Friday, April 13, 2012

Portland Pub Crawl: NW 17th and 16th

This is the second in our series of Portland pub crawls (the first one was a mile-long classic SE Portland pub crawl).  This isn't a total beer geek-out -- the only place on the main list that really has a beer focus is Caps and Corks -- it's a sociable and short stroll through a few interesting places that you might not have heard of before.  The pub crawl centers on a growing bar scene that sits in the shadow of the I-405 flyovers heading up to the Fremont Bridge.  It's easy to get there via the Portland Streetcar or the #77 bus, and if you stay too late to catch the train or bus home, the Radio Cab garage is right there.  If you're biking there, the best east-west through streets are Overton and Johnson.

Click on the pins of the map for more details like opening hours:

View Portland Pub Crawl: NW 17th and 16th in a larger map

The green pins represent the main route on the pub crawl starting at NW 17th and Marshall; the yellow pins are optional but interesting places nearby.

Main route:
  • Bent Brick: A somewhat upscale "tavern" spin-off of Park Kitchen. Five carefully-chosen beer taps.
  • Moonshine Kitchen and Lounge (aka Paymaster): Homey bar with a few nice beers, a cider tap, and a burger-and-fries menu.
  • Caps and Corks: Fun little bottleshop with 400 bottled beer choices, 7 taps (soon to be more), and imperial pints.
  • Slabtown: Ostentatiously seedy dive that focuses on live music at night. A few drinkable beer taps along the lines of Lagunitas, Deschutes, and Ninkasi.
Optional add-ons:
  • Yur's: Comfortable and friendly dive bar with excellent greasy-spoon menu and a few good beers on tap, a couple blocks down from Slabtown on 16th.
  • Bridgeport Brewpub: If your pub crawl must visit a brewery, you can start off at Bridgeport, a couple blocks east of the Bent Brick on Marshall.
  • Lucky Lab: A bit further afield, a classic Portland brewpub at NW 20th and Quimby.
  • Le Happy: A late-night French cafe and creperie in the same block as Slabtown.  No beer to speak of, but a cozy atmosphere and full bar.
    The impetus for writing up this overlooked corner of town is that I'm about to move out of my office at 18th and Lovejoy, so I wanted to document the neighborhood's drinking opportunities while they are still part of my regular beat.  You get both ends of the spectrum by starting at the fancy-pants Bent Brick and ending up at gritty Slabtown, but each place has its own charm.  For instance, not only does Slabtown have several pinball machines and a Ms. PacMan, but it also has air hockey, pop-a-shot, skeeball, and some weird coin-operated punching bag.  Just don't eat there unless the recent management change has improved the kitchen.

    I also highly recommend a visit to Yur's, which is my favorite dive bar in Portland.  It always feels like nighttime in there, which makes it a nice break in the middle of the day.  And even though it's got plenty of atmosphere, you won't get that "Yeh ain't from around here, ere yeh?" attitude that some dives drape themselves in (Slabtown is a little bit like that, though it's far from the worst offender in town).  Yur's is by no means a beer-geek paradise, but they always have something workable, and they usually have one or two choices that are a little off the beaten path like Coalition or Migration.

    1 comment:

    1. Have to agree that Yur's is a good dive bar. Decent taps for the kind of place it is, pretty decent food and a back room with comfy couches for watching football.


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