Bible Club

For a vintage bar experience, check out Bible Club PDX in the Sellwood-Moreland neighborhood. (Kimo Easterwood)

Portland, Oregon, is home to a bar scene that rivals that of other major cities. Whether you're looking for the perfect artisanal cocktail in a trendy speak-easy or a beer in a hole-in-the-wall dive bar, there's a great bar that will fit your taste.

"There is certainly something for everybody here in Portland," says Alex Dawes, general manager at Embassy Suites Portland – Downtown. "One of the best things I ever heard about Portland was that there is actually nothing here for people to see. People come here because they want to do what the locals do."

To learn where in-the-know Portlanders like to grab a drink, U.S. News asked local experts for recommendations. Here’s what they said.

Multnomah Whisk{e}y Library


Multnomah Whiskey Library

Multnomah Whisk{e}y Library (Dina Avila Photography)


"The Multnomah Whisk{e}y Library is a beautiful old building that has … a whiskey library in it," Dawes says. "It's on two levels and has a list of whiskeys from around the world. And when I say around the world, it has shelves, and shelves and shelves of whiskey … it's incredible."

[Read: The Best Hotels in Portland.]

The library, with its overstuffed leather chairs and fireplace, features about 1,700 distilled spirits, which are prominently displayed on the exposed brick walls.

The bartenders will come to your table to make your drink. "All their mixologists are unbelievably good at what they do," says Marcus Hibdon, director of communications and public relations for Travel Portland, the city's tourism organization.

Bailey's Taproom

"Bailey's Taproom is a draft beer mecca," says Dawes.

Bailey's is conveniently located in downtown Portland, close to many popular hotels. While there are other bars that feature dozens of taps of draft beer, what makes Bailey's different is its focus on Oregon brews. It aims to cater to beer connoisseurs as well as uninitiated beer drinkers.

But beer enthusiasts beware: Craft beers may have a higher alcohol content than what some visitors are used to. "One of the things we have to warn visitors to Portland is to be aware of the alcohol content of the beer that you are drinking," Dawes says. "If you were like me when I first moved to Portland, I was drinking beer not realizing how much alcohol was in it, and got into my third one and almost fell over."

Teardrop Lounge

Teardrop Lounge was one of the first local bars to focus on perfecting the handmade cocktail, and even makes its own bitters and tinctures.

"When you're talking about handcrafted cocktails, you're not going to find anything better than Teardrop anywhere," Hibdon says. "I haven't, not in any city I've been to. It's wonderful. If you like cocktails, go to Teardrop, you'll like it."

[Read: The 6 Best Breweries to Visit in Portland.]

Jordin Heath, front office manager at The Heathman Hotel, loves Teardrop's circular bar. "It's just one of those super hip craft cocktail spots. The drinks are always really solid, and it's nice for people-watching."

Shift Drinks


Shift Drinks

Shift Drinks (Courtesy of Shift Drink)


"Shift Drinks is probably one of my favorite spots right now," says Heath, who loves the all-day happy hour. "They do a featured spirit and then build cocktails around it that are generally $5 to $7."

It doesn't have a full kitchen, but it does offer bruschetta, salads and sandwiches. "They make it all right there in front of you," Heath says. "[You get] this experience of watching someone make your food. You know it's good, you know it's fresh, it's really simple and delicious. I think it's one of those perfect neighborhood bars to give you a nice, local feeling."

Pépé le Moko


Pépé le Moko

(Natalie Puls)


A hidden gem is Pépé le Moko, named after a 1937 French gangster movie. You go down a bending flight of stairs into a dark and mysterious bar that features classic cocktails.

"They do a Grasshopper, a traditional Grasshopper, that comes out on a pewter tray, and it is like a boozy milkshake," Hibdon says. "It is so delicious. But you might want to bring somebody to split [it] with."

