If you’re in the market for Cocktail-esque mixology shenanigans then you may want to skip Vintage. Lucky for the kind hearted folks who run this top-notch cocktail bar, flashy presentation takes a backseat to a quality product for most old-school Portlanders who live nearby. The overhead they save on laser shows and other fantastical nonsense is parlayed into approachable prices on the lengthy menu, most of which hovers around the $10 mark. If text scares you you’re welcome to wing it and give the bartender a general idea of what you’re in the mood for. Chances are it’ll be stiff, delicious, and out of the ordinary.
How to order: See the host for seating, pull up the menu with the QR code on the table, order via table service.
A wise man once defined a bar as “any place you would happily grab a drink without eating—but where the food kind of makes you want to order a drink.” This perfectly sums up Bar Casa Vale, which refocused the concept of tapas from tiny, overpriced versions of entrees to salty snacks that are traditionally served alongside glasses of sweet sherry and rustic cider. Since the recent closures of Toro Bravo and Clyde Common—the latter of which employed Nate Tilden before he opened Bar Casa Vale in 2017—this stunning space in Buckman is the go-to for jamón Ibérico and a glass of Spanish red.
How to order: Grab a seat, scan the QR code for the menu and order with the “Dine-In” link on the site. Advance reservations are available on the site as well.
Prior to COVID-19 this sleek, multi-tiered tropical paradise was almost club-like if you hung around late enough on a Friday or Saturday night. Twenty-somethings buzzed around with sugar highs from the over-proofed rum drinks that highlight Palomar’s menu, and it never seemed clear if they ever had a proper place to sit. One never got the impression this was exactly what craft cocktail celeb Ricky Gomez had in mind when he opened the Cuba-meets-New Orleans-themed bar in 2018, and now that the Dig-A-Pony model is outlawed they’ve settled on a reservation-only model to keep things compliant. Sessions are limited to two hours tops, which is plenty of time to plow through a plate of jamon croquettes and a daiquiri or two.
Hot to order: Table service; seating is reservation only.
It’s hard to pin down when exactly the Portland wine scene finally copped to the fact that the craft beer boom may soon upend their stodgy ways, but few wine connoisseurs will disagree that the past 5 years have been a genesis or sorts for newbie-friendly wine bars. Like Les Caves or Enso Winery before it, Bar Diane ditches the pinot-swilling boomer-bait aesthetics in favor of a place where normal people can feel comfortable walking in off the street to drink killer wine at affordable prices. Boomers are obviously welcome, but it’s also a fine place for a singleton to try a half-glass of vintage orange wine they may not want to purchase by the bottle for close to $100.
How to order: Head inside for seating on the patio.
Food cart pods are fun and all, but the lack of amenities like a roof and a real bathroom can be a real drag. Lucky for you Paydirt has you covered—literally. Imagine a cart pod built around a central dining area that spills out into a patio with fire pits and that’s exactly what you’ll find at the Zipper, which is anchored by one of the best whiskey bars in a 5-mile radius in Paydirt. Their house margarita goes great with a plate of tacos from Tight Tacos, and a draft pour of Fernet is a fine chaser for the hulking chicken sandwich that’s helped Basilisk secure its place as the most reliable tenant in the building behind the boozy heart and soul of the operation.
How to order: Grab a seat, scan the QR code and order online with your table number.
“Bigger can’t be better” is an ethos most craft beer geeks in Portland could swear by, but Breakside Brewery serves as a rare exception that’s essentially unimpeachable at this point. They’ve won piles of medals in fiercely-contested GABF categories like best IPA, their lightning fast turnaround on ascendent beer trends leaves most competitors in the dust, and their massive new brewpub in Slabtown has yielded one banger after another since it first opened in 2016. Bigger is definitely better when it comes to socially distanced beer consumption, and it doesn’t hurt that Breakside carries a small variety of cocktails, a fantastic food menu and a growing selection of barrel-aged bottles in addition to their generous list of near-flawless beers from all over the hop spectrum. Both Slabtown and the location on Northeast Dekum are great for patio hangs, so you really can’t go wrong with either.
How to order: See the host for a seat, then queue up at the bar for food and drink, the former of which is delivered to your table.