Bars + Nightlife

Portland After Dark: Party On

As the sun goes down behind a shroud of gray, Portland lights up. Step into the night and join a community hell-bent on having a good time.

1015 NW Everett St, Portland, OR 97209, USA
If you enjoy drinking cocktails, you’ll like the Teardrop Lounge. If you enjoy seeing them made, you’ll like it even more. It was pure fluke that when we arrived, the only seats remaining were the two barstools next to the wait-station, and we took them willingly, because we’d heard good things about this place from a gin-distilling friend in London. Speaking of gin and tonic, this place makes its own tonic water from scratch, and it’s a million times better than the anaemic stuff that comes out of a soda stream. What was supposed to be a place to kill some time before the cinema turned into an hour-long entertainment in itself. The mixologist was kept on his toes—the bar was at capacity and the orders just kept coming—and we didn’t see him slow or stop for a second. From Tom Collinses to Negronis to Long Island Iced Teas, not to mention the raft of house cocktails that the Teardrop is famous for, he was stirring, shaking, and sluicing incessantly. And if we’d thought that would make him too busy to talk to the likes of us—well, we were very wrong. He was charming, insightful, interested in what we were up to, and witty (at one point, looking a little exhausted, he told me “If you came in here and ordered a simple gin and tonic, I wouldn’t just make it for you, I’d buy it for you”). Seriously, I couldn’t recommend this place more highly. Go there. And give the barman a break.
2828 Northeast Glisan Street
Finding great beer is rarely about the destination and more about the journey. There are no shortage of trails to take you on beer expeditions in Portland, with Migration taking its place among the best. Locally sourced, owned, operated and distributed, the beers coming out of this brewery are broad and balanced. The brewers embrace the importance of innovation, while staying true to styles that span centuries. The beer menu is all Migration, all the time, with seasonal and special batches breaking into the lineup on a regular basis. The IPAs are hoppy and the stouts are, well, stout. Keep track of your alcohol content (always posted along with bitterness values) if you plan on operating machinery after a couple rounds. Some styles creep up into the double-digit range. You’d swear the folks serving the beer are the ones making it, based on their knowledge and expertise in pairing your taste to their brews. The other benefit is a great pub menu with something for everyone. Try the pulled pork nachos or hypocrite burger to give your cold one something to wash down. The pet-friendly patio seating is lively rain or shine and the beers are on sale during televised local sports team events. Plenty of onsite bike parking, too, if you decide to two-wheel it in.
1438 Northwest 23rd Avenue
Ducking into the Matador in the alphabet district is a great way to tour the Mexican culture through its tequila and mezcal heritage. Touting over 100 tequilas in a variety of vintages, you’re likely to become a bit overwhelmed by the depth and complexity. This anxiety is generally relieved after a couple of shots. Staff are keen on giving solid recommendations based on your preferences. There are “flights” of tequila to introduce you to the subtle characteristics of this oft-misunderstood beverage. Be daring and undaunted by the task at hand, and try to sip, not shoot. Salt & lime optional. The space is anchored by a large fire pit that is cozy in the winter months. Huge windows open during summer to bring the outside, in. The menu is focused and leans toward the California interpretations of Mexican cuisine. The pork dishes are a bit more traditional, while the fish tacos have a NW flair. The carne asada is nicely done, and there are veggie and gluten-free options all over the menu. Happy hour is a big draw with lots of great dishes and featured drinks on the cheap. While being part of a small chain of restaurants might seem one-dimensional, Matador promotes local sourcing on ingredients and lets each store have its own personality. NW Portland is a great neighborhood for exploring, and a tequila flight at the Matador is an entertaining way to get the party started.
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