A little Pub Crawl Guide through Portland...

This little "guide" is inspired by my recent visit to PDX and our food and pub adventures there. However, I should mention that we did not go to all these bars in one night. Well, we did a pretty thorough job going down memory lane during my last night there though, at least hitting one bar in each area (Portland Cider House, Shanghai Tunnels, Voodo Doghnuts, North 45 Pub, Muu-Muu's) :)

Also, this is of course not an all comprehensive list. Portland has so many cute little pubs/bars and many neighborhoods that I have not really explored. I just love the Northwest and its craft beers and micro-brewery character.

This is a small selection of pubs that I believe are definitely noteworthy :)

Start in Hawthorne 

Portland Cider House

We start in Howthorne as it is a cute little area with lots of nice food places and bars. The Cider House is the first to mention as it really left an impression. Portland Cider Co. was etablished in 2012 by an English wife and her Oregonian husband. They tried to combine the English cider tradition with Northwest's micro-brewering character. This resulted in two taprooms, one in Clackamas and one in Hawthorne, the Portland Cider House. They have about 28 ciders on tap and offer flights as well as growlers. Well, as I have troubles chosing, I immediately fell in love with the flights! I also do love cider. This was the perfect place for me to start our night out :)

Bazi Bierbrasserie

This is actually also a bar that I went to for the first time. It's a taproom with a nice open patio for outdoor seating. They have a nice selection of Belgian-style beer but as you can see, you can of course also find some fancier drinks. And they have really nice bartenders ;)

Ranger Station

This place is actually a great bar to end the night. What we actually did on several occasions when we stayed in the Hawthorne area :) What I really like about this place, is that they are a cozy little bar with frequent live music. They have a little stage up front and very diverse musicians. Once, they played some Irish folk songs which was nice. While I actually never have tried the food, it is supposed to be good as well. They have a rotating menu, use local ingredients and prepare their condiments in house, smoke the meat in the back, pickle their own vegetables, etc. The owners tried to incorporate their love for the outdoor, food, music, and the Northwest Pacific and I believe it shows :)

Food stop: Cubo (El Cubo de Cuba)

I would recommend not to forget to eat while you are hitting the pubs. While you can get food in most of these places, I wanted to mention "Cubo" as another option in Hawthorne. This was another first for me :) Cubo started as a food cart in 2010 by a Havana born musician and an American artist. They serve really flavorful authentic Cuban food. The bowls are highly recommendable and include yellow rice, black beans, fresh avocado, mango and delicious tostones (fried salty green plantains) and maduros (fried sweet plantains).  

Go Downtown 

Shanghai Tunnels 

The Shanghai Tunnels are Old Portland's Underground. It's a group of passages underneath Old Town/ Chinatown and used to connect the basements of many hotels at the waterfront in order to move ship goods underground. They were also used in the 1800s by Chinese gangs and were connected to gambling dens, brothels, opium parlors. Since the mid 19th century, stories of "shanghaiing" in Portland have been told - the capture and illegal sale of able-bodied men to sea captains in need of crew members... Victims were drugged, kignapped, and dragged into the tunnels and held captive till they were shipped... 

The "Shanghai Tunnel Bar" is a famous underground bar since 1994 in that area with the feeling of being underground, in a tunnel with pipe lines above, etc. The actual Shanghai Tunnels are nearby and tours are available. A very interesting atmosphere :) The bar has a nice beer and cider selection, good pub food, and you can play pinball... A famous stop when you are downtown.

Voodoo Doughnuts

This is a little doghnut shop in Old Town Portland, but it is so much more... It's the go to place for a sweet midnight snack after hitting a few bars. The line is usually pretty long but trust me, it goes fast and it's worth it... That place is known for the special unusual doughnuts and the eclectic decor of pink boxes, chandeliers, illustrations of voodoo priests, etc. Some of the famous doughnuts are the Voodoo Doll (a rectangual doughnut with arms, filled with raspberry jelly, covered with a chocolate frosting and a preztle stake...), the Bacon Maple Bar (maple frosting with bacon on top), and the Old Dirty Bastard (a round doughnut without hole, with chocolate frosting, oreo cookies, and peanut butter drizzle).

Continue in the 23rd NW District

North 45 Pub

I would say that this bar is a little fancier in its style. The proprietors, two "travel mates", actually call it an "upscale travel pub". They did not want to be labeled as a standard Irish or English pub. Interestingly, they got inspried to the name as the bar is located on the 45 parellel which is a nice fun fact :) They also have a cute little patio in the back and they have a huge selection of about 150 different whiskey bottles that can be seen behind the bar. However, they also have a nice selection of local craft beer and other drinks as well. Another noteworthy fact is their fancy menu. They are famous for their mussels and fries. I do love their mac & cheese though. They put crispy slices of spring onions on top which gives it a nice crunch :)


Muu-Muu's is a great neighborhood bar with a nice atmosphere, great food options, and it is open late. I really like their seating options, they have these nice little booths for more privacy. And their motto is "comfort food from around the world". So, you really don't get your standard pub fare. You can order small tapas or a good variety of bigger plates including sandwiches, salads, but also main dishes such as a green coconut curry, Shanghai shredded pork, Cajun chicken penne, enchiladas, etc. This is also a good place to end a long night :)

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