Come spring and summer, Portland’s central city is abuzz with rowdy excitement, reserved exclusively for futbol season. Major league soccer made its way to the city in 2009, and Portlanders can’t get enough. This is especially true following the Portland Thorns’ 2013 National Women’s Soccer League championship and the Timbers’ 2015 Major League Soccer cup win. Inside Providence Park, ticket-holding fans can stay hydrated with a number of craft brews. Need more than 90 minutes of entertainment? Pregame the match at these great bars near Providence Park. Even if you can’t score tickets to a game, you can catch the match and the excitement of watching with a crowd.
Civic Taproom & Bottle Shop
Great for those looking for a convenient fix, the brightly lit Civic Taproom & Bottle Shop awaits just steps from the stadium. Civic’s 22 continually rotating taps dole out a dozen beers, six ciders and four wines. Visitors can perch on tall black stools while nursing sour beers and cherry ciders. Don’t forget to check out the glowing coolers, which store stellar bottles from around the world. Televisions are guaranteed to be tuned to the game, and fries can be delivered from Boise Fry Company next door.
Kells Brew Pub
Savor a slice of Celtic spirit at Kells Brew Pub, only a 10-minute walk from Providence Park. The Irish-style pub offers high ceilings, a cozy fireplace and a stained glass window featuring an image of St. Patrick. Sip from a deliciously diverse selection of house-brewed beers, ranging from session ales to chocolate-y stouts. (Pro tip: When in doubt, know you can never go wrong with a pint of Guinness.)
The Waiting Room
If you’re game for a 20-minute walk, trek to Waiting Room, where Northwest ingredients drive comforting Southern cuisine. Inventive cocktails like the “Excitable Boy” (made with sparkling bourbon) offer an invigorating pregame pick-me-up. Cocktails are especially tasty when served alongside some of the venue’s famous fried chicken. Upstairs is the recently opened Lafitte’s (named after an infamous French pirate). This new space treats visitors to a taste of New Orleans with an absinthe-forward bar menu.
A curated wine program resides a mere 10-minute walk from the stadium at the candlelit M Bar. Intimate and inviting, the spot operates as a coffee shop by day, and transforms into a relaxed wine bar at night. The venue is perfect for small groups looking to share a quiet moment before rooting on the Timbers. A chalkboard menu highlights rotating and affordable reds, rosés, whites and bubbly wines, along with beers and other beverages.
Lightning Will Bar & Grill
Looking for something more thematically aligned with the evening? Make your way to sporty gastropub Lightning Will Bar & Grill. Choose from an extensive tap list, ranging from Pabst to Old Town Brewing’s award-winning kölsch. In between sips, try your hand at skee-ball, foosball or pool. The happy hour mini nachos and Lightning Dills (beer-battered and panko-crusted fried pickles) are menu standouts. (Their affordability also means there’s more dough for stadium snacks!)
Pope House Bourbon Lounge
If you’re partial to a classic Old Fashioned, look no further than Pope House Bourbon Lounge. Situated in a beautiful Victorian home only blocks away from Providence Park, this Kentucky-themed lounge is a bourbon lover’s paradise. Visitors can soak up summer sun on the patio while enjoying thoughtfully crafted cocktails and Creole-inspired dishes. (Don’t miss out on their dirty rice arancini and beet-pickled deviled eggs.)