There’s one fact to know when you’re stuck on campus late at night studying: where the closest bar is.
For Portland Staters, the fact is that there aren’t any fantastic bars near campus. Most of them, however, at least have a decent atmosphere and a reasonable happy hour.
Cheapness rating ($ out of five):
Blind Onion Pizza and Pub415 S.W. Montgomery St.Happy hour: $$Food: $$$Beer: $
The Blind Onion barely makes the list because the pizza-centered pub has among the best beer prices near Portland State. PSU students get $1 off their beer if they flash their student ID, bringing most micro-brews down to $2.50.
The pizza is also damn good and not too pricey. It comes by the slice, or you can order a whole pizza to fit your desire. Be wary, though–on busy nights it can take upwards of an hour for the sparse staff to get a pizza to you.
Candlelight Cafe and Bar2032 S.W. Fifth Ave.Happy hour: $$$Food: $$All alcohol: $$$
The Candlelight often draws an older crowd (most people seem to be 40 or older), and it has a live band almost every night of the week playing blues, reggae or soul without a cover.
Happy hour is from 4 p.m. to 6 p.m., but the drinks are averagely priced anyway. If you make it to the Candlelight, expect noise, lots of people, and someone over 40 picking up on you (whether or not you’re also 40).
The burgers are a little spendy for a dive bar (around $7.50 each), but having chicken strips and fish and chips makes up for it.
Cheerful Tortoise Sports Grill1939 S.W. Sixth Ave.$1 beer night: $…duhFood: $$Beer: $$Liquor: $$$$
The Cheerful Tortoise is the premiere Portland State bar–that is, if you’re an athlete, a frat boy or sorority girl, or an old man looking for a frat boy or sorority girl. The Cheerful is the only sports bar on campus and is a big supporter of Portland State athletics, with its own mascot (an awkward turtle wearing a Viking helmet) that attends football games.
The beer and liquor are decently priced, and the Cheerful has the best night of the week: Thirsty Thursday $1 Beer Night. Every beer, including micro-brews, costs $1 from 8:30 to 9:30 on Thursdays. After 9:30, beers such as Pabst and Coors Light remain $1.
The Cheerful is open the longest hours of all the near-campus bars (7 a.m. to 2 p.m. Monday through Friday, 9 a.m. on Saturday and Sunday). The bar serves breakfast all day long ($1.99 two egg, hash browns and toast special), and lunch and dinner plates ranging from enchiladas to $8 New York steak.
The Cheerful is one of two near-campus bars that allow smoking.
McMenamins Market Street Pub1526 S.W. 10th Ave.Happy hour: $$Food: $$$$Beer: $$$Liquor: $$$$$Wine: $$$
Market Street has the best happy hour near Portland State. (From 4 to 6 p.m. and 10 p.m. to 12 a.m., daily).
The happy hour burgers are consistently made of hamburger and consistently $3.30. A minimum drink purchase of $1.85 is easy with one of the McMenamins Ales–Hammerhead is easily the best.
Beyond happy hour, the Market Street menu has tasty options for food–from the fish and chips to the French Quarter chicken sandwich–but other McMenamins restaurants have better food on their menus. Ordering liquor at Market Street isn’t a good idea-most is overpriced, so stick with McMenamins beer, wine or hard cider.
The service has gotten better over the last year. In previous years, the waiting staff was rude and slow.
Paccini1717 S.W. Park Ave.Happy hour: $$Food: $$$Beer: $$$Liquor: $$$$Wine: $$
Paccini is a really average restaurant and a really below-average bar. The pizza is bland, and the hamburgers are barely peaking on mediocre.
The only true gem within Paccini is a long happy hour, from 4 p.m. to 7 p.m. A decent food menu (including $3.25 cheeseburgers and fettuccine Alfredo) and averagely cheap beer prices ($3 for micro-brews) are the saving grace for the closest and most lackluster bar near campus.
Otherwise, everything at Paccini sounds much better than it actually is. The $5 small pitcher of cheap wine (Citra or pinot grigio/sangiovese) is actually a positive aspect to the bar. Most bartenders are slow, inconsiderate and…slow.
Note: You people actually like Paccini? Do you even know what Pacinni is? I mean honestly–nine of you voted for the most sub-par bar in the Vanguard’s online poll and only eight for Market Street. Market Street is like the Rowdy Roddy Piper of bars compared to the Hulk Hogan Paccini. Do you want class, style and taste like Piper, or just a little bit of schnazziness like Hogan? I hope you people soon realize the error of your ways.
Suki’s Bar and Grill2401 S.W. Fourth Ave. (underneath Travel Lodge)Happy hour: $$$Food: $$$Beer: $$$Liquor: $$$
The only karaoke bar near campus, Suki’s is a dive bar with decent drinks, a friendly staff and free pool. They serve food late, and their best food could have a very adverse effect on your heart in coming years.
The bar features karaoke, with host Dick on Thursday, Friday and Saturday nights. Most karaoke nights fill up with future American Idol contestants quickly, so either get your name in early for singing or be prepared to wait until late into the night.
Most well drinks are about $3.50 and beer ranges from $2 (Pabst) to $3.50 (micro-brew). Suki’s is the second near-campus bar that allows smoking.