Katie Gallagher, front office supervisor at Hotel Lucia, says, "It is probably one of the best date night bars I could recommend. You are very close to the bartender. You can watch them do everything, which is great. But it's also very romantic with dim lighting. A really good place for conversation and friends."

Kelly's Olympian


Kelly's Olympian

Kelly's Olympian (Courtesy of Kelly's Olympian)


Kelly's Olympian, founded in 1902, is one of Portland's oldest bars and one of its best dive bars. Located in an older part of downtown, near the Willamette River, the establishment is rumored to have been one of the entrances to the Shanghai Tunnels. Local legend has it that these passages were used to abduct unsuspecting drunk sailors and force them to crew on waiting ships, but the spaces were probably used for other purposes. As a dive bar, it boasts the right amount of neon, motorcycles and old road signs. It also has regular live music and comedy open mics.

[Read: The 6 Best Portland Neighborhoods to Explore on Vacation.]

"Kelly's Olympian is one of the longest-standing bars in downtown with great music and plenty of local beers on tap," says Lucas Lee, general manager at Hotel Rose - A Staypineapple Hotel.

Bible Club PDX


Bible Club

Bible Club (Kimo Easterwood)


Bible Club PDX is a speak-easy-style bar located in an old house in Portland's Sellwood-Moreland neighborhood. It focuses on pre-Prohibition drinks and features vintage decor, including 1930s solid brass deco-style beer taps and "Repeal the 18th Amendment" signs.

"The cocktails are amazing," Hibdon says. "It's a really, really great spot."

To experience more of what Portland has to offer, check out the U.S. News Travel guide.


The Ultimate Pacific Coast Highway Roadtrip


Photo Gallery
Man driving a convertible on Pacific Coast Highway.
Part of the Vancouver skyline, seen from Olympic Village at the end of False Creek. In the foreground is the ramp down to the watertaxi dock, with the geodesic dome of the Science Museum behind, along with some apartment buildings and offices on Quebec Street.
Beautiful Sunny Morning in Seattle With Mt Rainier
Sunset landscape of Portland, Oregon.
The shore of Columbia River in Astoria, Oregon.
Looking up at the redwood trees at Muir Woods in San Francisco.
San Francisco skyline and Bay Bridge at sunset.
Bixby Creek Bridge, along California 1
Sunset in Venice Beach with Santa Monica Pier in the distance.
San Diego
Rosarito Beach- Baja California, Mexico
|

Take a spellbinding drive, packed with exciting twists and spectacular scenery.
When you imagine driving along the Pacific Coast Highway, you might think of the thrilling stretch of coastal road between San Francisco and Los Angeles. This is one of the country's most famous drives, and for good reason. But stick to this route and you'll only see a fraction of the spectacular scenery that lines the West Coast. For a real adventure, hit the road for a longer coastal journey, from Vancouver, British Columbia, to San Diego, taking in soaring redwood forests, hidden beaches, big cities and charming seaside towns. Read on for route highlights.
(Getty Images)

Vancouver
Start your visit to Canada's western hub by orienting yourself from the top of the Vancouver Lookout Tower, which offers 360-degree panoramas of the city. Then grab a bike and pedal along the Seawall, a paved path that runs along the harbor and continues around Stanley Park. Stop in at the Vancouver Aquarium, which houses more than 50,000 animals. Also be sure to save some time to explore the city's trendy neighborhoods – Gastown's historic streets are lined with patios and twinkle lights hanging from the trees, while Yaletown's sophisticated, urban setting caters to the fashion-forward crowd.
(Getty Images)

Vancouver to Seattle
For this leg of the trip, it's best to take a break and hop on the train. The scenic four-and-a-half-hour journey hugs the coast. Sit back – and get your camera ready for those views. In Seattle, swing through Pike Place Market to watch the fishmongers toss their wares, before making your way to the original Starbucks outpost a few blocks away. And coffee isn't the only thing brewing in Seattle. Make sure to sample the local craft beer scene Fremont Brewing and Cloudburst Brewing. If it's a clear day, take a trip to the top of the Space Needle, where you'll get a glimpse of the city, water and mountains.
(Getty Images)

