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slides: Ten 1920s Themed Bars in Portland

Wednesday, July 01, 2015


Portland has become Paris from the 1920s. At least, it seems that hipsters are flocking here in extraordinary numbers.

Still, for those who crave the actual 1920s, Portland delivers with a surprising amount of bars that get the mood lighting just right – and provide nostalgic atmospheres that suit any Fitzgerald feels. You can’t smoke indoors, but you can dress up in pearls or Mad Men attire and fantasize. These are some places that offer the appropriate backdrop. 

See Slideshow Below

Multnomah Whiskey Library in SW Portland.


Related Slideshow: Slideshow: Ten 1920s Themed Bars in Portland

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Just saw Midnight in Paris? Need your 1920s fix now? Check out Barlow. This bar is lonely and lavish in all the right ways, especially on a weeknight when you’re looking for a sleek cocktail and a revealing conversation. Designed to have that authentic romanticized 20's charm, the only thing this joint is missing is a flapper girl. Fun fact: Happy hour here returns after dinner from 10 PM until close. Come late; it adds to the mood. 

757 SW Salmon St. OR 97205

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Vault Martini

Not technically 20s-themed but still somehow very fitting is Vault Martini in the Pearl. Vault is an upscale dive with fun loving bartenders and generally moody undertones. It feels dark in here, in a good way. 1920s lover, take note: the best drink on this menu is called “The Gatsby,” with a signature ingredient of limoncello. It’s the best $9 you’ll have to spend.  

226 NW 12th Ave, Portland, OR 97209

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Multnomah Whiskey Library

Every 1920s fanatic must be familiar with the Multnomah Whiskey Library. With seventeen shelves dedicated to a selection of over 1500 spirits, Multnomah Whiskey Library is a sentimental escape styled with Ivy League wood paneling and velvet armchairs. Insider advice: make a reservation if you can. More insider advice: watch your wallet, some single shots of whiskey will throw you back $800. 

1124 SW Alder St, Portland, OR 97205

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Ringler's Annex

Housed inside a building constructed in 1911, Ringler’s Annex is a basement bar that is also on the National Register of Historic Places. The layout of the bar is eccentric: scattered mosaics crawl across pillars and there are tables hidden underneath the entry staircase. Still, this place rubs all history lovers the right way. It is likely that many prominent cultural figures of the 1920s made their way down into this roomy and creative crawlspace back in the day. 

1223 SW Stark St, Portland, OR 97205

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The Heathman

If you’re looking to sip on an old fashioned in style, go with a bar situated within a historic hotel. The Heathman Restaurant and Bar was completed in 1927 so it’s about the age of your grandmother. Classy as can be, the Heathman has a separate bar room, which is in line with days now long gone. There is usually live music, such as the piano or the violin, which adds to that old time parlor room feel. 

1001 SW Broadway, Portland, OR 97205

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Jackknife Bar

Bars good for business meetings also double as extravagant dives. Jackknife is great when you’re in a suit and tie, right after work, when you really need a cocktail (olive included). This is the general demeanor of this ultra-hip, very sulky bar with many padded crevices for you to get cozy with a coworker or a date. Jackknife is smooth – with a menu that ranges from cheese platters to vegan crab cakes. Don’t forget to order some h’orderves. Make sure to check out the alternative drinking room tucked away inside. 

SW 11th and Alder, Portland, OR 97205

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McMenamins Kennedy School

If you need to see it to believe it: go to the Kennedy School. The Kennedy School is a bar that is run out of a renovated elementary school originally opened in 1915. The Kennedy School is perfect for all 1920s daydreamers: after you’ve thrown back a beer or two, you should literally get lost running around the building. There is more than one bar: there is also a restaurant and a hotel. For all 1920s aficianados: the school itself will become your adult playground. No need to walk outside. 


5736 NE 33rd Ave, Portland, OR 97211

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Vintage Cocktail Lounge

The name speaks for itself. This emotional little bar has bartenders who cater to the vintage lover’s needs. Here, there is a good selection of dated brands of liquor as well as knowledgeable bartenders who tend to mix your drinks with care. Because Vintage Cocktail Lounge has an image to maintain, the ambiance is expressed through dim lighting and silhouettes. But truthfully, what better way is there to knock back a Manhattan? 

7907 SE Stark St, Portland, OR 97215

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Jimmy Mak’s

This list wouldn’t be complete without a jazz bar. Oddly a live music venue and also a Greek restaurant, Jimmy Mak’s is heavensent for Billie Holiday enthusiasts and patrons of the 1920s. Local and national jazz performers appear here multiple times a week, and the club itself is open every night but Sunday. Come here, order a shot of whiskey, and enjoy the show. 

221 NW 10th Ave, Portland, OR 97209

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Secret Society Lounge

This speakeasy bar is a legitimate dive with mellow jazz undertones, a reasonable selection of absinthe, and relatively few people. Secret Society Lounge is textbook when it comes to old school cocktail bars and it’s open late, with a menu dominated by odd types of popcorn – yes, popcorn. Additionally, all of the classic types of liquor have their own designated cocktail list. A solid suggestion: Try the cocktail “Death In The Afternoon,” which is a mixture of absinthe and champagne. 

116 NE Russell St, Portland, OR 97212


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