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Best Gay Bars in Portland

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Posted by Joseph on June 19, 2015
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Where can a gay man act like a gay man? Well, pretty much anywhere nowadays. Yes, baby, we’ve come a long way. But there was a time when gays felt most at home in bars, specifically gay bars.
For decades gay bars were fun—and  necessary—for men who wanted to hang out with other men, but with the mainstreaming of queer culture many believe they have outlived their usefulness.  
Grindr, Scruff and other hook-up-friendly social apps just might make them obsolete. Now, most gay hook-ups happen online. And then there is the hard-earned truth that same-sex marriage is sanctioned by the state. The mainstreaming of queer culture could mean that gay bars might go the way of lava lamps, pet rocks and VCRs.
Still others will argue that men will always need a place where they can still dance their asses off whether they are wearing gold lamé short shorts and a rainbow-hued headband or Levi’s and a tight wife-beater. And drink. Yes, gay bars are still a great place to get a cocktail. Maybe two.
Perhaps that’s why we still have our share of cool men-centric watering holes that service our gay brethren. We’ve ranked these Portland bars in order of outrageousness. They are here. They are queer.
And they would love you to come in and get your gay on. Here is a list of the Top 12 Gay Bars in Portland.

1. Eagle Portland

The one. The only. The Eagle Portland. Where every night seems to be “naked pool night” even the clothing-optional billiards night is scheduled for Thursdays. You are just as like to see grannies hitting the slots in here as you are a trucker in leather chaps and not much else. Bear-friendly porn is on nearly every screen so watching the big game here might not be a good option. Big game hunting? Well, that can be arranged. (835 N Lombard St., www.eagleportland.com)


2. Silverado

Strippers in a sinfully dark room. How much more gay can it get? Well, it does. And everybody pays the four-dollar cover to come into this den of decadence. (318 SW 3rd Ave., www.silveradopdx.com)


3. C.C. Slaughter’s

Old school disco with an adjacent lounge. Every Sunday Bolivia Carmichael and a parade of drag-istas lip synch for their lives – ok, maybe just for smallish crowds – at Superstar Divas. (219 NW Davis St., ccslaughterspdx.com)


4. Scandal’s

This always evolving entertainment hub features First Thursday art shows, block parties, trivia nights, karaoke and so much more. Think of it as your one-stop shop for all things gay and fabulous. (1125 SW Stark St., scandalspdx.com)


5. Crush

Woody and his gang pour stiff drinks and throw outrageous dance parties for the boys, the girls, the bis – the just about anybodies – at this Southeast queer-centric space that hosts just as many political fundraisers as it does disco-tied dance nights. Think of it as the Studio 54 that you actually can get into on a Saturday night. (1400 SE Morrison St., crushbar.weebly.com)


6. Local Lounge

Although it says it’s not just for the gay community (and what really isn’t anymore?) the Local makes sure to attract a diverse crowd who mix it up on both the smallish dance floor and at the bar. (3536 NE MLK Blvd., local-lounge.com)


7. Joq’s Tavern

This Northeast neighborhood joint is just your average blue-collar tavern. Nothing special. And people wouldn’t want it any other way. (2512 NE Broadway, Google Plus site)


8. Embers Avenue

This old-school nightclub is where many of the cities top drag queens first got their footing in six-inch heels. Embers attracts a lot more straight than it did in the 80’s and 90’s but it still has one of the biggest dance floors in town. It recently went up for sale, so it’s hard to say how long this place will be around before we have to say goodbye. (110 NW Broadway, www.theembersavenue.com)


9. Casey’s

This recently relocated men’s bar used to have everyone scratching their heads over how the stayed open in Old Town. Now that it’s more centrally located in the meat of the city, there’s a good chance this will be the one bar that actually might stay open in this seemingly cursed space. (412 SW 4th Ave., caseyspdx.net)

10. Hobo’s

Thomas Lauderdale once tickled the ivories at this Old Town piano bar. This restaurant and lounge is a must-see for those who like their martinis and men on the neat side. (120 NW 3rd Ave., www.hobospdx.com)


11. The Fox & Hound

This little charmer is a good pre- or post-function gathering spot where people come to sit down and carry on actual conversation.  It’s not much, but it has an incredibly loyal group of regulars. Think of it as a queer Cheers. (217 NW 2nd Ave., www.foxandhound.com)

12. Starky’s

Starky’s is for those who remember that brunch is best served on Sunday with a Bloody Mary. This true original is more restaurant than bar but that doesn’t stop people from coming here for some of the stiffest drinks in town. (2913 SE Stark St., www.starkys.com)







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