Seattle to Portland, Oregon
Swing south and inland to Portland, another major Pacific Northwest hub. The city is about three hours south of Seattle, nestled between the Columbia and Willamette rivers. Portland is known as the Rose City, and it's easy to see why at the International Rose Test Garden, which includes a diverse range of test plants in different varieties of the flower. Other must-see sights include Powell's City of Books and the Portland Farmer's Market. And the best way to explore the city is to get lost in its eclectic local shops, art galleries, breweries and vibrant neighborhoods.
(Getty Images)

Portland to the Oregon Coast
From Portland, drive two hours northwest to Astoria, the prime starting point for a trip along Oregon's dramatic coast. At the top of town, climb up the Astoria Column, where you'll get a fantastic vista of the Columbia River. Then, head south along Highway 101, which meanders along the coast all the way to California. You can spend days exploring the small towns, hiking trails and beaches along the coast. Don't miss Ecola State Park, where the bluffs overlook Cannon Beach's iconic Haystack Rock; Oregon Dunes, where the forest makes way into sand dunes; and the Samuel H. Boardman State Scenic Corridor, a 12-mile stretch of coastal road where the sunsets are breathtaking.
(Getty Images)

Southern Oregon to Redwood National Park
Just south of the Oregon-California border, you'll enter the heart of redwood country. Redwood National Park offers hiking trails through groves of the world's tallest trees, bird and wildlife spotting and coastal views. And a little farther along, you'll find Avenue of the Giants, a 31-mile stretch of Highway 101 featuring some of the largest redwoods in the world. It's touristy, but guiding your car through a massive tree trunk is a worthwhile photo op.
(Getty Images)

Northern California Coast to San Francisco
The highway leads out of the redwood forest and emerges above the ocean. From here, you'll pick up the famed California State Route 1, also known as the Pacific Coast Highway. The drive hugs the coast as you move south, passing through seaside communities like Fort Bragg, home to the sea glass-strewn Glass Beach, and Mendocino, a charming town with a strong arts scene. Nature enthusiasts will fall in love with the seascapes around Bodega Bay in California's Sonoma County and the picturesque Point Reyes National Seashore. Spend some time and soak in the scenery before you make your way across the Golden Gate Bridge to San Francisco.
(Getty Images)

San Francisco to Big Sur
The heart of the Pacific Coast Highway, this scenic stretch is the stuff of road trip bucket lists. From San Francisco, Highway 1 passes by swaths of undeveloped coastline before reaching Monterey, a town that's famous for its aquarium and its connection to author John Steinbeck. Just south is the ritzy community of Pebble Beach, where you can cruise along world-class golf links and pristine beaches on 17-Mile Drive. The road then winds up and down along the cliffs past photogenic spots like Bixby Bridge, and offers plenty of places to get out and stretch your legs, including Julia Pfeiffer Burns State Park.
(Getty Images)

Big Sur to Santa Monica
As the Pacific Coast Highway continues south, the road's curves start to straighten out. Keep an eye on the hills as you pass through the small town of San Simeon. Drive on to Santa Barbara, a popular hub with a charming downtown and a delightful local wine scene. Not far south, Ventura and Oxnard are the departure point for daytrips to the picturesque isles of Channel Islands National Park.
(Getty Images)

Santa Monica to San Diego
A beach suburb outside of Los Angeles, Santa Monica not only sits on the Pacific Coast Highway, it's a hub for another great American drive: Route 66. Spend some time on the pier, with its iconic Ferris wheel or peruse the shops on the car-free Third Street Promenade. From here, you can head down to San Diego in about three hours, but you'll want to carve out some time to enjoy the coastal drive through communities, such as Huntington Beach and Laguna Beach. As you near San Diego, make a detour to La Jolla, where sea caves and sea lions draw crowds of onlookers.
(Getty Images)

