Happy Hour Weekly Planner – SE Portland Edition
Here is the second installment in my Happy Hour Weekly Planner series. The first edition covered N/NE Portland and lined out the fairly rigorous criteria I laid out for establishments to meet. The basic requirement was $3 or less for 'good' beer and $2 or less for 'bad' beer. I tried to spread the love all around SE where beer drinking options abound, but my final list does tend to the areas I frequent more often. Let me know if I dropped the ball and missed a good one. Cheers!
MONDAY – The Firkin Tavern & Roadside Attraction
The Firkin Tavern is a spot I have passed by often without ever thinking of it as anything other than a standard dive bar until I noticed it was hosting a marquee event in Gigantic Brewing's Beer Week (Gigantic Turns it Up to 11 on Saturday 5/11 - Gigantic tap takeover with Sons of Huns onstage). Turns out the place has 14 amazingly well selected, rotating taps and live music on Fridays and Saturdays. Although their website is still under development, they are active on Facebook at least in terms of their events. Happy hour runs from 3 to 7 PM daily with $3 drafts, so next time you are rolling south on 11th after work make the stop and enjoy! The Firkin Tavern – 1937 SE 11th Avenue
BAD BEER OPTION: To be honest, I have never been to Roadside Attraction (1000 SE 12th Street) during their supposed happy hour from 3 to 6:30 PM which may or may not actually occur (one disgruntled Yelp reviewer said they don't have one) because the real draw here is the awesome bonfire they have in their courtyard. They do not have a website but various outlets do advertise $1.50 domestics or PBR depending on who you believe. That information is good enough for a lazy blogger like me as the real draw is the place itself. The outside is one of a kind and the inside feels like an opium den. A must visit but remember it is cash only.
TUESDAY – EastBurn & B-Side Tavern
I am probably not breaking any news here that EastBurn has Craft Beer Appreciation Night every Tuesday where all 19 of their taps can be had for the low, low price of $2.50, unless you have been around long enough to remember that it used to be only $2. Nonetheless, it is a great deal at a great place. They keep their draft list updated on Taplister.com so you always know what to expect. Although the draft special runs from 4 PM until midnight, if you want happy hour food you will need to go during 'recess' from 4 to 6 PM. I would recommend the pulled pork sliders. If you miss recess, then you need to get the Ubersondvich with trinity fries. EastBurn – 1800 E Burnside Street
BAD BEER OPTION: The B-Side Tavern's (632 E Burnside Street) 'crappy' hour runs from 4 to 7 PM daily with $1 tall boy cans from various purveyors. You no longer have to worry about smoking inside, but beware of the patio as it is mostly enclosed.
The Hobnob Grille was a late substitution on this list (see Bad Beer Option A below for details), but by no means should that deter you from checking them out. Although their draft list is definitely nothing special when compared to others on this list, they are only $2 on Wednesday's during 'hobnob' hour from 4 to 7 PM. In addition, their happy hour food sells fries and hot wings by the pound ($3.50 and $6 respectively) and a selection of unique sliders (house ground angus, fried chicken, pulled pork or brisket). Lastly, their regular menu has Chicago-style deep dish pizza. I have yet to try it to see how authentic it is, but I am willing to give it a try and you should too. Hobnob Grille – 3350 SE Morrison Street
BAD BEER OPTION A: Side Street Tavern (828 SE 34th Avenue) was my original pick for the 'good' beer slot in this area based on their website which lists $3 micros during happy hour from 4:30 PM to 6:30 PM (Monday-Friday). With eight taps and selections often coming from the likes of Russian River, Firestone Walker, Double Mountain and Boneyard, I couldn't leave them out. However, when I visited to confirm the special it turns out they now do the $1 off drafts thing, so I had to demote them. Luckily, they do have a full Pabst section on their menu ranging from the Perfect Gentleman (Pabst with an orange slice) for $2.50 to the Sports Jacket (Pabst tall boy with a Side Street coozy) for $5, so they have the 'bad' beer angle covered as well. Plus, they do 9 inch pizzas for $5 during happy hour and also have a Tater Tot section on their menu.
BAD BEER OPTION B: Aalto Lounge's (3356 SE Belmont Street) happy hour runs from open to 7 PM where you can get an IPA for $2 (Boneyard RPM IPA last time I was there).
