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The Local's List 01: PDX » Downtown

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Neighborhoods teeming with great bars and restaurants are deceiving—they give the impression that anywhere you go will be grea; unfortunately, that’s not always the case. To prevent finding yourself in a food pickle (see what we did there?), we’ve put together neighborhood-specific lists for some of our favorite towns. Are these the only places worth going? Certainly not. But if you want a sure thing, we’ve got you covered.

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Multnomah Whiskey Library. You may face a three-hour-plus wait-time on weekends, but your patience will be rewarded. Walk up a flight of stairs to an old-school library and lounge, with shelves upon shelves of whiskey and other spirits.


Heart Roasters. Many people associate PDX with Stumptown, but Heart’s a big-hitter you should definitely know. A beloved coffee in the specialty scene, their westside location is a welcome beacon of warmth and light on Portland’s cloudy days.

Happy Hour

Shift Drinks. Why limit happy hour to a day or time window? To cater to the varied work schedules of entrepreneurial Portlanders, Shift offers a special menu all day, everyday, with beer, spirits, wine, food—even sake. Grilled cheese and a pint for $8? We’ll take it!


Tasty n Alder. If you heed our coffee advice, cross the street and you’ll arrive in brunch heaven. Choose from a menu of small and bigger plates, meats, and sides to create a tasty experience for your table.


Blue Star. Sure, Voodoo is great for people-watching when the bars let out, but ask a local and they’ll likely send you to Blue Star. Donuts range from basic to artisanal, and visitors of the downtown location get to watch donuts being made in-house.


Lardo. You may want to skip the sandwich and go straight for Lardo’s dirty fries (pork scraps, marinated peppers, fried herbs, and parmesan), but they have a kick-ass sandwich menu, too, putting an Italian spin on everything from the Cubano to the McMuffin.


Bamboo Sushi. Though not unique to downtown (or to Portland, for that matter), Bamboo is still the place to go for sushi in Portland. We recommend sitting at the bar to get a front-row seat to the sushi-making action.

Date night

SuperBite. Dishes here range from a single bite to plates meant to split among a larger group. SuperBite is meant to be experienced through many dishes (and usually over several hours), making it a great date spot. If the wait is long, head over to the restaurant’s attached bar, Kask, for some warm-up bites and funky cocktails (though we’d advise against Kask’s “Friendzone” offering if the date is going well).


Portland Farmer’s Market. The Portland Saturday Market is sweet, and definitely worth checking out, but the farmer’s market is a lesser-known gem to out-of-town visitors. Located in the quad of Portland State University, the market is open every Saturday of the year, packing tons of local flavor from Portland-area farms, restaurants, bakeries, and more.

Local Flavor

Food Carts. Portland is known for its food carts, and there’s a huge block of them at SW 10th & Alder. Not sure where to start? Try the chicken and rice and Nong’s Khao Man Gai.

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