Portland offers a dive bar for everyone, whether you want to watch sports, indulge in favorite fried foods or just hang out.
There’s certainly no shortage of happening breweries, hip hangouts and trendy watering holes in Portland, but sometimes, nothing beats the distinct atmosphere that only a neighborhood dive bar can provide. A dimly lit room, a jukebox crammed with the classics and a lovingly-used pool table are some of the tell-tale signs that you’ve come to the right place. But if you’re looking for the best dive bars in Portland, here are the places you need to check out.
A Roadside Attraction
- Location: 1000 SE 12th Ave., Portland, OR 97214
If you’re looking for a low-key bar in Buckman with tons of quirky character, A Roadside Attraction is the place for you. This charming hole in the wall is full of intimate nooks and crannies, both inside and on the large patio, where you can gather around a table with a stiff drink and take it all in. With décor that has no rhyme or reason but somehow comes together to create an atmosphere all its own, it’s the ambiance that keeps Buckman neighborhood regulars coming back. Drinks are priced very fairly, but it’s cash only, so don’t forget to stop by an ATM on the way.
- Location: 4024 N. Interstate Ave., Portland, OR 97227
What makes a great dive bar even better? A fun theme! The Alibi is a tiki lounge that’s been serving up tropical drinks and Hawaiian fare in the Overlook neighborhood since 1947. Walking through the door, you’re immediately transported to a throwback luau-themed party complete with décor from floor to ceiling, stiff, fruity drinks and karaoke after dark where you can bust out your best Elvis impersonation.
Bar of the Gods
- Location: 4801 SE Hawthorne Blvd., Portland, OR 97215
Located in the Sunnyside neighborhood, Bar of the Gods is a friendly neighborhood establishment that has long been a local favorite. A daily happy hour, cozy ambiance, pinball machines and pool tables make it a perfect place to hide out with a book on a rainy afternoon. But its location in an area of town known as the “barmuda triangle” makes it equally as appealing as a stop along the way on a long night of bar hopping.
Horse Brass Pub
- Location: 4534 SE Belmont St., Portland, OR 97215
If you’re looking for a proper pint, the Sunnyside neighborhood’s Horse Brass Pub is just the ticket. This authentic English-style pub has been beloved since 1976 for its long list of local, regional and international beer varieties, all the delicious pub grub that you’d find across the pond and a character that can only be built over decades of good times.
- Location: 426 SW Washington St., Portland, OR 97204
Kelly’s Olympian has been pouring beers since it first opened downtown in 1902, making it one of the oldest establishments in Portland. When you walk through the door, your eyes are immediately caught by motorcycles hanging from the ceiling and tons of bright glowing neon. If you show up on a weekend evening, there’s a good chance live music or stand-up comedy will be blaring from the back.
One of the coolest things about Kelly’s is the crowd. Locals love it, but its central location also draws the kind of out-of-towners who are interested in what life is actually like here in Portland. You’re likely to encounter an interesting mix of people when you belly up to the bar.
My Father’s Place
- Location: 523 SE Grand Ave., Portland, OR 97214
My Father’s Place is an old school, no-frills establishment serving up comfort food and drinks in a quaint atmosphere in the Buckman neighborhood. Grab a seat at the counter that looks straight out of a Scorsese set or slide into a comfortable leather booth and stay for a while. My Father’s Place opens daily at 7 a.m. with a full breakfast menu, making it an ideal choice for some hair of the dog the morning after a long night out.
Reel M Inn
- Location: 2430 SE Division St., Portland, OR 97202
Who says a dive bar can’t be known for its food? The Richmond neighborhood’s Reel M Inn is serving up finger-lickin’ fried chicken and jojo’s (fried and breaded potatoes) that will keep you coming back for more. It’s easy to overlook the unassuming exterior, especially in such a hip part of town, but don’t judge a book by its cover. Decked out in wood paneling and fishing gear, this neighborhood bar will make you feel right at home.
- Location: 7819 SW Capitol Highway, Portland, OR 97219
Located in the historic Multnomah Village neighborhood, Renner’s is a self-proclaimed five-star dive bar. This neighborhood institution was established in 1939 and you can feel the history as soon as you step past the glowing marquee and into the dark den. Cheap drinks and delicious eats are what make this place a real gem, though. The happy hour menu is everything that drunken munchie dreams are made of. And the monstrous burgers are sure to satisfy all of your carnivorous cravings.
- Location: 2622 SE Belmont St., Portland, OR 97214
The Vern is a charmingly cozy drinking destination in the Buckman neighborhood. Legend has it that its large sign out front that once read TAVERN was hit by a truck, damaging the letters T & A, so the bar was renamed simply, The Vern. Large red velvet booths, pinball machines, a huge patio and a small but mighty food menu make this a favorite in the neighborhood. Do yourself a favor and indulge in a boozy slushy in the summertime.
- Location: 717 NW 16th Ave., Portland, OR 97209
There aren’t many true dives left in the Nob Hill, but Yur’s has endured since 1970. This spacious but very dim old-school bar has plenty of TVs to catch the Blazers or the Timbers game, pool tables to play a game of your own and even a free, self-serve popcorn machine for character. The place has no windows, so it’s easy to lose track of time, but you won’t regret spending a few hours hidden away from the hustle and bustle of city life just outside.
The dive is alive in Portland
When you’re looking for a hangout that’s a little more lowkey, the best dive bars in Portland are here to welcome you with open arms. You’ll feel right at home in their comfortable leather booths or making conversation with interesting patrons haunting the counter with a basket of greasy fried foods, a glass of cheap beer and a classic tune playing on the radio.