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Margot B
Created byMargot B
Author of Moon Living Abroad in India and Moon Taj Mahal...

Portland Nightlife

When I was a teenager growing up in Portland, I would grumble at how few all-ages options there were, despite our little city's well-respected indie music scene. Things have since improved quite a bit and while some of the best spots are 21-and-over, a few cater to all ages. While many of the places listed in this guide are strictly for those of drinking age, there are also a few good places for younger folk. 

Here are a few of Portland's most celebrated spots to drink, dance, eat, and play, all of which are open until the wee hours of the night.

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Darcelle XV

Portland's quintessential drag queen bar, Darcelle's is a lot of fun. The performers here put a great amount of effort into their outfits and their shows, and many throw in a lot of comedy for good measure. It's not a strip-club at all. It's more of a cabaret with free-flowing booze....

Sapphire Hotel

Housed in what was once a seedy old brothel, the Sapphire Hotel is now a much classier place to spend your evening (and a good place to take a date). This dark cocktail bar features plush red decor and lots of cleverly-named mixed drinks as well as good, light food. There are jazz performances every...

Mississippi Studios and Bar Bar

Whoever does the booking for this place really knows what they're doing. For many local bands just getting off the ground, a show at Mississippi Studios is considered a good step in the right direction, and it's a wonderful place for people looking to hear what's up-and-coming in Portland's indie...

Roseland Theater

The Roseland has been around for as long as I can remember, and I've been to everything from reggae shows to raves here. A lot of fairly big acts come through here and the acoustics are excellent. It's one of the first places you'll want to check out for live music listings if you're coming to town;...

Holocene

Holocene is one of Portland's better places to party, and has been a staple in the city's nightlife scene since it opened a decade ago. There are lots of shows and DJ nights here, and they are among the most eclectic spots in town in terms of the types of artists they bring in. It's usually a pretty...

Southeast Grind

Popular with students, coffee addicts, college students, and anyone who likes to burn the midnight oil with a good cup of joe, the Southeast Grind is nothing special, but it's open 24 hours and has free wifi. They also have a large selection of sandwiches, including a lot of vegetarian options. The...

The Nines, Portland

I grew up in Portland, so it was a bit weird to me when they turned part of one of our oldest department stores into a hotel, but it's actually really cool! The suites here are gorgeous and have amazing views of downtown Portland's Pioneer Square and beautiful linens. I've heard they aren't that...

Crystal Ballroom

The floors of this old ballroom are super bouncy! They have a sectioned-off beer garden area for over 21s and a general area for everyone else. The building also houses a bar and a restaurant. It's run by the McMenamin's family group of bars/restaurants and their beloved brews are sold here. The...

Dig A Pony

This is a typical "hipster" bar, but the doormen are nice and most of the staff avoid the cooler-than-thou attitude that can be off-putting to some visitors to Portland. The drinks are usually pretty good and sometimes they have DJs, although I've yet to see anyone actually dance there. Most of the...

Ground Kontrol Classic Arcade

If you ever crave a good game of PacMan at 3AM, Ground Kontrol ahs you covered. This two-story quarter arcade is filled with flashy, loud video games and pinball machines. They also serve beer and have quiz nights aimed at gamers. There's very little room to sit, though, so come prepared to play, not to...