City Cast

The Best Neighborhood Bars in Portland

John Notarianni
John Notarianni
Posted on August 2
booths in the foreground, bar in the background

The Fixin' To, in St. Johns, is a quintessential Portland neighborhood bar. (John Notarianni/City Cast Portland)

Local bar owner Tanya Frantzen wrote a book on bar etiquette and talked to the City Cast Portland podcast about the unspoken rules in Portland establishments. But she also offered us her recommendation of good neighborhood bars around town, including one of her own:

“You can tell it's run by a woman. You just can. They treat their employees really well. They have decent food for decent prices. It's fun, but it's not like loud and party-all-the-time. There's comfortable places to hang out in there. There's good booths, and heaters on the patio and a nice motif, but it's not a theme bar. It's got good continuity in how it feels in there. It's not like ‘We're an Irish pub and we have Irish flags everywhere.’ It's like, ‘We're a Florida room.’ It means a porch, but also there's a Florida-y theme there that's tropical, but also punk.”

“When they started out, they had just like this little tiny bar and their front patio was all gravel and they had this little vintage teardrop trailer out there that they served food out of.  Over the years they've expanded. They've got a venue now. And it's a really great venue with excellent sound, and their staff is great. Their staff all love their jobs. You know, you can feel it when you walk in that everybody there loves it — also woman-owned, coincidentally.”

Red storefront of the bar B Side

B Side is a neighborhood bar in Buckman. (Tanya Frantzen)

“I think the B Side is special because it was built by the neighborhood, for the neighborhood. Before we first opened, we were there for three months working and a bunch of people that lived in the neighborhood, or our friends, or were our regulars from other bars we worked at would just come by. The shelves behind the bar are welded because the day we were trying to figure out what we were going to do about them, our buddy showed up and he was like, ‘Oh yeah, I brought my welder.’

“Things like I'll be sitting out on the back patio and my buddy who lives in the neighborhood who's an artist will just poke his head out and he's got a drill under his arm. And he's like, ‘Oh, hey, Tanya, you got some new art.’ And then he leaves. The people who work there are excellent professional bartenders and they all have very distinct personalities and styles, but they want [it] to be a safe place and a fun place, and they want it to be fair and equitable and easy and comfortable.”

This segment was contributed by City Cast Portland lead producer John Notarianni.

Hey Portland

Want to know what's happening in Portland? Sign up for our free newsletter, Hey Portland. Packed with local news, curated event recs, local life hacks, and more, it's your daily toolkit for getting the most out of the city you love.

Neighborhood Guides

See All

The latest in Portland