By Clare Goggin Sivits On January 13, 2023

Craft Spirits Guide to Portland for the ACSA Convention

A collection of craft cocktails in various glasses are lined up on a table at Bar West, a cocktail bar in Portland, Oregon
Cocktails at Bar West in Portland, Oregon.

In February, the craft spirits community will descend on our home of Portland, Oregon. We’re thrilled to welcome everyone to our city for the American Craft Spirits Association Distillers’ Convention and we’d even be happy to show you around personally. From St. Johns to Sellwood and Downtown to Montavilla, we know all the best destinations for a cocktail or a great bottle of craft spirits. After all, our founder Karen Locke wrote the book on Portland distilleries. Literally.

Unfortunately, we can’t give personalized tours for everyone. If we don’t get the chance to see you in person, we’ve pulled together our top suggestions. When you’ve visited all of these destinations, drop us a line and let us know what you thought!

1. The Garrison

First and foremost, it’s a neighborhood bar with a tight connection to the surrounding area. But the Garrison is also dedicated to crafting high-quality cocktails. This laid-back spot allows you to relax with delicious food from one of the awesome restaurants in the area and order a really, really good drink to boot.

Whether you’re in the mood for a spirit-forward beverage or something a little more sour, there are options on this menu for you. Ask for the 79’ in 95’ for a combination of rye whiskey, brandy and Amaro Sibilia.

8773 North Lombard Street, Portland, Oregon 97203

BONUS: While you’re in St. Johns, check out one of the best views in the city at Cathedral Park. Stroll under the St. Johns Bridge and admire the feat of architecture that spans the Willamette River.

2. The Pink Rabbit

With a central location in downtown, this cocktail spot is focused on the ingredients. The Pink Rabbit is also a gorgeous-looking location so you’ll have a great view while you sip on whatever cocktail you choose to order while spending time within these four walls.

The mixologists behind the bar find increasingly creative and unique ways to put together the necessary elements of a drink. The Banana Daquiri and Strawberry Gimlet are just two excellent examples of the innovation happening here — and pair it with an order of Dirty Edamame.

232 Northwest 12th Avenue, Portland, Oregon 97209

BONUS: You’re in Portland — make sure you’re caffeinated. Before you go cocktail bar hopping, pop into Barista on Northwest 13th just south of Hoyt for an Americano or Latte.

3. Rum Club

A classic cocktail destination, every Portlander has walked through the doors of the Rum Club at one time or another. The cozy, moodily lit bar produces the best in traditional cocktails. Anything you may want in a cocktail glass, you’ll find it there.

As you can imagine, this bar takes a particular interest in rum-forward drinks. Opt for the Rum Club Daquiri if you need a real classic or explore something slightly more adventurous with a Louder Than Love. If you’d like to veer away from rum, then take a peek at the rest of the menu and find a wide range of drinks that will hit the spot.

720 Southeast Sandy Boulevard, Portland, Oregon 97214

BONUS: The Portland food scene offers something for everyone — no matter what their dietary preference might be. To that end, you have to try the vegan baked goods at Sweetpea Baking Co. — a short walk from Rum Club.

4. Pacific Standard PDX

It’s like your living room but you’ll find all of Portland seated in here. Just don’t take your shoes off. Pacific Standard, a hotel bar, knows how to mix up a really tasty drink while hosting you and all of your local friends in a really comfortable atmosphere.

Have a small sip of what they can do in a Fun-size Gimlet (served in a three-ounce glass) or go a little bigger with the Passionfruit Ramos Fizz. No matter where you land on the cocktail menu, it’ll hit the spot.

100 Northeast Martin Luther King Jr Boulevard, Portland, Oregon 97232

BONUS: While we’re in the neighborhood, we don’t want to forget to mention Jupiter NEXT Hotel on East Burnside, a great stay in Portland that’s so much better than the Marriot. Extend your stay and move your bags here.

5. Bar West

Organic and sustainable. That’s the goal for Bar West when crafting either food or drink. All ingredients are locally grown and carefully selected to be a part of the stellar menu you’ll find when you sit down at the bar. The cocktail list combines updated twists on the best of traditional beverage.

Whether you’re dropping in for brunch or happy hour, Bar West has something that fits the occasion perfectly. The Stumptown Martini incorporates the best Portland has to offer since it’s (a) made in one of the best cocktail bars and (b) incorporates tasty cold brew made right here in the Rose City.

1221 Northwest 21st Avenue, Portland, Oregon 97209

BONUS: Experience what it’s like to shop Portland-style by taking a walk over to The Yo! Store. This boutique sells a collection of gifts and knick-knacks you won’t find anywhere else.

Distilleries to Visit:

Go straight to the source! If you’d rather see where the spirits are made while you’re in town, you have plenty of options. Here are three distilleries we can’t recommend enough.

1. Freeland Spirits

Founded by Jill Keuhler, Freeland comes from a dedication to creating high-quality gin and whiskey from scratch. With Master Distiller Molly Troupe, the distillery develops small-batch spirits and two canned cocktails.

Drop by either the Northwest Portland tasting room or the one in Lake Oswego to get a taste of Freeland from the source.

2671 Northwest Vaughn Street, Portland, Oregon 97210
OR
310 North State Street, #108, Lake Oswego, Oregon 97034

2. Aimsir Distilling Co.

Husband and wife team Steve and Christine Hopkins launched Aimsir with the goal of bringing people together through their spirits. A sense of adventure led them to distill gin, bourbon, whiskey, vodka and aquavit.

As a bonus, the tasting room features an Art Deco aesthetic that you don’t want to miss so go find them in Northeast Portland.

2117 Northeast Oregon Street, Suite 202, Portland, Oregon 97232

3. New Deal Distillery

One of the originals in the Portland distilling community, founder Tom Burkleaux and then co-founder, Matthew VanWinkle found inspiration in the city’s DIY spirit. Almost two decades later, New Deal still going strong and delivering some of the most inventive spirits you’ll find on the shelf.

Get a closer look at the operation when you visit the tasting room in Central Eastside.

900 Southeast Salmon Street, Portland, Oregon 97214

Clare Goggin Sivits

As a marketer with a strong writing background, Clare Goggin Sivits has worked in the beer, spirits, and wine industries for nearly a decade. She oversaw digital marketing for a small wine startup as well as a craft brewery and distillery with a nationwide footprint. A Florida ex-pat, Clare now lives in Portland, Oregon, and continues to write about craft beverage marketing and the industry as a whole.

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