truly outdoor seating at restaurants/bars in Portland, OR
March 4, 2023 9:10 AM   Subscribe

Looking for recommendations for good restaurants and bars in Portland, Oregon, in the SE, with outdoor seating!

My girlfriends and I are finally resuming our annual trip to Portland that was suspended when Covid started. None of us are comfortable eating inside, so we're looking for restaurants and bars with truly outdoor seating. A roof over a patio is fine, but I'm not interested in places where they've basically walled in all the sides and made an enclosed space that's only technically "outdoors".

We're staying a couple blocks off SE Hawthorne so preference for that neighborhood, but we will have a car so can easily go elsewhere. One of the people I'm traveling with has food allergies and another is a very picky eater so we typically do best with pubs/bar food where you can get a standard hamburger, fries, etc. Definitely more interested in low-key neighborhood bars than fancier places with $20 cocktails.

Also interested in restaurants that serve breakfast! Thanks!
posted by skycrashesdown to Travel & Transportation around Portland, OR (13 answers total) 7 users marked this as a favorite
Flying Fish. On E Burnside (so a little bit of a schlep up from Hawthorne).

Not sure about the menu given your group's food preferences, but it's on Belmont: Mirisata! Sri Lankan food and worker owned! Though I think the recent snowstorm caused damage to their covered patio, so it may be less ideal for super rainy days.
posted by spamandkimchi at 9:34 AM on March 4 [1 favorite]

Oh! And the Hawthorne Asylum food cart pod has a big covered seating area in the back (near where the bathrooms are) with heat lamps. The fire pit tends to get crowded.
posted by spamandkimchi at 9:37 AM on March 4 [1 favorite]

Toast on SE 52nd serves great breakfast and has covered open-air seating.

Kay's Bar in Sellwood is a good neighborhood pub and they have typical pub food. They have some tables on the sidewalk.

Wayfinder on SE 2nd has a huge patio and offers open-air covered or non-covered seating. Good food.

Check out offerings and prices on everyone's website, though. Eating in restaurants has gotten pretty pricy in the past year.

When is this trip? It could be cold and rainy, so just want to know if the best suggestions need to take that into account.
posted by happy_cat at 9:37 AM on March 4

Response by poster: Ah yes should have added, trip is in early May! So weather will hopefully be somewhat cooperative, but who knows?
posted by skycrashesdown at 9:49 AM on March 4

posted by togdon at 10:03 AM on March 4 [1 favorite]

Por Que No on Hawthorne has a back patio that, last time I saw it, was open air. You walk through the interior of the restaurant to get to it.
posted by happy_cat at 10:11 AM on March 4

In NE but still worth a mention: Victoria Bar. Beautiful dog-friendly outdoor space with heaters, though you do have to go to the bar to order. Don't miss the cocktail menu if you're a Princess Bride fan.
posted by Lyn Never at 10:17 AM on March 4

Portland has like a million food cart pods. Food cart pod is your search term. From memory, most of these are open-air but with tons of people. This was pre-covid. I can only assume they're even more popular today.

Portland also has like a million public parks. Pick your favorite restaurant and take the food to a park.
posted by aniola at 10:48 AM on March 4 [1 favorite]

Yay for COVID-cautious dining in SE Portland! This is right in my wheelhouse, I hate being told there is outdoor seating and then having to back out when I'm led to a fully enclosed plastic bubble.

For brunch: Bar Carlo and The Hazel Room.

For dinner/bar: Tons of restaurants along the 28th corridor running Stark to Glisan- too many to link, just wander!- Ken's Artisan Pizza, Paadee (this is maybe a little too enclosed except for a couple tables, but was more open last spring/summer), Guero, Stammtisch (probably closest to your bar/pub food despite the German tilt), Pambiche. There's also a food cart pod there between Ankeny and Ash.

On Division, for a bar with good pub food, there is The Richmond Bar. (The back patio always has sturdy walls but in past spring/summers they've taken off the plastic sheeting over the roof so it's open air, and there are also tables along the outside front and side, though the side allows smoking). The Automatic also has outdoor seating and a decent enough menu. A bit off the main stretch there is Sckavone's for a very low-key vibe and more extensive menu (this is much more of a "deep cut/sleeper hit", but the fried chicken sandwich and beet salad are winners).

For sandwiches, there is Meat Cheese Bread. Por Que No is excellent, but we usually get takeout so I haven't checked out the Hawthorne patio in quite some time to say if it's enclosed or not. In the summer, the whole front was open-air, so sitting "inside" at the front window if the glass is gone is effectively eating outside. If you want another Mexican option, if you go a bit farther south you could also check out Rocios on Gladstone.

For a bit fancier/niche/pricier, (not what you asked, but hopefully helpful to others) check out Jacqueline or Nostrana (patio re-opening this week!). Not to be confused with Mirisata, I like Mestizo on Division. Canard in Portland on Burnside used to have a great setup on a plywood platform on the side street but shut it down over the winter- not sure if it's coming back come warmer weather. The Oregon City Location has a dedicated patio and even when enclosed it's with breathable canvas walls, though I hope those will come down in spring/summer.

Sorry for the haphazard linking. I hope you have an amazing trip!
posted by alygator at 10:51 AM on March 4 [3 favorites]

Just went to Portland a couple times last year so this should all still be up-to-date! We went to a couple fancy spots in SE but, like many comments recommend above, otherwise ate at food carts, where outdoors on a picnic bench is the only seating option. Fried Egg I'm In Love, my favorite food cart I went to, has a spot on Hawthorne and if you're willing to walk up to Belmont I loved Viking Soul Food for Scandinavian-inspired wraps. I also found Tov Coffee and Tea super charming; they serve coffee, tea, and pastries out of a converted bus and it has an open-air roof deck.

Downtown, given your dietary stipulations I'd strongly recommend either the Backwoods or Deschutes brewery (yes, for food too). All have fully outdoor seating (I sat outdoors at all three), as did every other brewery we visited, and we went to around 10-12 different breweries.
posted by capricorn at 7:32 PM on March 4

Gigantic Brewing just opened a new spot on SE Hawthorne. Good options on food and great beer.
posted by perhapses at 9:04 PM on March 4

Check out Horse Brass. - - Famous beer bar with really good pub food. They have an outdoor patio seating out front, and then they often have some in a weird outdoor hallway that you would have to walk through the restaurant to get to. It is open/airy in the hallway, though.
posted by fillsthepews at 1:59 PM on March 6

On N. Williams:
Migration Brewing on has an open air patio in the back.

Shine Distillery has a roof top patio and sidewalk tables (and a bubble machine which is delightful.)

Life of Pie has outside tables and the doors are roll up so it can be inside/outside.

Vendetta Bar has a big outside area.

The Waypost has a large outside area.

Food carts are the way to go, although sometimes they can be crowded, thus negating the whole outside thing.
posted by vespabelle at 8:09 PM on March 6

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