Shorter days got you down? Give these lively, wallet-friendly happy hours a try.
Portland pioneered the now-ubiquitous ritual of food-forward happy hours. Sure, the drink discounts are nice, but you can often save even bigger bundles on steeply discounted food. Nearly every bar and eatery in the Pearl offers weekday-afternoon happy hours and a few spots present late-night and weekend sessions. We’ve highlighted a number of neighborhood stalwarts in the past, and we’re still big fans of the happy hour offerings at Deschutes, Verde Cocina, Brix Tavern, Bluehour, Oven and Shaker, Von Ebert Brewing, the Hairy Lobster, 10 Barrel Brewing, Rogue Ales, and many others.
There are also some new kids on the block well worth checking out, such as Botanist Bar, Pink Rabbit, Avid Cider Co, Carlita’s tacos, The Star pizzeria, and Backwoods Brewing. But in this issue, we’re giving the lowdown on six other greats in the neighborhood. So loosen your belts and raise your glass—here we go!
Noted local restaurateur David Machado has developed some of the city’s most beloved happy hours, and the daily late-afternoon menu at Tanner Creek Tavern is already a classic, despite the restaurant having been open for only a couple of years. You can maximize your value by choosing some of the heartier items (all under $10), such as steamed Argentinian mussels with tomato broth, chorizo, olives, and chimichurri sauce, or either of the pizzas with seasonal toppings (like capicola, pickled peppers, and smoked mozzarella). Among the sips specials, there’s always a top-notch rosé or sparkling wine for $7 and an $8 cocktail of the day.
With its comfy seating, tall windows, and stylish design, Vaux at the Canopy by Hilton draws both overnight guests and neighborhood locals for its daily afternoon socials. You’ll always find a few well-crafted, affordable cocktails, such as the Kentucky Pit with bourbon, honey, and Avid apricot cider. The braised-pork Cuban nachos and cheese bread with house-made ranch sauce stand out among the several bar snacks.
The beautiful and spacious bar at Andina is a wonderful spot to tuck into bowls of tangy ceviche with green mango, poached prawns, and a passion fruit leche de tigre, as well as hearty yucca croquets, and anticucho de pollo (marinated chicken-heart kebabs). Quench your thirst with a pisco sour, Sacsayhuamán cocktail (with habanero vodka), or one of the excellent $6 wines by the glass.
River Pig Saloon’s popular happy hour
An amiable, ultra-casual watering hole that’s ideal for knocking back drinks with friends, River Pig Saloon—with its unpretentious bar lighted by mismatched lamps and mounted animal heads—serves up pretty damn tasty, and cheap, happy hour bites. Lime crema and cilantro add zing to the pork tacos, and the pickles fried in buttermilk batter are extra delicious when dipped in ranch sauce. If you’ve got a bit of an appetite, try the lager-infused bratwurst with relish, caramelized onions, and a chipotle-mustard sauce. Among the refreshments, a draft beer with a shot of whiskey for $10 is a long-running tradition among this down-home tavern’s regulars.
A terrific option for outstanding Greek food, Eleni’s Philoxenia offers a somewhat overlooked—and consistently good—happy hour menu. You can’t go wrong with the quartet of dips (including skordalia and tzatziki) with pita and veggies, a bowl of beef meatballs, or the simple but flavorful grilled calamari with lemon, olive oil, and rose garlic. House wines are well-priced, and you can savor a traditional shot of Greek ouzo for $7—the perfect aperitif to kick off a very happy evening.
– Andrew Collins | Photos by John Valls; Alyson Levy; Jennifer Gillette; Courtesy Henry’s Tavern