Portland’s Best Themed Bars | The Official Guide to Portland
Ambiance can be just as important to a bar’s appeal as its menu, and sometimes you want more than just a drink — you want a full-blown immersive experience. Take a break from the real world with the help of these themed bars in Portland.
Whatever the weather outside, you can step into a tropical paradise at Hale Pele, where the tiki drinks range from creamy and fruity to tangy and literally on fire. A volcano rating system denotes how close each drink will get you to blowing your top, and though it’s tempting to start strong, sipping a mild piña colada while taking in the ambiance (we’re talking floor-to-ceiling Hawaiian island theme, complete with periodic “thunderstorms”) will have you swaying like a palm tree in a warm breeze. As a delightful touch, the whole place smells of baking spices and burnt rum, thanks to liberal use of cinnamon on top of their fiery drinks, which launch sparkling flames high enough to tickle the faux-thatched ceiling.
If you’ve ever dreamed of running away with the circus, Funhouse Lounge is your bar. Main-stage entertainment on weekends runs the gamut of “fringe” theater and includes burlesque shows, stand-up comedy, improv performances and live game shows. In the adjoining Bar and Clown Room, grab a beer or a shot and admire the dozens upon dozens of (semi-creepy) clown portraits that line the walls.
The Coffin Club
Tighten your corset, lace up your boots and get ready to dance at The Coffin Club (previously known as Lovecraft Bar), Portland’s premier horror-themed bar. Live and DJ-ed goth, industrial, new wave, EBM and electro music fills the eerily lit space, which is centered on a small dance floor. Surrounded by paintings of “Cthulhu,” H.P. Lovecraft’s tentacled beast, child-sized coffins and voodoo shrines on all sides, the bar serves cocktails, beer, an impressive tea list and seitan sandwiches from local company Snackrilege.
Nothing beats making friends over a game of four-way Pac-Man. Like a living museum of ‘80s and ‘90s arcade games, Ground Kontrol combines your favorite thing about being a kid (gaming) with your favorite thing about being an adult (drinking). Have an argument to settle? Pop a couple of quarters into the Marvel versus Capcom machine and let Wolverine do the talking.
As much a Southern, pre-Prohibition-era museum as it is a bar, the Bible Club takes vintage Americana to a whole new level; almost everything in it was made in the United States at least 80 years ago; even the nondescript yellow house in which it sits dates back to 1922. The bar has a low-key, speakeasy vibe, serving beautifully crafted cocktails on lace doilies so precious that your grandma would shout “Amen!”
This singular Central Eastside bar was founded with the goal of giving customers “something to look at at all times.” Mission accomplished — at Creepy’s, some of the stuff even looks back. Circus monkeys clap sporadically, questionable taxidermy lends an air of quietus, and a riot of clown imagery rounds things out. The crowning achievement is a giant painting of John Quincy Adams whose motorized plastic eyeballs scan the room at a nearly undetectable crawl. All this is more than enough to warrant a drink; choose from the expected beer-and-shot specials or creative cocktails. If you’ve managed to maintain an appetite, the menu includes fried chicken and Taylor Pork Roll sandwiches as well as deep-fried whole peanuts and sriracha hush puppies.
Wyrd Leatherworks and Mead Bar
The name is pronounced “weird,” but it’s not that kind of Portland bar. Come Vikings, come elves, come mages, to Portland’s first medieval-themed mead hall and leather shop. Opened in Southeast Portland’s Woodstock neighborhood in 2020, Wyrd could pass for a tavern in the Middle Ages (or Middle Earth) were it not for the fortunate lack of, say, diphtheria. Order from an array of meads brewed on-site and from other local meaderies — BYOV (vessel); drinking horns recommended. The menu stays on theme with Nordic-inspired stews and meat and cheese plates. Wyrd’s retail side offers handmade goods like bracelets, belts and intricately engraved drinking horns.
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