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Where to Drink Beer in Portland


Home of hipsters, craft beer and indie music, Portland, Oregon is the West Coast’s funkiest city. Let me tour you around the city’s best pubs.

In This Portland Travel Article You Will Discover

  • Where to See Live Music
  • The City’s Best Sports Bar
  • Quirky Pubs
  • And More!

Portland, Oregon — home to the hipster and bastion of craft beer. Once a scruffy industrial centre, this city of just over a half-million has been reborn as a community of uber-cool urbanites. And they all seem to have a fine appreciation for the art of craft brewing. Without delay, here are five places to drink beer in Portland:

The Doug Fir Lounge

With a restaurant upstairs and a live music venue down, this log-cabin-style establishment is a staple of East Burnside Avenue. Enjoy campy, “Elk’s Lounge” decor while you start your night with a Fir Burger and a pint of IPA; then buy a ticket for the show to start later on, downstairs, where indie rockers with the skinniest of jeans entertain until the wee hours.

Spirit of ‘77

This is a sports bar designed by sports fans. Located right across from the Rose Garden, rather than being “any-pub with big TVs,” Spirit of ‘77 is set up like a gymnasium or stadium. It features all row-seating with unobstructed views of the Big Screen and multiple TVs, free basketball, high-quality pub food and an indoor bike rack (welcome to Portland). It may be ironic that this artsy ‘burg has one of America’s best sports bars, but hipsters love irony… so… (Oh, and I’ll do you a favour: the name is in reference to the last year the Portland Trailblazers won the NBA Championship — no need to embarrass yourself by asking.)

Dig a Pony

This is where Portland goes to party. Early in the evening patrons may enjoy a relatively quiet bite to eat, but when the sun sets things get loud. With DJs playing every night, expect a club-meets-pub environment — though if you fancy quiet conversation rather than shoulder-to-shoulder mayhem, there’s always the sidewalk patio. Rather than members of the artist community, expect to meet Portland’s movers-and-shakers at this hotspot. Beer of choice? Hefferveisen.

Ringlers Annex

Next door to the boutique Crystal Hotel, this diminutive pub is easy to miss, but don’t — it’s a local classic in the centre of the Pearl District. It features three levels: the bright upstairs, perfect for a meal and a chat; street level (with patio), where you can people-watch the day away; and the cellar, a self-dubbed “subterranean cave” where Portland locals eschew daylight for eclectic décor. Art lovers will find the pub a welcome respite as they tour the city’s Gallery Walk For Art and refuel with a Crystal IPA or even some craft coffee.


So you think you’re hip? Located on the funkiest street in town, NE 28th Avenue, Beulahland is gritty, dark and too-cool-for-school. The hippest music is always played loud (which right now seems to be early-nineties gangster rap) local artwork is proudly displayed and hungry patrons enjoy daily soups and organic beef burgers before tossing back a few IPAs. If you fancy some gaming, play a match of pinball or sit back and watch English Premier League on one of three big-screen televisions in-house. Tattooed waitresses keep the craft brew coming and are happy to expound on both their love of Portland and hatred of Seattle.

Eat: Breakfast at Isabel Pearl is too good to miss, then lunch at Kenny & Zuke’s for a pastrami on rye will fill the gap until it’s time to explore Portland’s vibrant food truck scene in the late night. Barring that, a slice at Sizzle Pie is always a fine choice.

Read Part Two.

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About the author: David Webb is a Vancouver, BC-based travel writer, photographer and magazine editor.

4 comments… add one
  • Angelita Dec 18, 2015 Link

    Son of a gun, this is so helpluf!

  • Sue Jun 22, 2012 Link

    What about McMenimin’s???????

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