With Portland's big Pride Northwest celebration coming up this weekend, I've created a guide to the city's top GLBT nightspots. As a resident of Oregon's largest city, I'm probably like a lot of gay bar-goers in that I tend to frequent a mix of establishments, from conventional gay clubs and bars to mixed places that might include anything from fun restaurants with diverse followings to clubs and arts spaces like Rotture and Holocene, which frequently have queer events. So in this alphabetical list of recommended hangouts, I've tried to include a good variety of gay clubs, intriguing restaurants, and mixed gay/straight lounges.
Portland doesn't have one specific gay neighborhood or entertainment district, although the majority of gay bars are either in the Old Town/Chinatown district on the north edge of downtown, or a few blocks away around downtown's Stark Street corridor (an area some refer to as the West End). You'll find establishments popular with gays and lesbians all over town, though. Near downtown, the hip Pearl District and bustling Northwest 23rd/21st corridors have lots of great restaurants, cafés, and bars. And across the river, numerous hipster-favored neighborhoods with scads of notable lounges and eateries claim a sizable queer presence - these include, but are by no means limited to, the Division/Clinton strip, Hawthorne, Belmont, 28th and Burnside, the Central Industrial East Side (aka Inner East), the Mississippi Avenue Arts District, the North Williams bike corridor, and the Alberta Arts District. I've included a handful of restaurants and bars in these East Side areas, but if you're an ardent bar adventurer, I suggest simply dropping by any of these areas and pounding the pavement. You'll encounter like-minded revelers at countless establishments in these areas.
In addition to this new Portland Gay Bar Guide, take a look at my Portland Gallery, which includes a number of other attractions, restaurants, hotels, and other points of GLBT interest around town. I'm planning to overhaul this gallery a bit this summer, adding a number of new spots, but there's a lot of interesting stuff in here for now. Additionally, I'm in the middle of creating a Seattle Gay Bar Guide - here's the current version, but I'll be adding to this and writing more detailed descriptions of each bar in the next few days, in time for upcoming Seattle Gay Pride.