Portland’s Most Beloved Neighborhood Bars, According to Lyft Data

Charley Locke - Feb 13, 2024

Lyft riders know: It’s easy to stay home, but it’s more fun to experience the world with friends and family. This guide uses aggregated rideshare data to find the restaurants, bars, and other destinations that Lyft customers love — and inspire your next trip out.

Portland is a city of neighborhoods — each with its own beloved watering hole, a spot that locals come back to over and over again (and, after a few rounds, responsibly request a ride home from). But, because they aren’t flashy or trendy, they can be hard for outsiders to spot. So Lyft crunched the numbers to find the bars that draw the most loyal patrons. Swing by, pull up a stool, and ask for the usual.

Portland’s most beloved bars, by share of repeat riders

Southeast Portland: The Sandy Hut, Ship Ahoy Tavern, Lotsa Luck Bar & Grill, Cosmo Lounge, Whelan’s Irish Pub

From the riverfront’s industrial warehouses to the leafy streets of Mount Tabor, Southeast Portland varies dramatically in vibe. But there’s one constant throughout the neighborhood: beloved local institutions.   

One favorite on the border with Northeast, The Sandy Hut, has been serving locals for over a century. The decor of this unusual, triangular bar is a mix of dive, mid-century Americana, and ’80s kitsch — in other words, perfectly Portland. 

If you’re looking for dive-ier ambience, head south to Ship Ahoy Tavern or Lotsa Luck Bar & Grill  two spots known for cheap beer, strong drinks, dim lighting, and friendly bartenders. Get to know the regulars with a game of pool (at Ship Ahoy) or a round of video poker (at Lotsa Luck). Farther south, in the Sellwood-Moreland neighborhood, locals head to Cosmo Lounge. This dive offers kitschy decorations (felt paintings, framed pulp magazine covers) and cheap stiff drinks ($1 Jell-O shots). 

East of Mount Tabor, you’ll find Whelan’s Irish Pub. Proudly Irish-owned and -operated since its opening right before St. Patrick’s Day in 2017, Whelan’s specializes in comfort food made from scratch: bangers and mash with onion gravy; “paddy fries” topped with corned beef; shepherd’s pie with grass-fed beef, red mashed potatoes, and Irish cheddar. (No wonder it made Eater’s list of Irish food in Portland.) Grab a pint or a Scotch and settle in to watch the game — or if you’re lucky, see some live Irish music.

Northeast Portland: Montavilla Saloon, Utopia Restaurant & Lounge

If you’re looking for late-night food and drinks with a side of karaoke, consider Utopia Restaurant & Lounge. The institution is no-frills, and that’s just how the regulars like it: tasty Vietnamese food, including squid and fish-sauce wings; cheap beer; and karaoke until the wee hours. Place your order and enjoy (or endure) the show.

Head a few blocks south to Montavilla Saloon for another local dive. Grab a beer and play a game of pool — then walk down the street for some excellent Chinese food along 82nd Avenue. An evening of drinks, entertainment, and good food should all cost you less than the price of a round of artisanal cocktails downtown.

North Portland: Sundown Pub

Often called the “fifth quadrant,” North Portland — and its Sundown Pub — shouldn’t be overlooked. This place passes the Cheers test: Its owners pride themselves on knowing everyone’s name. Come for the happy hour specials, then stay for a game of shuffleboard or pool, Tuesday night karaoke, or a friendly ear.

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