You can't spend ALL your time in Portland's best beer bars. No, you should probably spend at least some of it in Stumptown's finest whiskey bars, or even... ugh, eating. Though if you're gonna do the latter, it better be at one of PDX's nine best new restaurants, which we've helpfully assembled for you, right here:
The team behind Laurelhurst Market decided to go a bit more blue collar with their new Sellwood joint, and stocked it with some sweet smoked meats, the usual range of Southern-inspired sides, and seriously creative sandwiches. Their best bite? The buttermilk-soaked fried chicken (except for maybe the crushed Doritos-topped mac & cheese. Suck it, Taco Bell), paired with one of their draft cocktails. Obviously.
John Taboada’s been flirting with the idea of opening a bar next to his small-platery, Navarre, for a while, and now the colorful, distinctly French rathskeller is a boozy option for the twenty or so people who can actually score a seat at the marble bar. And don't mind that, instead of a cocktail menu, they've just got a list of available spirits. Fun drinking game? Try to think of a cocktail the bartenders don’t know.
La Panza Cafe
Opened in the old Sushi Ben 2-Go, this Tex-Mexstaurant is serving South-of-the-Border-syle eats (plus a drink list full of michelas and micheladas) from behind a boisterous open kitchen/bar: things start with breakfast (AM-appropriate burritos, chile relleno omelets, etc.) and continue through dinner w/ things like stuffed sopaipillas, and Frito pies, which you can get with one of their red or green sauces. Pro-tip: go Christmas tree-style and get both.
Central Eastside Industrial
Until now, Portland's Russian food has been limited to off-the-grid delis, but thanks to a former Oven & Shaker manager, we've now got a knickknacks-filled spot dimmed by white lace curtains serving food that may sound a little weird, but with some help from your server, and a little vodka, doesn't taste that way.
A 60ft hotel bar in the heart of Downtown? A dozen little spots to tuck yourself into and not be seen? A digital photo booth (that costs $5…)? This gorgeous, new spot inside the Sentinel from the guys behind Dig-A-Pony, Bye and Bye, and Sweet Hereafter is already one of PDX's best new booze spots. Just remember that although you feel out of the way in the dark, the front is almost entirely made of glass.
ChefStable's helped Ryan Magarian (of Oven & Shaker, and Aviation Gin fame) take over the old Ping space in Chinatown and, since Lardo has a kitchen there, they've helped out by providing him with almost their entire classic sandwich menu, which means that, thankfully, you'll have something to eat while you help yourself to Ryan's next-level cocktails.
Food cart success stories are a dime a dozen these days, but we're not sure any have done it quicker than the team behind Tamale Boy. In a city lacking good tamales, their success felt almost immediate. Now they’ve brought an LA vibe to the NE with a bright, sprawling mural and an outdoor patio that is sure to be bumping now that the sun's finally out.
Nong’s Khao Man Gai
Central Eastside Industrial
Nong's is one of Portland’s biggest food cart success stories: starting from humble beginnings on Alder Street before expanding to another cart near PSU, a catering businesses and a line of her namesake sauce, Nong now has her very own brick-and-mortar. The menu is mostly classics, but she’s added a peanut sauce, and a pork dish that makes this place worth a visit by itself.
Pepe le Moko
This bar has been a long time coming. First reported by Portland Monthly a couple years ago, star bartender Jeffrey Morgenthaler finally got the speakeasy he always wanted. In typical fashion, the door is mostly unmarked, but you’ll know where you are when a pretty hostess escorts you down the stairs and underneath Morgenthaler’s other famous bar, Clyde Common. Within this dark haunt, you’ll find the best Long Island you’ve ever had (and probably the costliest) as well as the Grasshopper -- basically the world’s greatest boozy milkshake.
1. Reverend’s BBQ7712 SE 13th Ave, Portland
2. Angel Face14 NE 28th Avenue, Portland
3. La Panza Cafe2425 SE 26th Ave, Portland
4. Kachka720 SE Grand Ave, Portland
5. Jackknife Bar614 11th Ave, Portland
6. Easy Company329 Nw Couch St, Portland
7. Tamale Boy1764 Northeast Dekum Street, Portland
8. Nong's Khao Man Gai1003 SW Alder St., Portland
9. Pépé le Moko407 SW 10th Ave, Portland
The team behind Laurelhurst Market brings you this BBQ joint in Sellwood, offering an array of draft cocktails. Featuring the usual assortment of smoked meats and typical Southern sides, you’ll find some of their more creative dishes on the sandwich side of things. Their best bite very well may be the buttermilk-soaked fried chicken.
The colorful, distinctly French boozer in Kerns fits about twenty or so people. Take a seat at the marble bar top and enjoy a simple but smartly prepared cocktail. You won't find an actual cocktail menu, but rather a list of spirits... take your pick, and the bartenders are sure to serve you up something expertly prepared.
This Clinton/Divison Mextaurant's menu boasts a healthy mix of Southwestern favorites as well as a drink list of michelas and micheladas, and the open kitchen lends itself to the overall ambiance. Don't skip 'em for breakfast, either, as they're serving up a slew of breakfast burritos and omelets.
This Russian eatery is brought to you by the team behind Oven & Shaker. Lots of knickknacks litter the area while lace curtains allow just enough natural light in to not feel dark. The menu has plenty of hearty fare, and of course, vodka.
A sixty-foot hotel bar in the heart of Downtown? A dozen little spots to tuck yourself into and not be seen? A digital photo booth? Jackknife Bar is rocking that, plus artisan 'tails, of course.
This Chinatown bar, helmed by Ryan Magarian, focuses on serving up smartly made cocktails, and because you've gotta eat, offers bites from the Lardo commissary (almost their entire classic sammy menu!).
With colorful murals and an outdoor patio, this food truck-turned-brick-and-mortar spot is slinging some sweet tamales in NE.
A food cart success story, this catering businesses (plus their line of namesake sauce, Nong) boasts a brick and mortar on Alder. The menu is mostly their classics, but there are still surprises in store, like the peanut sauce that compliments both a vegetarian and a pork dish.
Star bartender Jeffrey Morgenthaler helms this speakeasy. In typical fashion, the door is mostly unmarked, but you’ll know where to go once inside, as it's right down the stairs and underneath Morgenthaler’s other famous bar, Clyde Common. Within this dark haunt you’ll find the best Long Island you’ve ever had, plus creative bar bites like Hawaiian spiced peanuts.