Portland is known as the beer-iest city in the world — it’s home to more than 70 breweries — but did you know that the Rose City has a long history of bootlegging, boozing and tapping secret codes on locked doors, too? The 21st amendment abolished Prohibition in 1933 (good call, America!) and thus the need for undercover saloons, but you can still get a taste of dry-era cocktails (legally, of course) in Portland’s slickest speakeasy-style bars.
Voysey is a bartender’s bar: stylish and designed with a chic cocktail crowd in mind. This beautiful, speakeasy-inspired space —quietly tucked away on the subterranean level of a large beer hall—features a creative, signature drink and small-bites menu. Located inside a historic building in southeast Portland, Voysey also doubles as a unique pop-up and event venue for the artists in Portland’s spirits and cocktail community.
If you feel like you traveled back in time when you step inside Bible Club, you’re only half-wrong. Just about everything in this Westmoreland speakeasy comes from the turn of the 20th century, from antique bar tools to cut crystal goblets holding cocktails with names like Scofflaw and Widow’s Kiss. Drinks rely on premium liquor, locally sourced ingredients like Bridge City Bitters and house-made flourishes — chanterelle-cinnamon syrup, anyone?
Multnomah Whiskey Library
Whether you’re a whiskey aficionado or novice, you should seek out the unmarked entrance to Multnomah Whiskey Library in downtown Portland. The roomy bar, with its leather chairs and wood-paneled walls, feels like a private lounge. It retains some exclusive ambiance, especially when members skip the perennial line to access reserved seats. The wait is worth it, though. Once inside, request a recommendation from the collection of 1,500+ bottles of whiskey and other spirits, or order a table-side-made Old Fashion. Not up for the wait? Try the Green Room downstairs from the library.
If you prefer sipping a perfectly made, high-proof cocktail in a more casual setting, The Garrison is the spot. This dog-friendly St. Johns neighborhood bar can deliver a variety of vibes, everything from a cozy, dimly-lit room to outdoor seating around a lively fire pit. In warmer weather, their breezy, sunshine-filled patio is perfect for people-watching or sharing a plate of Pastificio d’Oro’s delicious, handmade pasta with friends.
Swine Moonshine and Whiskey Bar
With decor that includes reclaimed wood and a decommissioned moonshine still, Swine Moonshine and Whiskey Bar also pays homage to the days of prohibition with its whiskey-heavy cocktail menu. Located inside The Paramount Hotel, this downtown bar also offers a full menu of American comfort foods.
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