B Side Tavern
B Side is the place to go if you want bartenders who pour with reckless abandon and don’t judge you if you ask for a Long Island. The patio area is the highlight, though—
no-nonsense, simple and, if you’re a smoker, ashtrays as far as the eye can see. If you want a change of scenery from all of East Burnside’s swanky establishments, check out this one.
632 E Burnside St.
I’m surprised that David Lynch hasn’t filmed in this bar yet—the decor harkens back to the ’50s with red-top swivel chairs, a neon sign out front that somehow meshes well with the local crowd and rhythm and blues music blaring from the jukebox. Your wallet won’t take too big a hit from the cheap beer, but be sure to save some quarters for the pinball games upstairs.
2216 NE Martin Luther King Jr. Blvd.
Low Brow Lounge
Quite possibly the only dive bar in the Pearl District, Low Brow is the spot for those of us who just want a little more authenticity in our drinking routine. The servers can be a bit surly at times, but the dimly lit ambience and economical prices on beer make this dive a go-to for those who eschew the foo-foo.
1036 NW Hoyt St.
You know a bar is good when you walk in and see a group of leather-clad punks staring intently at an overhead TV playing Commando on mute. The audio is replaced by noisy pinball games and whatever ’80s hits have been synced up on the jukebox. The drinks are reasonably priced, too. Tip: Get the “King Tot” if you prefer your tater tots Godzilla-sized.
1967 W Burnside St.
Swift Lounge is what I consider “nu-dive.” It has the elements of a traditional dive bar—dirty bathroom, cramped interior, hipster overload—but contains some 21st century modifications, such as DJ sets featuring all your favorite ’90s jams and some incredibly tasty (and inexpensive) mason-jar cocktails. If you need some sustenance, try the fondue fries.
1932 NE Broadway