6 Portland Bars Meant for 6 Different People
I've been gearing up for Portland On Tap this Saturday (buy tickets on WJBQ.com now to sample a ton of beers from local craft breweries!) by bar hopping around the city. I just moved here so I'm new to most of these places, and I got a kick out of just how distinct the clientele of each place is from the next. I got in the habit of guessing what type of people would be inside every time I reached a new bar!
I encourage you to play this game too. I've collected six below and intend to continue with this sociological experiment until I run out of bars (which, in Portland, will be never).
At this down-home dive, we've got all the laid-back, plaid-clad, Bean boots and beanie-wearing millennials who just wanna drink PBR, play darts, and eat free popcorn. I'm down!
2) Union Restaurant
I made the mistake of showing up here in jeans and a flannel, sans computer. I was very out of place in the classy, blazer-wearing person's environment. I imagine everyone in there is on a trip for work, sipping their chardonnay or fancy-glassed beer while finishing up their latest important project. Don't show up without your hair curled and, preferably, nice slacks.
3) Empire Chinese Kitchen
I loved this place and want to go back asap for a full dinner and another spicy cocktail, but I'll be sure to put on more eyeliner and fake tattoos this time. Coupled with one of Portland's hottest venues Empire Portland, this place is chock full of music-hip cool kids who know how to pronounce the most obscure items on the menu and have probably loved tonight's band since long before they made it big.
4) Bearded Lady's Jewel Box
This spot is way cooler once you realize that the owner filled it largely with objects from his own home. It comes with cozy nooks to sneak off and sip your fancy cocktail in while marveling at the coral deco and - is that a perfume spritzer? Extra points if you're wearing tassles and/or a flat-brimmed '40s hat.
As Portland's famous hidden bar, you automatically join an upper echelon of riddle-solver when you enter this place. If ever a bar shirt were allowed to be worn in the bar, it's here. After all, you have to show you're a regular! With a full bar menu of exclusively $5 bevs, this might be my favorite spot in Portland so far. I have yet to attend the Rock, Paper, Scissors competitions on Sunday nights (returning soon, according to the weekend security guy!) but I felt like I was immediately welcomed into this group of fun-loving, down-to-earth Mainers who like to keep things simple.
6) Bonfire Country Bar
Speaking of simple: if you're looking for a place to get drunk and rowdy, Bonfire is for you. Upon entering this deliberately hillbilly-ish establishment, you're met by fat-bottomed bar stools and red solo cups. During Happy Hour, you get bottomless free bacon, $1 tacos and Bonfire whiskey. You run into two types of people here - those who are coming here ironically, and those who are not. That provides its own entertainment, coupled with the swinging saddle seats. Also, did I mention the free bacon?
You may not have been surprised by anything here, but it sure is amusing. I'm left wondering - where do I fit in? Certainly some places felt more at home than others, but aspects of myself fit in at each of these winners. Where do you think is most cliche? Where should I head next?