When the first rays of summer sun bathe Stumptown in their unfamiliar glow, it's time to put on your sunglasses, not just to protect your delicate eyes from the UV light, but because every single sun-starved city resident bares their ivory legs and makes a beeline for the nearest sidewalk or patio table, creating a collective glare the likes of which is potentially blinding. Here are the finest spots in town for soaking up the sun while dining and drinking--just be mindful of your retinas.
If there was ever a reason to pull your best tie out of mothballs, this stately charmer is it. A beautiful wine list, gracious dining room, and solid seasonal menu make for a memorable night out. Go early to take advantage of $5 happy hour cocktails—weeknights 4:30-6:30pm.
Old school NW Portland brunch spot with plenty of history and a charming bar. Try the mighty breakfast burger or huevos rancheros. GF pancakes and French toast! Lines can be long on weekends, so go early.
Talk about accommodating--this popular Alberta Street hangout's open every single day from 9am to 2am, has two patios, two daily happy hours, free wifi, abundant vegan and GF options, AND Clam Chowder Friday. Whoa.
Set in a gorgeous old Victorian right at the beginning of the main Belmont commercial area, this dessert + coffee house rocks an elegant-meets-haunted house aesthetic and has a delightful hidden patio that's perfect for summer date nights.
If you aren't already, definitely get acquainted with this hidden SE industrial gem's beautiful patio and happy hour s--from 4-7pm daily, you can get $5 cocktails du jour, $4 nachos, and $8 poutine.
The consummate neighborhood restaurant, this upscale Hawthorne Blvd cafe makes a mean roast chicken, excellent thin crust pizza, and possibly the city's most famous burger. Great happy hour, daily from 5-6pm and 9pm to close.
White leather booths, wine galore, twinkling views as far as the rain clouds will allow—get the girls together, don your favorite abbreviated hemline and those wicked heels that will have you hobbling home, and go all out. Please, please, PLEASE don’t pass on dessert—the ‘peanut butter & jelly’ is a life changer.
This longtime staple of the lower Burnside dining scene has launched a thousand first dates, with their old-fashioned décor, homey food, and well-crafted cocktails. Come fair weather, the side patio’s a grand place to hide out when escaping the office early.
My favorite member of the Lompoc empire, this cheerful yellow bungalow set back from busy Division has a marvelous patio, on which to enjoy the hummus platter and on Sundays, $3 Bloody Marys ALL DAY LONG.
One of the city's best spots for a live show--the log-lined downstairs lounge is intimate and in my experience, you can almost always get a drink in three minutes or less. Upstairs, the sexy low lit bar is filled with attractive minglers, and there's even a fire pit, just past the smoking patio. Great late night nosh stop, they serve food until last call.
Just try to walk through the plumes of grill smoke wafting from this convivial N. Mississippi brewery's busy patio without being lured into a brat 'n beer break.
Sure, I put in my time at this quintessential sports bar of sports bars when I lived in the Pearl and was 20-something and still owned tube tops and could drink my weight in inexpensive domestic lager and function relatively unimpaired at work the next day. Lots of big tvs, spunky servers, and some formidable plates of nachos, plus an expansive deck that's great for tanning your bare shoulders on sunny afternoons (because you're wearing a tube top, duh).
Oh, the memories…of when I lived a scant few blocks from this NW 21st bar and could stagger home after one too many cocktails and random conversations. Cozy up to a bowl of mussels and a hefty Belgian ale in the winter, sip Moscow Mules and lounge about the back patio in the summer. Then stumble/cab/rickshaw home.
This magnificent renovated city firehouse sits proudly in the center of the Woodlawn ‘hood, and strains at the seams nightly with devoted locals. The wood-fired pizzas fly through the dining room, but if you’re in the mood for meat, get the roast chicken, it’s the best in the city.
Besides being a hub for serious beer lovers (there are over 60 taps), this relaxed Buckman pub hosts loads of great events like Meet the Brewer nights and Firkin Fest. Don't miss The Wedge, their annual fall collaboration with the Oregon Cheese Guild.
Widely revered for its airy high-ceilinged loveliness and vast tea selection, this elegant Sellwood tea house also makes a mean bowl of beef pho. Get the bright green Vietnamese wedding cake for dessert.
An elegant dining option in the Pearl, this swank spot's well known for its unusual Enomatic wine preservation system, which lets you order over 80 wines by the glass, plus it's got some of the best cocktails in town. Great weekday happy hour, where you can take advantage of the burger 'n bubbly meal deal--the fantastic house cheeseburger and a glass of bubbly for $14.
At first sign of spring & summer sunbeams, we head straight up (15 floors) to the top of the posh Nines' Hotel, to claim a lounger on the gorgeous terrace of this swanky space age restaurant. The daily happy hour is the deal to beat, especially factoring in the priceless city views. If the front patio is overcrowded, try the west-facing one, sometimes it's less crazy.
The main draw of this downtown hotel restaurant is the great daily happy hour (4-6pm) and fantastic patio--tucked into the stylish Hotel Modera's living wall-shaded courtyard, it's got several elegant fire pits that allow you to keep your coveted outdoor seating long after the evening chill has set in.
Mismatched thrift store furniture and a relaxed demeanor make this North Portland hipster bar an excellent spot to savor a belly-warming red in the winter, and in the summer, the charmingly tousled garden is the perfect place to take down the excellent house burger. If you need a bottle to go, duck into the adjoining bottle shop—the savvy staff will steer you towards exactly what you seek.
Ever since traveling to Belgium and engaging in more Kriek Crawls than I care to count, I've been in love with fruit beers, so this Buckman pub is one of my favorites in town. Go on "Tap It Tuesday", when new barrels are tapped and tasted at 6pm.
There’s so much to love about this airy, elegant Division Street cantina, where bright splashes of color against white walls set the stage for the kitchen’s beautiful, fiercely seasonal, locally-sourced take on traditional Mexican food. Get the salsas & guac to start, the trout pozole and/or enchiladas, and without hesitation, the Woodblock chocolate cake with passion fruit-chile ganache for dessert.
We generally stop by this tiny, casual taco spot once a weekend or so. Fresh, soft tortillas, interesting fillings, fast service, and more salsas than you can shake a maraca at. Get the 12 tacos for $20, it's a good deal for two eaters of average appetite (six tacos each might sound like a lot, but they're on the small side). For dessert, head around the corner to Pie Spot for a peanut butter chocolate pie hole.
The lines never seem to let up at these wildly popular, wildly colorful taquerias. Icy margaritas and Micheladas, tasty tacos crafted with local and sustainable meats and produce, and heated year-round patios make for a spirits-lifting mini-vacation.
Not just a pretty happy hour and dinner face, this cheerful, casual counterpart to schmancy Genoa serves a delectable brunch as well, and with most dishes in the single digits dollar-wise, you can afford to go on both Saturday and Sunday. If the buckwheat crepes with seasonal compote are on the menu, order them at once.