Ports of Call

Sure, familiarity is comforting, but it can also breed contempt. At times like these, a local oasis that can, even for a brief moment, fill our heads with tropical visions of sand-strewn Bali or a pirate-friendly pub in Pago Pago is worth its weight in blank traveler’s checks. Seasonal Affective Disorder got you down? Then it’s time to trade in your drippy bumbershoot for a very tall, very strong umbrella drink and take that all-too-brief holiday that you’ve always dreamed about. 



What you’re drinking: A Fog Cutter
Not even the most clueless tourist in baggy Bermudas could possibly confuse Thatch with an honest-to-goodness surf-shack bar tucked away on some balmy beach. It’s just a little too cheesy, like a down-market Trader Vic’s, replete with idol-festooned grotto, blowfish lights and a battered outrigger hanging behind the bar. But that stubborn lack of subtlety, combined with an abundance of rum and Thatch’s dedication to the ultimate tiki experience, proves ideal for both Big Kahuna hipsters in Hawaiian shirts and soggy working stiffs fighting cold-weather ennui. With a few restorative pulls from a tangy, top-notch mai tai, you’ll find yourself with a first-class ticket to the shores of Tranquility Beach, where there’s never a crowd and the drinks only come in the colors of the sunset. Hold the phone: Did we say cheesy? Make that totally charming. (2733 NE Broadway, 503-281-8454)

What you’re drinking: A Ginger drop
Here there be pirates—and we’re not talking about dollar-store, plastic eye-patch, hankie ’do-rag poseurs, either. On at least one Friday a month, the nautical kitsch at this canteen springs to life as a crew of impeccably attired buccaneers and their buxom ladies descends on the place, swilling pomegranate margaritas and bellowing chanteys till two bells. Since we’re not really into trading verses with the yo-ho-ho set, we’re content to kick back and inventory the nautical knickknacks that adorn the shadowy premises while Hoovering down a prawn-and-spinach salad—not much chance of scurvy here, mate. (639 SE Morrison St, 503-232-5553)

What you’re drinking: Ouzo on the rocks
At the bar of this Greek restaurant, the scent of licorice wafts from the ouzo being hustled out to glass-clinking roisterers. And like an Old Country taverna, the room’s working-class dignity catches fire as a belly dancer appears, heralded by much drumming and clapping. Opa! (215 W Burnside St, 503-224-8577)

What you’re drinking: A Bloody Tiger
Take a hard left when you step inside or you’ll end up in the tony dining room of this posh Pearl Vietnamese eatery. Nothing wrong with that, of course, but then you’d miss out on the chance to revel with the frisky seniors from Condoland and the creative-class wage slaves whooping it up in the restaurant’s elegant shoe box of a lounge. Like tourists at a ritzy equatorial hotel bar, these disparate drinkers are bound by their mutual admiration for the unflappable bartender, who adroitly mixes purées of lychee, cherry and mango into towering tropical cocktails that never fail to tantalize our yen for foreign intrigue. (1012 NW Glisan St, 503-248-2172)