DOUBLE DRAGON: CHOP SUEY SONGSTERS

Come for: A fizzy, fruity Singapore Sling and a clove-perfumed duck banh mi
Come back for: Baby Ketten Karaoke

SE Division Street’s gleefully inauthentic banh mi joint always felt like something more than a plain old restaurant, with its spicy, in-your-face eats and snarky chalkboard menu. So when Double Dragon transformed into a bona fide bar last fall, complete with the requisite bitters and tinctures lining its poured-concrete bar and a list of classic and curious cocktails, it felt like a raucous homecoming. These days, the glass-fronted cube is crammed with happy 20- and 30-somethings scarfing Kobe kimchi dogs and slurping stiff drinks spiked with five-spice and Thai tea syrup beneath dim lights studded with spent Sriracha bottles. The spot reaches its oddball zenith every Saturday night. That’s when Baby Ketten Karaoke stretches a white sheet across one of the bar’s front windows to project song lyrics, tempting flannel-clad boys to belt out Nine Inch Nails’ “Head Like a Hole” mashed up with Carly Rae Jepsen’s “Call Me Maybe.” Smokers bundled up to their eyeballs perch on picnic tables just outside the door, watching the wildly gesticulating singers through the glass as if they were the cast of some long-lost Godzilla movie musical. 1235 SE Division St

Ración: THE MODERNIST TINKERER

Come for: A salt foam–topped chorizo tequila margarita
Come back for: A seat at the bar—Portland’s ideal perch for watching modernist cuisine in the making 

There is no gleaming liquor-scape at Ración: no service rail, no speed rack, no towering library ladders. Bartender Chauncey Roach’s domain is really more of a “station.” While immersion circulators swirl with baggies of wagyu culotte nearby, Roach mans a two-table science lab of cocktail geekery, complete with meaty infusions, sous-vide apples, salt foams, and granitas galore. His creations are the perfect match for Ración’s casually fanciful approach to modern Spanish cuisine—unexpected, labor-intensive, and classically delicious. Snag a seat at the wraparound bar for a front-row perspective on the molecular gastronomy, or head for the leather-cushioned lounge area, where a good-sized gaggle could settle in for a night of cocktail experimentation. Try the old-fashioned, which arrives artfully deconstructed: a rocks glass of orange granita, dabbed with bitters and speared with a maraschino cherry, sided by a shot of Four Roses single-barrel bourbon. Combine, stir, and sip away. For dessert? Treat yourself to Portland’s most abiding White Russian, capped with a luscious cloud of vanilla foam and crystals of Jacobsen’s Stumptown coffee salt. 1205 SW Washington St

Orient Express: The No. 8 at Expatriate
Orient Express: The No. 8 at Expatriate

Expatriate: THE HOT DATE

Come for: A livey blend of cognac, rye, Dolin Génépy des Alpes, sweet vermouth, and orange bitters dubbed No. 8 
Come back for: Candles everywhere, carefully selected vintage vinyl, and luxuriously tufted bar stools make this easily the sexiest bar in town.

It is laughably easy to fall under Expatriate’s spell. It begins when you walk in the door and find yourself in a discrete world of warmth: thick red candles flicker, dark booths ooze that come-hither look, a well-coiffed bartender flashes a knowing smile, and jazz purrs from a turntable. It is gritty and glamorous, playful but self-assured. You may find yourself musing, “This is exactly where I want to be right now.” The 30-seat haven of dimness is the brainchild of bartender Kyle Linden Webster and wife Naomi Pomeroy (whose bastion of communal dining, Beast, is just across the street). This communion of casual but carefully engineered ambience is enhanced by confident cocktails and bold, crunchy, loosely Asian drinking snacks (order the Chinese sausage corn dog!), not to mention one very simple, very satisfying onion and butter sandwich inspired by James Beard. Each of Webster’s eight nightly cocktails is calibrated to the drop and comes with a footnoted backstory. Read up and order the No. 8, a spirited mix of cognac and rye amped by herbaceous liqueur and orange bitters. From there, let the candles be your guide as you freely roam both sides of the globe-trotting menu. 5424 NE 30th Ave

The Rookery Bar: THE HISTORIAN

Come for: Full barrels of bourbon and tequila, selected specifically for the menu of high-end cocktails 
Come back for: Tuesday nights of live Irish music paired with Irish bites

If it weren’t for the dark-marbled bar, the impeccable leather upholstery, the grand, unblemished pool table, and the stainless steel LED lamps hanging from the burly beams above, the Rookery Bar just might transport you in time. Making its cavernous home in the former hayloft of the Ladd Carriage House—built in 1883, trucked across town in 2007, and trucked back to its historic home in 2011—the Rookery serves as a convivial alternative to Raven & Rose’s more staid dining room below. Cocktail precision from ubiquitous bar director David Shenaut fills out an ambitious menu that ranges from an immaculate manhattan to Caroline’s Fancy, a fiery blend of reposado tequila, curaçao, and cardamom bitters that somehow tastes like a classic. Tasting expeditions to Kentucky, Jalisco, and beyond have yielded a collection of “Single-Barrels” that bear the bar’s logo and serve as the foundation for a menu of single-barrel cocktails (spendy, but worth it). When the Rookery is swinging with live Irish folk music, fireplace blazing and rare liquor flowing, there’s hardly a more impressive room in Portland. 1331 SW Broadway