SINCE THE DAY it opened in 1954, the Lutz Tavern on SE Woodstock Boulevard was a workingman’s bar, a place where neighborhood residents could unwind with a cold pint and a warm smile from the staff. When the Delta Cafe came along in the ’90s, the family-owned bar became a holding area for the Southern restaurant’s wait-listed patrons. In fact, in the days before cell phones, the Lutz even took calls from the Delta and hollered out diners’ names. The Delta has since built its own bar (though there’s still some spillover), but a whole new generation of symbiotic bar-restaurant relationships has grown out of Portland’s intimate, no-reservation restaurants. (The long wait times at Pok Pok even inspired the owners to open up their own bar—the Whiskey Soda Lounge—across the street.) After all, if you have to wait, why not drink? Here’s a look at what you can expect at some of the city’s most popular pairings.
401 NE 28th Ave
Graduates of the worn environs at Beulahland and Chin Yen will be thrilled with the stylish, tasteful maturity of Spints. Divided into two sides—a lively, dark-paneled bar and a more subdued dining space—Spints absorbs 28th Avenue’s overflow with ease, turning many passers-through into devotees.
The cocktail menu, developed by the folks who brought us Teardrop Lounge, is certainly impressive, but the real draw here is the selection of hard-to-find German and Belgian beers.
One to two drinks, depending on where you’ve set your sights for dinner.
Delta Cafe and Bar
4607 SE Woodstock Blvd
4639 SE Woodstock Blvd
If Moe’s Tavern existed outside of Matt Groening’s imagination, this would be it. Illuminated by a single overhead light, myriad neon signs, and the glow from six lottery poker machines, the Lutz hosts a crop of bearded, flannel-clad regulars sporting trucker hats—and not ironically. Fortunately, they, like the big-haired bartenders, are a friendly bunch.
There’s no hard liquor served here, so you’ll have to stick with what’s on tap. Our favorite: Fish Tail Organic IPA.
Even at peak dinner hours (7 to 8:30 p.m.), you probably won’t have time for more than one drink. Bring cash or hit the US Bank out back; like the Delta, the Lutz doesn’t take plastic.