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Bar/Lounge/Drinks and Appetizers in the Pearl District

Hi, my husband and I are taking the train to Portland from Seattle at the end of the month for three nights and will have two days/two evenings free to explore the downtown and Pearl District. We are staying at the Benson and plan on walking but can be coerced into a cab if necessary. Instead of filling up on big meals at only one or two restaurants, we would rather pop into places that had a fun or interesting bar/lounge and have a beer/cocktail and maybe an appetizer. You know, kind of nosh our way through the day! Any suggestions on places that would be good for this type of dining? My husband loves a good microbrew and I adore a icy cold martini and we are pretty open and adventurous to anything, both food and drink. I have read through a bunch of the Portland posts, but at this point I am kind of confused as there seems to be a lot of great places to eat and we just want to sample as many as possible and find appetizers are a good way to get a feel for a restaurant. Thanks in advance for your help!

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  1. In the Pearl, two great places for drinks with a great small plates or happy hour menu are ten-01 and Andina. Another good happy hour spot is saucebox, but the bar food/small plates/HH menus are better at ten-01 and Andina.

    2 Replies
    1. re: JillO

      Thanks! I will write these down! Yum, I can't wait!

      1. re: JillO

        I would add Clyde Common--they have a pretty limited HH menu, but what they have is super cheap and good.

      2. We actually had some really good appetizers at the Rogue Ale House and Distillery last week. We had a large group there and got a good sampling of their appetizers including a really nice hummus, classic buffalo wings and some nice spicy waffle fries that really hit the spot. Brew pub food, nothing new and different, but very good. Most of the group were drinking beer (probably every one on the menu!) but I went with G & T's made with their house "spruce gin" which has a very "clean" taste. I'd imagine it'd make a great martini. For supper, their Kobe chili is great but you'll likely need some more beer to cool off your palate, as it has a good pepper kick. Prices were very reasonable, and seating didn't seem to be an issue, even with our large group almost taking it over. A brew pub isn't all that "adventurous" but on a cold, wet evening, it sure hit the spot.

        5 Replies
        1. re: desertsun

          I realize brewpubs aren't that adventurous, but we are open to other type of restaurants that may have a lounge where some of the apps are a little different. All of the above suggestions are great and I will be able to have a list so if we see one we can pop in. I think our one night our friends are taking us out we are going to Clyde Commom for dinner. She raves about it. We do like spicy so the Kobe chili sounds good as does the spruce gin at the Rogue. It is so nice to be able to get ideas from people who have been there.
          One ? I just thought of, where would anyone recommend for oysters on the half shell? Thanks again!

          1. re: jodymaryk

            Oysters can be had for $1 each at ten-01 happy hour (and they are great!!!).

            Portland's historic Dan and Louis (which is downtown) has a happy hour in their Shucking Room where oysters are $9.95/dozen: http://www.danandlouis.com/index/Happ...

            I have had great oysters at both Carlyle and Sel Gris. And Alberta St. Oyster Bar and Grill has great ones too. None of these three are in the Pearl or downtown, though.

            1. re: jodymaryk

              Hi Jody,
              Carlyle offers oysters for $1.00 during thier happy hour. Thier bar menu is available all night (lovely stuff), and few places in town make a better martini.
              www.carlylerestaurant.com

              1. re: Kim D

                JillO and Kim D, Thanks to you both. My hubby can put away some serious oyster so we will definitely check out your suggestions!

              2. re: jodymaryk

                I second the Rogue recommendation. What's also nice is that they happen to make some of the best beers in the Northwest. At the Public House (that's the actual name so you don't get confused), they sell all of their limited edition beers in big ceramic bottles. Make sure to pick up a few of those if you go.

            2. The two places I recommend for cocktails are Teardrop Lounge on NW Everett between 10th and 11th, and Ten-01 on the corner of Couch and 10th. Ten-Oh-One is a full restaurant while Teardrop's primary focus are the cocktails, though they also have a short list of appetizers. Both serve microbrews as part of their menu, too.

              3 Replies
              1. re: SauceSupreme

                Second the Teardrop! Outstanding creative cocktails and happy hour specials.
                And there's an attractive interesting food menu.

                Also a food-focused happy hour at Kenny & Zuke's Deli, 4-6 and 10-midnite.
                http://www.kennyandzukes.com/

                1. re: Leonardo

                  We are definitely going to check out the Ten-01 and now that I looked at the pics on the Kenny and Zukes website, I must have something from there. I had better get busy taking of a few pounds before this trip or I am going to be in BIG trouble! We are going to need more days in town to try all of the wonderful places everyone is suggesting. Guess we will just have to make another trip to Portland! BTW, I just discovered this website the other day and am absolutely addicted! What a wonderful bunch of friendly, as interested in food as I am, people! I love it!

                  1. re: jodymaryk

                    Also: don't be afraid to take the bus to eastside places on, for example, 28th, Division, or Hawthorne. Quick easy trips, especially for you at the Benson to take #20 to 28th & E. Burnside. On 28th you have Noble Rot, Navarre, Tabla, Staccato Gelato, and Ken's Artisan Pizza.

                    Another nosh place (since I can't afford to eat a full dinner there!) would be Hiroshi. Sit at the sushi bar in front of Hiro San, tell him your budget and let him loose.

                    PS: HH at Kenny & Zuke's is Tues-Sat only.

                    Enjoy, and please report back!

              2. I always suggest Henrys for happy hour. It's a little crowded, and the crowd is annoying, but the food and drinks are totally worth it.

                3 Replies
                1. re: yumyum21

                  I have to admit, although I love all types of food, I consider pizza "my favorite food group" so may have to check out Ken's. Thanks for the tip on Kenny & Zukes hours. We may hit there Friday night after we get checked to the hotel so we don't miss it. Will look for Henry's also. We actually are people watchers so crowds can be very entertaining! Thanks again for more tips!

                  1. re: jodymaryk

                    Henry's is a chain, and I can't imagine why you'd want to go there to capture any local flavor. It's mostly bridge/tunnel crowd and tourists.

                  2. re: yumyum21

                    We hit Henry's for happy hour last time we were in Portland - it was crowded, but really fun. What a fantastic beer list!

                    We'll be coming down on the train again in a couple weeks - I'm hoping to try Ten-01 this time for HH.

                  3. I frequent Portland 4-5 times a year on business and always enjoy dining and socializing at Blue Hour. Though you won't find microbrew for your husband, they do have a very good beer (bottle and draft) selection along with wine by the glass...they have a bar menu with excellent choices (great ceasar salad, excellent spaghetti, flatiron steak, hamburger, etc)....very hip, cool ambience and a professional 30+ YO crowd. I stayed at the Benson on my last visit and it should be no longer than a 10-15 minute walk at most.

                    2 Replies
                    1. re: El Chevere

                      So many restaurants/bars, so little time! I definitely have to take off a few pounds before we go! Although my hubby enjoys a good micro, he will drink anything, wines, cocktails, it just kind of depends on where we are, what we are eating, as it is with me also. Unfortunately we are not the hip 30 crowd, more of the 45 crowd, but our friends are! I am thinking with all of the great tips people have given me, I will just keep a list with me and when we see a place on it, we will pop in. Sounds, like fun, huh? Thanks again!

                      1. re: jodymaryk

                        I think Bluehour still fits the bill. Perhaps using age isn't the right word. There's certainly a level of sophistication, we'll say, that other casual Portland spots seem to eschew. Not that there's anything wrong with it, but just letting you know that you'll fit in better than you think, especially if you like to dress up a little.