Top Cocktail Spots in the Pearl
The Pearl is a lovely and affluent neighborhood in the Northwest quadrant of Portland. It has some of the priciest housing in around and is located along the iconic streetcar route and easily accessible from Downtown Portland and Nob Hill/Alphabet District! There are many lovely galleries and an event called “First Thursdays” Find out more here.
Plus, Powell’s Books is there! Don’t leave Portland without checking out the largest independently owned bookstore in the world.
One may ask “Why is the Pearl District named the Pearl District”? According to the Pearl District Business Association, a local gallery owner named the name Pearl District around the turn of the century to suggest that some of its worn down industrial buildings were like dirty oysters and that the galleries and artists' lofts within were like pearls. I always love a good oyster analogy! I am a Cajun after all.
Let’s get to it!
I love this hot spot (in the bar) to start the night with small plates and the famed “sacsayhuaman” cocktail pronounced (sac-say- woman) composed of habanero vodka, pure cane sugar, and pureed passionfruit with a sugar rim. Don’t worry, it’s not too hot or too sweet! The tartness of the passionfruit shines in this lovely libation.The drink is named after a citadel outside of Cusco and that makes sense because Andina is owned and operated by Peruvians and is a Portland icon in terms of longevity in the Portland food scene.The bar has live music many nights and is very festive! Check it out here.
Insider tip: Leave off the sugar rim for more tartness to shine through!
What can I say? These guys are cocktail artists. If their lovely website is not proof of that, then have one of their ever-changing seasonal cocktails. Having worked in the Pearl for 5 years starting in 2006 I was lucky enough to sample many of their cocktails over the years. They opened in 2007 and gave way to the cocktail scene as it exists in Portland. We take our cocktails very seriously here in the City of Roses. I’m a whiskey and tequila girl so I typically go for those spirits when ordering; however, I know you can’t go wrong. Before house made everything was the uber rage these guys were making bitters and intricately flavored cocktails with the best ingredients possible. For a well-balanced cocktail in a lovely space with some of the best bartenders in the city stop here!
This last recommendation has been a Pearl staple for many years and focuses on martinis. When I worked in the Pearl District Friday nights were meant for sipping on the pineapple habanero infused vodka martini! It is delicious and dangerous. There’s absolutely alcohol in this slightly sweet and slightly spicy libation. Go on Sundays and Mondays as happy hour is featured all day. Yes, I’m SERIOUS folks. Enjoy!
Melissa Guidry | Founder of ZestyPDX
My name is Melissa Guidry and I moved to Portland 13 years ago via a transplant from Louisiana very near New Orleans. I've been a gastronomy tour guide for four years creating itineraries and guiding local food tours as well as in guiding historical and cultural tours in Europe. Before working in tourism I worked for a culinary and design school here in beautiful Portland, Oregon. Trying new restaurants filled with gastronomic delights is a hobby and passion for me along with cooking, voracious food blog reading, my own blogging, and hosting meals for friends and family. And, don't forget travel- it's an equal love of mine! So please join me fellow travelers (and locals too) on an adventure filled with eating, history, and fun!