Bonus: Mexico
If you've made it all the way from Canada to San Diego, you might as well push a little farther. About a half-hour south of the city is San Ysidro, where you'll find a border crossing into Tijuana, Mexico. Take the car (check your rental car agreement) and venture farther afield – Valle de Guadalupe is a popular wine destination. Getting into Mexico is fairly straightforward; getting back across into the U.S. takes time. Another tip: Global Entry members can use their SENTRI membership cards for a shorter wait.
(Getty Images)

Man driving a convertible on Pacific Coast Highway.
Part of the Vancouver skyline, seen from Olympic Village at the end of False Creek. In the foreground is the ramp down to the watertaxi dock, with the geodesic dome of the Science Museum behind, along with some apartment buildings and offices on Quebec Street.
Beautiful Sunny Morning in Seattle With Mt Rainier
Sunset landscape of Portland, Oregon.
The shore of Columbia River in Astoria, Oregon.
Looking up at the redwood trees at Muir Woods in San Francisco.
San Francisco skyline and Bay Bridge at sunset.
Bixby Creek Bridge, along California 1
Sunset in Venice Beach with Santa Monica Pier in the distance.
San Diego
Rosarito Beach- Baja California, Mexico

Take a spellbinding drive, packed with exciting twists and spectacular scenery.
When you imagine driving along the Pacific Coast Highway, you might think of the thrilling stretch of coastal road between San Francisco and Los Angeles. This is one of the country's most famous drives, and for good reason. But stick to this route and you'll only see a fraction of the spectacular scenery that lines the West Coast. For a real adventure, hit the road for a longer coastal journey, from Vancouver, British Columbia, to San Diego, taking in soaring redwood forests, hidden beaches, big cities and charming seaside towns. Read on for route highlights.
(Getty Images)

Vancouver
Start your visit to Canada's western hub by orienting yourself from the top of the Vancouver Lookout Tower, which offers 360-degree panoramas of the city. Then grab a bike and pedal along the Seawall, a paved path that runs along the harbor and continues around Stanley Park. Stop in at the Vancouver Aquarium, which houses more than 50,000 animals. Also be sure to save some time to explore the city's trendy neighborhoods – Gastown's historic streets are lined with patios and twinkle lights hanging from the trees, while Yaletown's sophisticated, urban setting caters to the fashion-forward crowd.
(Getty Images)

Vancouver to Seattle
For this leg of the trip, it's best to take a break and hop on the train. The scenic four-and-a-half-hour journey hugs the coast. Sit back – and get your camera ready for those views. In Seattle, swing through Pike Place Market to watch the fishmongers toss their wares, before making your way to the original Starbucks outpost a few blocks away. And coffee isn't the only thing brewing in Seattle. Make sure to sample the local craft beer scene Fremont Brewing and Cloudburst Brewing. If it's a clear day, take a trip to the top of the Space Needle, where you'll get a glimpse of the city, water and mountains.
(Getty Images)

Seattle to Portland, Oregon
Swing south and inland to Portland, another major Pacific Northwest hub. The city is about three hours south of Seattle, nestled between the Columbia and Willamette rivers. Portland is known as the Rose City, and it's easy to see why at the International Rose Test Garden, which includes a diverse range of test plants in different varieties of the flower. Other must-see sights include Powell's City of Books and the Portland Farmer's Market. And the best way to explore the city is to get lost in its eclectic local shops, art galleries, breweries and vibrant neighborhoods.
(Getty Images)