I have never bought into horoscopes, so the zodiac theme at the Gemini Lounge was an initial turn-off. However, I wanted to include somewhere outside of my comfort zone so I started exploring FoPo (as a former North Portland resident I wonder if 'FoPo' caused as much discussion among locals as 'NoPo' did). Turns out Gemini Lounge is right in my and most of Portland's wheelhouse as they are eco friendly and hyper local. From the remodel (75% of materials bought from local businesses) to the food (local and organic) to the beer (micros from 8 miles away or less and Oly on draft) they live their mission. Happy hour is from 4 to 7 PM Wednesday through Sunday (closed Monday & Tuesday) with $3 micros and $2 domestics. If you passed on the sliders Wednesday at Hobnob, then you get another crack at a diverse slider list that of course come in twins and are $2 off during happy hour. Gemini Lounge – 6526 SE Foster Road
BAD BEER OPTION: With Gemini offering Oly on draft for only $2, I was going to be content letting the twins play double duty until I discovered O'Malley's across the street (6535 SE Foster Road). O'Malley's bills itself as Foster-Powell's (they do not appear to embrace FoPo) only Irish pub and it reminds me of some of the great local, Irish pubs on every corner in certain neighborhoods of Chicago. For their happy hour (3 to 6 PM Monday through Friday), they offer their stone hearth 12 inch pizza with a good pint for $12 but you can trade the micro in for two Rainier tallboys. They also have $2 PBRs and free pool and foosball. If it is anything like Chicago, beware of the old timers hustling you on the foosball table.
If the zodiac theme at Gemini was fine, then you should not have any trouble with the Spanish empire theme at Conquistador. The decor, pinball lounge, free jukebox and PBR specials make this place hipster bait but this place is much more than that. The vegetarian menu is a good way to mix up the pub grub you will find at most other places on this list with a Latin focus (e.g., arepas, empandadas and plantain chips). During happy hour from 4 to 7 PM seven days a week, the small but well selected tap selection is only $3 with PBR pints for $2 and pitchers for $6. If you like the Matador on West Burnside, then you will like this place as they are owned by the same folks. Conquistador Lounge – 2045 SE Belmont Street
BAD BEER OPTION: Bare Bones Bar (2900 SE Belmont Street) runs the same happy hour as Conquistador (4 to 7 PM daily) with $2 PBR, Session or High Life.
After a long day of antiquing in Sellwood, the Muddy Rudder is a welcoming spot to refuel. Happy hour only runs from 4 to 6 PM every day, so you will need to plan ahead from a timing perspective. Your time management will be rewarded with $3 pints from the likes of Amnesia, Columbia River and Worthy Brewing and $5 personal cheese pizzas. Muddy Rudder has a great neighborhood feel and is a great spot to catch up with friends and neighbors. Muddy Rudder – 8105 SE 7th Avenue
BAD BEER OPTION: For bad beer options, you are not limited to happy hour in this area. Muddy Rudder has PBR tall boys for $2 anytime or you can hit the Sellwood Public House (8132 SE 13th Avenue) for Oly or Old German tall boys for the same price all day. It will be tough, though, with the great good beer selection both of these places have on the regular.
The Morrison Hotel Bar's regular happy hour from 4 to 7 PM would be good enough to make this list any day of the week, but they extend happy hour all day on Sunday and Monday and offer $3 pints. As many beer geeks in this town pledge allegiance to Red Sox Nation, this may be the spot for you on Sunday as they proudly fly the flag. In addition to the taps on special, Morrison Hotel also has an extensive bottle list with knowledgeable servers. Morrison Hotel Bar – 719 SE Morrison Street
BAD BEER OPTION: For your bad beer options, you have plenty in this area of town so I am offering up an equally priced but better tasting choice - the White Owl Social Club (1305 SE 8th Avenue). With 15 taps from quality breweries like Double Mountain, Boneyard and Elysian available for $2 from 3 to 6 PM every day, what's not to like? Just hurry because this location has been several iterations in the recent past (e.g., Acme and Plan B) but maybe they will get enough paying members of the club to keep this party rolling indefinitely!
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