow Burger. Reasonably priced and unreasonably large and tasty, this homage to the perfect bar burger is a blue collar go-to. But did you know Slow Bar also has sliders? Sure they're smaller and don’t come with an onion ring, but they're almost as delicious, and cheaper!
Best Traditional Sandwich: Italian Cured Meats Sandwich
Bunk Bar, South Eastside Industrial
Cult fave Bunk turns out a simple sandwich with cured meats and pickled peppers that are so good they could probably use 'em at delis in New York. They also go perfectly with what you usually drink at BB: a pitcher or two, which they could probably also use in New York right now.
Best Vegan Bar Food: Brussels Sprouts
Swift Lounge, Northeast
This spot's mostly known for enormous mason jars of awesome (habanero infused tequila cocktails, etc.), but should probably also be known for delicious eats like our favorite: the salty, tangy Brussels sprouts that make you think they’ve been marinated in bacon fat. But since the dish is technically Vegan that's not possible... is it?
Best Free Snack: Popcorn at Yur's
Sure, you can probably get fancier popcorn somewhere else, but the buttery, movie theater-style version they offer in unlimited amounts at this dive-y sports hang has something special going for it: it's free!
Best Wings. Period: Ike’s Wings
Whiskey Soda Lounge, Clinton/Division (where else?)
Whiskey Soda, originally meant to be a sort of waiting room for people trying to get into Pok Pok OG, is now just a place to drink and eat as many of Andy Ricker's wings as possible. There's a reason they're one of our top five wings in portland...
Best Fried Combo: Chicken and jojos
Reel M Inn, Clinton/Division
We just went over this whole jojos thing, so there's not much to say except when you hit what has long been considered one of the best dive bars in Portland for some fried poultry/potatoes, do yourself a favor and get a side of ranch Gresham gravy.
Best Thing To Get When Your Girlfriend Makes You Go Someplace Nice: St. Jack's Burger
St. Jack, Clinton/Division
Portland's worst kept secret (other than that whole Dave Chapelle thing a few years back) is now on the menu over at St. Jack, so go ahead and splurge on this caramelized onions, dijon creme fraiche & Gruyere-topped beauty.
An ultra-dive full of down-to-earth locals in a stretch known for fanciness, Reel M pops out the best fried chicken in the city. The sizeable chunks take 30 minutes to cook, and when the bartender serves 'em, she'll give you instructions on how to eat them... including a stern "wait 15 minutes." Trust us, it's worth it.
Swift Lounge has got a weekly line up of shows, a "Hangover Brunch" on Saturdays and Sundays, plus cocktails like the Diesel, which's made with bourbon, root beer liqueur, and walnut bitters. Stop by for a sissy or fatty cocktail (small or large), served in one of Swift's widely-appreciate mason jars.
Onion ring-topped burgers. Crispy fries drowning in melted cheese. Smoked bacon and onion wood-fired pizza -- the upscale branding and polished interior of this East Portland hangout might have you believing it's a snooty bistro, but what this place really delves out is glutenous American favorites. While menu items like ahi tuna salad and white wine fondue keep this place's image intact, most know to go straight for the house burger or bbq pork sandwich with their specialty cocktail.
Draft beers, imported cans, and house drinks like the Iceberg (a pint of beer topped with a shot of frozen Marg), pair superbly with the mouth-watering sandwich creations perfected by the guys at Bunk. Expect varied creations like the braised lamb with house chorizo or roast beef sandwich with caramelized onions.
A below-the-radar dive which has battled the glitz of Northwest PDX for ages. Yur's has got big pours to be enjoyed in their "Cave" area, featuring a 55" screen, surround sound, and cushioned couches.
With tapas-style Thai and fish sauce wings on a menu that also boasts the best whiskey sour in town, you'd expect the WSL to be overrun with PDX-ers and tourists alike. Thankfully it's not, so that means no waiting in long lines of obnoxious Zagat-reading out-of-towners to get the amazing Ike's Wings.
St. Jack is run by a former 23Hoyt chef and named for the man's encouraging grandfather (it's also an Americanization of "coquille St. Jacques", French for "scallop"). There is an elegantly-tiled patisserie with pastry domes and Stumptown coffee as well as a bistro side serving rustic continental fare. Snack on bones marrow gremolata and seared foie gras or, for something heavier, a whole roasted trout with lentils, arugula and brown butter vinagrette.