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Great Beer Neighborhoods of Portland

By Edited Nov 13, 2013 1 0

If you're new to Portland or if you plan to be making a quick pass through Soccer City USA, you must be aware that your going to be surrounded by a tremendous variety of excellent places to drink fantastic microbrew. While it's great to explore, find and taste each and every one of them that the city has to offer, unless you have a lot of time and a very dedicated designated driver, this might be an insurmountable challenge especially if you're only given a small window of opportunity. Plus, each and every one of the places you want to go, you'll want to stay and absorb not only the beer, but the atmosphere as well. For this reason, I'm going to recommend one particular stretch of Portland that would be a great section to focus on. By no means is it the only one; in fact, I can easily think of two or three other similar stretches. Nonetheless, we're going to start the Great Beer Neighborhoods of Portland on SE Hawthorne.

Is because of the reasons outlined above, because I want you to be able to enjoy each and every spot you visit, I'm going to highlight for spots for you to stop along Hawthorne. The biggest challenge I have right now is deciding which end to start with. Should we start with the movie and finish in a neighborhood pub, or do it the other way around? You can't go wrong either way, so for the sake of picking one lets they were going to end the day with a movie at the Baghdad theater.

With that much decided, let's get started.

The Lucky Labrador brew pub is just a few blocks east of the land and river, just outside of downtown. Housed in what was once a roofing company warehouse, this giant single room with high ceilings and clear evidence of its industrial past makes for a very unique environment. The beer is excellent with an ever-changing variety of seasonal choices. The food is simple but tasty and very generous servings. But perhaps what the Lucky Lab is most known for is its outdoor patio area.

Sitting just off the parking lot, it is a very dog friendly environment (as if you couldn't guess from the name). In fact, patrons are encouraged to bring their dogs which makes for a very lively atmosphere. Not to mention the fact that there are many long-time regulars here, often coming here for a beer after a good hike or soccer game, you'll find a very diverse, lively, healthy and friendly crowd and the parking lot full of car bike rack, kayaks, windsurfers and whatnot. No matter what the activity though, beer drinking is taken very seriously. I love it here.

Next up is the Barley Mill pub. One of the early McMenamin's pubs, it is true to the ongoing theme of the Grateful Dead found in many of this companies numerous pubs in the region. The Barley Mill is small, somewhat chopped up as far as the space, especially when you compare it to the vast openness of the Lucky Lab. However, this is a very cozy atmosphere. McMenamin's always screws up tasty beers and also keeps the seasonal varieties flowing. If you're hungry, their french fries are killer.

Next up, quite a ways further east on Hawthorne (well, not really that far... maybe 20 blocks or so) I recommend you stop in at the Bridgeport ale House. Considerably more upscale than the previous two, you certainly won't feel out of place in shorts and flip-flops or in fancier dinner at tire. Personally, Bridgeport IPA is among my all time favorite beers, so I highly recommend having a pint of that. If you're not a fan of IPA because of its strong, bitter hoppiness, you'll no doubt have many other options to choose from, all of them fantastic. Well, I do have to admit I'm not a fan of their Old Knucklehead Barley Wine... but then again, I'm not a fan of Barley wine in general.

While you can still get pub style food here such as the hamburger, the price is going to be higher and the preparation a bit more intricate. You'll also have a selection of delicious, creative main courses, and most certainly will be pleased with anything you try.

If you've been following this path this long, and you're not hammered or about to explode from all the delicious food, it's time to go check out a movie at the Baghdad.

Another venue in the McMenamin chain, this is a brilliant place to see a movie. An old theater dating from perhaps the 1930s (I'm guessing), it has tons of seating downstairs in addition to an enormous balcony up above. Most often they run second run movies that have been in theaters for a while already. The beauty is the they only charge three dollars (at least the last time I was there). While I would often go for a "cheap movie night", I rarely got off cheap. That's because they allow you to buy beer and pizza (as well as wine cocktails and other food) at the snack bar and take it to your seat. So after adding the movie ticket, a pitcher of stout beer and a couple slices of pizza, I had shelled out a few bucks. But, I ate and drank and enjoyed the full movie experience and a killer, old world theater. Definitely something worth checking out.

There you have it. A day long SE Hawthorn Boulevard, eating and drinking to your hearts content followed by a great movie night. Simply awesome. And as mentioned before, there's plenty more where that came from as far as neighborhoods to discover in Portland.



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