Long gone are the days when a boy asked out a girl, the girl said “yes,” and the two lovebirds embarked on a curiously antiquated journey together called “dating.” Yep, these days, singles have to suck it up and get their romance wherever they can find it. And really, where better to do just that than in mercifully low-lit rooms full of eager strangers with open tabs just waiting for you to add a drink to them?
What you’re drinking: A Jim Beam whiskey ginger
It’s Friday at 11:25 p.m. and hordes of power-dinner Los Angelenos, mod Euros and work-weary Portlanders—hopefully equipped with Radio Cab on speed dial—still fill the restaurant with a deafening, communally cultivated roar. So it may seem a little weird that Clyde’s quaint, 20-person-capacity bar is an ideal venue for making a love connection. If the people-watching isn’t enough to induce clever conversation, ask a prospective companion why he or she thinks it’s necessary for the bartender to keep a rotating collection of rare American whiskey locked in a cabinet on the wall. Better still, with a little luck, you can score the coveted window-seat-for-two and let the sparks fly. Speaking of lucky, rooms at the Ace Hotel are tryst-worthy and right upstairs. Um, check please? (1014 SW Stark St, 503-228-3333)
What you’re drinking: An Aviation gin and tonic
Look past the spotty service and the fact that you have absolutely no chance of finding an empty Eames chair, and fling yourself into the most boisterous, well-attended hipster-singles pool on the East Side. Shag-cut hotties who boldly cling to the bar long enough will likely experience that most elusive of Portland phenomena: a free drink courtesy of some shy wannabe rocker, who will no doubt forget his debit card at the bar, which is sure to be maxed out come the morning. (600 E Burnside St, 503-236-4536)
What you’re drinking:
The Room Service (house specialty marionberry margarita)
Imagine a Chinese restaurant in Amsterdam’s red light district that serves a pretty decent burger, and you’re here. It’s no longer a flophouse for landlocked sailors, of course, but the tawdry ambience certainly helps the former turn-of-the-century brothel foster a kind of foggy, sleepy, can-we-get-a-room-please mood among its earnest, starry-eyed customers. And after indulging in a few dangerously effervescent champagne cocktails, they may begin to behave as though they’ve just been transported to a candlelit love den. (5008 SE Hawthorne Blvd, 503-232-6333)?