The Bottom Shelf: bars on a budget

By Samuel Woods

Welcome to the Bottom Shelf, where I cover the best of cheap living in Portland. For this first column we’re going to cover a bar crawl guide that’ll introduce you to some seemingly out-of-budget bars. All of these are located Downtown for easy Pio access and offer drinks for $6 or less, which is the most you should ever be paying. A quick disclaimer; the Pioneer Log does not endorse underage or reckless drinking.

The Raven and Rose

This bar, located inside the historical Ladd Carriage House, is only a few blocks from the Pio stop. Start here with a Puttin’ on the Spritz ($5), a vermouth based cocktail. Get here early to grab a spot at the pool table and check their website for free live music dates. The first time I came here was around Christmas and the bartender told me they age their eggnog for a month. I still don’t know how I feel about month-old egg cocktails, but this place has character.

Red Star Tavern

This next stop takes you farther downtown for some food. The happy hour menu here lasts until 7 p.m. and includes cheap, locally sourced food options like smoked sweet & spicy wings ($4) and taquitos ($5). Well spirits, draft beer, and house wine are all $5 during happy hour. The lighting in the restaurant side can be overbearing; I suggest sitting in the lounge for better ambience.

Shift Drinks

This is my favorite bar in Portland because of their amazing all-day happy hour. Most bars have an early and/or late happy hour, which leaves a weird three hour break in the middle of your bar crawl when you have to pay full price. Shift Drinks is the solution with $3 house pints and $5 rotating cocktails. If you miss the earlier happy hours, I would suggest starting your bar crawl here around 10 p.m.


Okay, full disclosure this bar is real trashy. Glass chandelier, sorority Instagram trashy. It’s also a hike from Imperial, but the drinks specials are worth it. Starting at 10 p.m. they offer over 100 house cocktails for $4. My favorite is the Huckleberry greyhound, with huckleberry vodka and grapefruit juice.

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