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The 12 Best Dive Bars in Portland, No Contest!

The 12 Best Dive Bars in Portland, No Contest!

I’ll be honest: when my friend dragged me to my first dive bar in the city, I was like, “Really?”

It was my first time in a place like that, and all I could see (or rather, couldn’t see because it was so dark!) was chipped paint, mismatched furniture, and plenty of neon beer signs.

But surprisingly, I had a blast once I got over my initial reaction – and going to dives even became our Friday night thing. There’s just something about escaping the daily grind at a dive, where the beer’s cheap, the food’s greasy, and the vibe matches your soul, right? 

Now if you’re up for that kind of night out with your buddies in Portland, who better to guide you to the best spots than someone who’s been there and done that? Here are my suggestions for which dive bars to hit first when in Rip City!

Foster Gardens

Address: 7855 SE Foster Rd, Portland, OR 97206, United States

Contact details: +1 503-788-2578

Operating hours: Monday – Sunday: 11:00 AM – 1:00 AM

Price: $

At Foster Gardens, don’t expect to find any actual gardens or even a garden salad. Heck, the only thing the place fosters is a hangover. The bar is named after the street it’s on and shares a parking lot with a couple more watering holes. 

But why does Foster Gardens draw such a lively crowd on a weekday, even during off-peak hours, when there are other options nearby? The answer lies in its strict grunge-chic vibe.

It has a ramshackle smoking deck, lots of video poker machines, a shuffleboard table gathering dust, and the best – cheap beer ($5 pints!). 

Yet, the best thing, apart from the conversations and lovely bartenders, is the on-site taco truck, the sole source of alcohol-free sustenance. Though it’s a shame it closes at 9:00 PM while the bar stays open later. 

Ace Tavern

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Address: 8868 NE Sandy Blvd, Portland, OR 97220, United States 

Contact details: +1 503-252-4761

Operating hours: Sunday – Thursday: 8:00 AM – 1:00 AM | Friday – Saturday: 8:00 AM – 2:30 PM

Price: $

A good dive hits that sweet spot between kinda sketchy and totally ridiculous, and the Ace Tavern on Sandy nails it. You can’t miss the signs warning against bringing guns, dropping F-bombs, or trying to pay with anything but cold, hard cash!

Walk in, and you’ll spot a few folks lost in their video poker games at the back. The kitchen’s small, but they churn out the classics – think microwavable chicken bakes and sandwiches.

And if you swing by on a Wednesday, you’re in luck – they knock a buck off your breakfast or gin (or both if you’re feeling fancy). 

Moreover, there’s a bunch of big TVs behind the bar; one even shows live footage of the parking lot, so you can keep an eye on your wheels while you sip on a draft or a White Claw that they offer. 

And if you’re friendly enough, feel free to chat with the bartenders and have them whip up a custom drink just for you – that’s the kind of service they offer here.

Billy Ray’s Dive

Address: 2216 NE Martin Luther King Jr Blvd, Portland, OR 97212, United States

Contact details: +1 503-287-7254

Operating hours: Monday – Thursday: 3:00 PM – 12:00 AM | Friday – Saturday: 12:00 PM – 2:00 AM | Sunday: 1:00 PM – 12:00 AM

Price: $

At Billy Ray’s Dive, you’ll find cheap drinks, good pours, and that classic dive bar atmosphere – small, dark, and cozy. 

Plus, the lottery machines here actually pay out more often than not. The bartenders are awesome, and there are pool tables too. 

The place itself also has a quirky vibe, with local artists’ work on display (along with some amazing wall paintings). And every so often, you’re treated to some good live music. 

When you’re feeling hungry, the kitchen has your back with microwave food favorites. As for drinks, there’s quite a selection of beers available on tap.

If you’re new to the NE area and looking to mingle, this is the spot. Also, don’t forget to check out the pinball upstairs and the super cool backyard patio – it’s perfect for chilling with a big group of friends.

