Pearl On Tap

Bringing You the Latest Finds in Local Beer, Cider, and Wine

Stopping by your neighborhood grocery store to refill a growler of your favorite IPA—or to pick up the latest artisan-crafted cider—doesn’t sound strange, especially in beverage-obsessed Portland. But you might be surprised to learn that inside the Safeway at Northwest Lovejoy Street and 13th Avenue, there’s a welcoming, lively bar in which you can actually sample exceptional local brews, ciders, and even wines by the glass on tap—while you munch on pizza…and chat with your neighbors…and watch a Timbers or Mariners game on TV. Blue Pearl Taproom (Safeway, 1303 NW Lovejoy St., 503-205-6746) opened last year and has rapidly become an insider fave for tasty bar snacks, drinks from a well-curated and often-changing rotation of 20 taps, and one of the longest happy hours in the Pearl District.

With high ceilings, warm lighting, tall windows overlooking the street, and several large TV monitors, Blue Pearl feels surprisingly inviting for a taproom set inside a large grocery store. Folks really do hang out here, perusing the extensive rotation of pale ales, porters, pilsners, and the like, from both well-established and emerging brew operations, most of them with Oregon roots—think Base Camp, Ninkasi, Breakside, and more. You can enjoy a pint or two in the bar and fill your growler. This convivial hangout also offers occasional “Tap Takeovers,” during which brewmasters from noted craft breweries—perhaps Pacific City’s Pelican Brewing or the Pearl’s own 10 Barrel—stop by for a few hours to pour and discuss some notable brews. Check the Blue Pearl Taproom Facebook page for the latest events.

Happy hours at Blue Pearl take place all afternoon (noon–5) Saturday (when ciders are discounted) and Sunday (when bloody Mary’s are the featured special), and from 3 until 7 on weekdays, when you’ll also discover a number of great specials. On Mondays, stop by for a great deal on the bartender’s choice of pint. Wednesdays you can devour a pint and a pound of wings at a deep discount. “Thirsty Thursdays” and Friday happy hours are devoted to terrific deals on growler fills.

Speaking of those wings, this easygoing operation serves a variety of tasty bar victuals. Regulars rave about the Hawaiian pizza for two, but you can also tuck into fried chicken chicken, mac-and-cheese, classic Philly cheesesteak or turkey-bacon-avocado sandwiches, and more. Our advice: keep your grocery list in front of you at all times—after an hour or two of sipping and conversing, it’s easy to forget the dozen eggs or gallon of milk you stopped by to pick up in the first place!