Portland to the Oregon Coast
From Portland, drive two hours northwest to Astoria, the prime starting point for a trip along Oregon's dramatic coast. At the top of town, climb up the Astoria Column, where you'll get a fantastic vista of the Columbia River. Then, head south along Highway 101, which meanders along the coast all the way to California. You can spend days exploring the small towns, hiking trails and beaches along the coast. Don't miss Ecola State Park, where the bluffs overlook Cannon Beach's iconic Haystack Rock; Oregon Dunes, where the forest makes way into sand dunes; and the Samuel H. Boardman State Scenic Corridor, a 12-mile stretch of coastal road where the sunsets are breathtaking.
(Getty Images)

Southern Oregon to Redwood National Park
Just south of the Oregon-California border, you'll enter the heart of redwood country. Redwood National Park offers hiking trails through groves of the world's tallest trees, bird and wildlife spotting and coastal views. And a little farther along, you'll find Avenue of the Giants, a 31-mile stretch of Highway 101 featuring some of the largest redwoods in the world. It's touristy, but guiding your car through a massive tree trunk is a worthwhile photo op.
(Getty Images)

Northern California Coast to San Francisco
The highway leads out of the redwood forest and emerges above the ocean. From here, you'll pick up the famed California State Route 1, also known as the Pacific Coast Highway. The drive hugs the coast as you move south, passing through seaside communities like Fort Bragg, home to the sea glass-strewn Glass Beach, and Mendocino, a charming town with a strong arts scene. Nature enthusiasts will fall in love with the seascapes around Bodega Bay in California's Sonoma County and the picturesque Point Reyes National Seashore. Spend some time and soak in the scenery before you make your way across the Golden Gate Bridge to San Francisco.
(Getty Images)

San Francisco to Big Sur
The heart of the Pacific Coast Highway, this scenic stretch is the stuff of road trip bucket lists. From San Francisco, Highway 1 passes by swaths of undeveloped coastline before reaching Monterey, a town that's famous for its aquarium and its connection to author John Steinbeck. Just south is the ritzy community of Pebble Beach, where you can cruise along world-class golf links and pristine beaches on 17-Mile Drive. The road then winds up and down along the cliffs past photogenic spots like Bixby Bridge, and offers plenty of places to get out and stretch your legs, including Julia Pfeiffer Burns State Park.
(Getty Images)

Big Sur to Santa Monica
As the Pacific Coast Highway continues south, the road's curves start to straighten out. Keep an eye on the hills as you pass through the small town of San Simeon. Drive on to Santa Barbara, a popular hub with a charming downtown and a delightful local wine scene. Not far south, Ventura and Oxnard are the departure point for daytrips to the picturesque isles of Channel Islands National Park.
(Getty Images)

Santa Monica to San Diego
A beach suburb outside of Los Angeles, Santa Monica not only sits on the Pacific Coast Highway, it's a hub for another great American drive: Route 66. Spend some time on the pier, with its iconic Ferris wheel or peruse the shops on the car-free Third Street Promenade. From here, you can head down to San Diego in about three hours, but you'll want to carve out some time to enjoy the coastal drive through communities, such as Huntington Beach and Laguna Beach. As you near San Diego, make a detour to La Jolla, where sea caves and sea lions draw crowds of onlookers.
(Getty Images)

Bonus: Mexico
If you've made it all the way from Canada to San Diego, you might as well push a little farther. About a half-hour south of the city is San Ysidro, where you'll find a border crossing into Tijuana, Mexico. Take the car (check your rental car agreement) and venture farther afield – Valle de Guadalupe is a popular wine destination. Getting into Mexico is fairly straightforward; getting back across into the U.S. takes time. Another tip: Global Entry members can use their SENTRI membership cards for a shorter wait.
(Getty Images)

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Tags: Portland, Oregon, travel, vacations, food and drink


Nathan Isaacs writes about travel for U.S. News & World Report. He is based in Portland, Oregon, and reports and writes about the Pacific Northwest. His work has appeared in The Oregonian, the Seattle Post-Intelligencer, Tri-City Herald and Alaska Airlines Magazine, as well as many business websites. You can follow him on Twitter at @isaacsnd.

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