Joe’s Cellar

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Address: 1332 NW 21st Ave, Portland, OR 97209, United States

Contact details: +1 503-223-8825

Operating hours: Monday – Sunday: 10:00 AM – 12:00 AM

Price: $

Dive bars are usually the go-to for escaping the sun, but Joe’s Cellar takes it to the next level by making you forget sunlight even exists! It’s the perfect place to chill in the dark with a beer or a strong, cheap mixed drink. 

Customers rave about how time seems to bend here. You can hang with your crew after work and suddenly realize it’s 11:00 (that’s how Joe’s gets you in for a good time!).

But besides being the perfect dimly lit spot for a beer, Joe’s also serves up perfectly made dive eats like tots, which are as oily and salty as all good tots should be. There’s also the club sandwich that’s a carnivore’s crunchy, meaty dream balanced by whole-wheat bread. 

Slim’s PDX


Address: 8635 N Lombard St, Portland, OR 97203, United States

Contact details: +1 503-286-3854

Operating hours: Monday – Sunday: 7:00 AM – 2:30 AM

Price: $

Slim’s is like a mix of a diner and a dive bar. It has quirks like a flashy, light-up Miller High Life bottle and stays open till 2:30 in the morning, making it dive bar territory for sure. 

But what sets it apart is its food. Where else in town can you grab some tasty agedashi tofu – soft tofu lightly fried and swimming in a slightly sweet soy dashi sauce? They also do a mean burger and a pretty darn good BLT!

Now, the crowd at Slim’s tends to be on the younger side compared to other spots in St. Johns. You’ll find a mix of trendy 30-somethings and seasoned regulars, all enjoying their drinks, especially whiskey sodas. 

If you’re a smoker or don’t mind it, the best thing to do is grab a draft beer and hang out at the picnic tables out front facing Lombard.

Club 21

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Address: 2035 NE Glisan St, Portland, OR 97232, United States

Contact details: +1 503-235-5690

Operating hours: Monday – Sunday: 11:30 AM – 2:30 AM

Price: $$

With its peculiar castle-like façade, Club 21 may remind you of the mini-golf spots you frequented as a kid. However, step inside, and you’re transported to a 1970s basement, complete with wood-paneled walls adorned with vintage beer advertisements. 

But don’t worry – it’s not trying to be ironic. It’s the real deal, a classic dive bar through and through. 

Think old-school pinball machines, velvet and other kitschy paintings, an aging big screen, and food that’s straight out of a box and into the deep fryer. 

Additionally, you have plenty to keep you entertained here, from pinball to live music, and the best part? No cover charge!

Plus, when winter rolls around and you’re craving that outdoor vibe, their enclosed, dog-friendly patio is a real bonus.

Now let’s talk food and drinks: the real highlight here is the build-your-own burger and a side of tater tots. And when it comes to drinks, they have you sorted on that too. Sure, the beer selection might not be huge, but trust us, it’s quality stuff.

My Father’s Place

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Address: 523 SE Grand Ave, Portland, OR 97214, United States

Contact details: +1 503-235-5494

Operating hours: Monday – Sunday: 7:00 AM – 2:30 AM

Price: $

Picture a cozy dining area with brick walls and dim lights hanging from chains over each booth. This place is like a dive bar wrapped in a diner, with over 35 years of grease and grime that, well, adds to its character and charm. 

You’ll see day-drunks chilling on swivel stools, scratching lotto tickets, playing Scrabble, or glued to the TV screen – all while enjoying their drinks.

Speaking of which, you can count on finding the cheapest root beer and food in town here. Plus, the bartenders are quick to mix up a drink just the way you like it.

Did we mention games? Yes, they have tons of it: pool, pinball, video games, video poker. There’s also a huge selection of board, card, and role-playing games to dive into.

Heads up: peak times can get pretty busy, but that just goes to show how much the locals truly love this place!

Reel M Inn


Address: 2430 SE Division St, Portland, OR 97202, United States

Contact details: +1 503-231-3880

Operating hours: Monday – Sunday: 11:00 AM – 2:30 AM

Price: $

Even without its legendary fried chicken, Reel M Inn would still stand out as a top-notch dive. But let’s be honest, once you sink your teeth into that crispy goodness, you’ll keep wanting more. The chicken is fried to perfection, juicy, and bursting with flavor.

