Portland: a city steeped in beer. With so many great breweries around, who needs anything else? Well, sometimes, only a glass of fine wine will do. Portland has a burgeoning wine bar scene, thanks to an influx of transplants who favor vino over barley and hops. These bars don’t just serve Oregon Pinot, however. You’ll find producers and varietals from all over the world. Here are our picks for the best wine bars in the Rose City.
107 SE Washington
Champagne and sparkling wine lovers head to this cozy bar—named for a tiny village in Champagne—on the Portland waterfront to savor local and European bubbly. What Ambonnay lacks in space it makes up for in its powerful Champagne selection: from Vouette & Sorbée to André Clouet to Jacques Lassaigne. The list can make your head spin and your mouth water. Owner David Speer takes pride in greeting every customer and making sure s/he enjoys the intimate ambience under crystal chandeliers.
2138 SE Division
Located in one of the hottest dining areas in town, Bar Avignon is larger than the other wine bars on the list but doesn’t act superior about it. The wine bar/restaurant’s wooden seats and cozy, dimly lit banquettes get you in the mood to savor rich reds such as Barbera d’Asti, Valpolicella and Bordeaux. The dining menu is fairly extensive from oysters to smoked sturgeon to bavette steak. Wines can be purchased to go at a 25 percent discount.
22 NE Seventh
Tucked between the Lloyd District and the Buckman neighborhood lies Kir, an intimate, blink-and-you’ll-miss-it watering hole. Kir serves a small, revolving selection of wines by the glass and bottle from France, Italy and the Canary Islands, to name a few. Owner Amalie Roberts loves rosé so if you are into the light, incandescent pink wine, you’ll love Kir’s selections, which usually number into the double digits.
Pour Wine Bar & Bistro
2755 NE Broadway
If you prefer small producers over the likes of the Mondavis and Wagners of the world, you’ll love Pour Wine Bar & Bistro. This chic space, with mid-century modern chairs designed by Eero Saarinen, serves only small production wines from Europe and the Northwest. Guests can choose from an array of wines by the glass including lesser-known varietals such as Ugni Blancs and Melon de Bourgognes as well as local Pinot Noirs. Pour serves small plates as well. Opt for the escargots and a glass of Gamay Noir and you’re good to go.