6031 SE Stark St., 503-432-8121, instagram.com/bellwetherbarco. 4 pm-11pm every day.
The climb from Southeast Stark to 60th Avenue is steep. But that only makes the little pub at the top of the hill tastier for the effort. From the misty and romantic back patio to the roaring front room, Bellwether feels like a pub that has fallen into the fully formed world. The cocktails are equally named, numbered 1 to 8. The 1 is perfect for summer: rye whiskey, sweet vermouth, cranberry grenadine and salt, served with a lemon twist. Not too sweet, the tangy little number is like a strong, talkative friend whose cheerful energy you can’t help but find. Where Bellwether’s cocktails shy away from smart titles, its wines take over. The selection includes an orange wine for beginners and an orange wine for the brave.
2. Rose & Thistle Public House
2314 NE Broadway, 503-287-8582, roseandthistlepdx.com. 3 pm-1am every day.
While the volume level is often set to ‘rowdy’, this punk Scottish tavern is a classic neighborhood pub at heart, with enough nooks and crannies to hide. This is especially true on the expansive, multi-level patio out back, and even more so now, as the bar’s COVID protection has extended tables and even created semi-private booths along the perimeter.
3. North 45
517 NW 21st Ave., 503-248-6317, nord45pub.com. 4 p.m.-midnight Monday-Thursday, 4 p.m.-1 a.m. Friday, noon-1 a.m. Saturday, 2 p.m.-midnight Sunday.
You never know exactly what you’ll find on the North 45’s back patio. But like a mule, the party in the back is balanced by a dose of sophistication. The culinary menu is inspired by world travels: here a Scottish egg takes on a Japanese twist as the steamed mussels collide with the coconut curry in another dish. You can also expect an impressive drink list that goes around the world, from famous Belgian Trappist beers to a spirits booklet of almost two dozen pages.
4. Bantam Tavern
922 NW 21st Ave., 503-274-9032, bantamtavern.com. 3 p.m.-midnight Monday-Friday, noon-midnight Saturday, noon-11 p.m. Sunday.
A quaint corner bar can easily be overlooked in upscale Northwest Portland, which is why this is one of the best places to grab a beer by the likes of De Garde or Upright from there. one of eight well-organized taps and fancied pub food before joining the well-dressed crowds elsewhere. Of course, with extended seating at the adjacent parking lot, it’s now much easier to find, so plan accordingly.
5. Alberta Street Pub
1036 NE Alberta St., 503-284-7665, albertastreetpub.com. 4 p.m.-midnight Monday-Thursday, noon-midnight Friday, 11 a.m.-midnight Saturday-Sunday.
Even before COVID, the covered back patio was the best part of this beer-centric bar. It looks like the inside of a barn and feels like hanging out in someone’s backyard. And now Alberta Street Pub has something else to do – it’s one of the few places in town that regularly hosts live music, mostly of the Americana variety, on a small stage in the back outside corner.