Anyway, this spot is as authentic as it gets. It’s decked out with all the quirky elements you’d expect – classic wood paneling and that inch of dust permanently clinging to the fryer grease (it’s just what it is, folks!).

And there’s always a friendly bartender ready to fix you a drink, whether it’s from the small selection on tap or some cans chilling in the fridge.

Just be ready to wait a bit, as the tight quarters mean there’s only space for one bartender to handle both drink orders and the fryer.

The Spare Room


Address: 4830 NE 42nd Ave, Portland, OR 97218, United States

Contact details: +1 503-287-5800

Operating hours: Monday and Sunday: 7:00 AM – 12:00 AM | Tuesday – Thursday: 7:00 AM – 1:00 AM | Friday – Saturday: 7:00 AM – 2:00 AM

Price: $

Karaoke, dancing, movie nights, taco nights, pool table games – there’s always something happening here. 

It’s partly because the drinks are great, so people gravitate to the place. They serve the best root beer and ginger ale in the area (or at least, the majority of our staff say so!). 

And when it comes to food, their breakfast options are a real winner. They have Grilled Cheese Sandwiches, Mushroom Swiss Burgers with Fries, Cheeseburgers and Tater Tots, and The Spare Room Burger.

Yur’s Bar & Grill


Address: 717 NW 16th Ave, Portland, OR 97209, United States

Contact details: +1 503-224-0160

Operating hours: Monday – Sunday: 7:00 AM – 2:30 AM

Price: $

Yur’s is yet another ultimate neighborhood dive – it’s cheap, kinda shabby, and packed with enough Pabst Blue Ribbon to keep the whole city happy. 

Owned by a former Washington Redskins player, it’s turned into a sort of unofficial Patriots bar, so you can bet Sundays and Mondays get wild. But on any other night, it’s all about the jukebox and pool tables.

As for how things work here, it’s pretty simple: you order your food and drinks at the bar. They’ll hand you a number to take back to your table if you’re grabbing a bite to eat. 

Speaking of food, they keep it straightforward with classic pub grub, and they’re quick with the service too. And of course, when it comes to drinks, as you already know, beer steals the show, usually served up nice and cold in chilled glasses.

Rumpus Room

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Address: 10555 SE Division St, Portland, OR 97266, United States

Contact details: +1 503-254-9212

Operating hours: Sunday – Wednesday: 2:00 PM – 1:30 AM | Thursday: 2:00 PM – 2:00 AM | Friday – Saturday: 2:00 PM – 2:30 AM

Price: $

Rumpus Room has just about every amenity you could want from a dive bar. 

Feel like belting out some karaoke? Go for it. Want to try your luck with some gambling? There are plenty of machines ready to take your money. How about a game of shuffleboard? Get sliding!

Or maybe you’re just in the mood for knocking back a few Jell-O shots and snacking on pot stickers or mini tacos while catching the game. You can do all of that in this space.

Drinks and food are covered as well, with a straightforward beer selection and all the fried bar food classics like poppers and taquitos. 

Space Room Lounge


Address: 4800 SE Hawthorne Blvd, Portland, OR 97215, United States

Contact details: +1 503-235-6957

Operating hours: Monday – Sunday: 11:00 AM – 1:00 AM

Price: $

This dive bar is a blast, especially if you’re into sci-fi. When you walk into the Space Room, it’s like stepping onto a mid-century spaceship straight out of a retro sci-fi flick. You’ll find comfy leather booths under a cool black light mural filled with aliens, UFOs, and tractor beams. 

On another note, the food is good and reasonably priced. Must-tries include Tater Tots, Mini Corn Dogs, and Pudding Shots. Comedy night takes over the entire patio space every Sunday evening, so if that’s your scene, then it’s worth stopping by during this time. 

When it’s not comedy night, sports shows dominate the whole place, with a couple of TVs scattered around.

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