Portland has been making headlines around the country for it’s cutting edge food scene (from food carts to sustainable sushi restaurants)—and lucky for budget savvy foodies, there are a ton of great restaurants that offer up cheap eats during the late afternoon and later evenings in the Rose City.
If you ask restaurant owners, they’ll tell you the back story: a state liquor law forbids businesses from promoting discounted alcohol, so it made sense to lure in diners with at-cost food. Even though this law has recently changed, $5 plates—even at some of the city’s best restaurants— are more ubiquitous than ever.
Some restaurants have started offering second happy hours from 9 pm-close or all day happy hours on Sunday, making it easy to take advantage of these rock bottom prices. And this being Portland, you’re more likely to find charcuterie plates or pig heart with quince jam on the menu than sliders and fries.
Here are a few of the top happy hours in Portland:
If you want a side of amazing city views with your happy hour, the Portland City Grill is definitely where you’ll want to head. The restaurant, which is located on the 30th floor of Portland’s tallest building (US Bancsorp Tower), has a terrific happy hour every day from 4:30-6 pm and from 3 pm-close on Sunday.
Drinks are not discounted and there is a one drink minimum to enjoy the menu, but the food and the views are well worth a full-priced cocktail. Get there early to grab a window seat to enjoy views of the entire city, including its 12 bridges, and of course a great look at Mt. Hood and Mt. St. Helens on clear days.
My favorite here is kung pao calamari, though the spicy fries are also delicious. There is a wide variety of selections all under $5, making it easy to have a full meal for much less than the usual $30 per entrée prices.
While this restaurant is best known as a legendary brunch spot, they also have an all afternoon Sunday happy hour that is best enjoyed on a sunny afternoon sipping your $3 microbew, $3 well drink or $5.00 cocktail special.
The $4 Tilapia Fish Tacos (two corn tortillas filled with spicy tilapia, peppers, onions, cabbage, jalapeno-cilantro creme fraiche and salsa) were delicious (and cheap), as was the $5 free-range burger on a rustic bun with special Tin Shed sauce.
If you are hungry for cheap late night eats, head over to Nostrana for their delicious and gourmet happy hour from 9 p.m. to close.
In addition to $5 glasses of great house wine, you can enjoy a delicious $5 charcuterie plate, a few of Cathy Whim’s famed pizzas (margherita or marinara, both $5) and the addictive insalata Nostrana (radicchio with Parmesan, rosemary-sage croutons and a Caesar-style dressing). This happy hour is sure to leave you happy.
If you are in the mood for beers, snacks and a great casual environment, the happy hour at Hopworks is one of my favorite places to head on sunny afternoons (or rainy ones for that matter). The happy hour runs from 3-6 daily, 9-close Sunday-Thursday 10-close Friday-Saturday, giving you plenty of options for when to head over for great beers and cheap snacks.
You can enjoy a slice of their yummy pizza (a perfect pairing with their beer) for $2.25, a $2.75 Pint “o” Pretzels (warm house made beer pretzel with Bavarian Hopworks pilsner mustard & sea salt) or the $2.75 bruschetta with fresh buffalo mozzarella.
I have a friend who works at Genoa and suggested I try the happy hour at its sister restaurant, Accanto. I was so glad she did. Accanto has both a regular happy hour (3 to 6 p.m. every day) and a late-night one (9 p.m. to close on weekdays, 10 p.m. to close on weekends).
Some of the standouts include a perfectly dressed salad with fava beans, radishes and Parmesan ($5) and a mozzarella and preserved-tomato panini with arugula pesto served with homemade potato chips ($5).
The happy hour menu also features la carte portions of cheese or charcuterie ($1.50) , which come with pickled vegetables and bread. Accanto also has drink specials, which include a $3.50 microbew or a $5 house-infused cocktail of the day ($5).
Where’s your favorite place to sip and nosh after a hectic workday? Add your top vote below.