Despite the city’s laid-back energy at craft breweries during the day, nightclubs in Portland bring out a distinct blend of passionate partiers and a community of small-venue lovers, making this one of the most free-spirited and inclusive cities to go clubbing. Find some varied late-night vibes around Stumptown at these 13 nightclubs.
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Portland nightclubs’ fierce independence has not prevented their hardships in recent months. However, due to the Covid-19 pandemic, the nightclub scene has been put on pause, and some face the risk of closing their doors for good. In a city that sees hotspots come and go with consistency, this added threat compounds the struggle facing the city’s nightclub culture. But locals can agree: Portlanders’ enthusiasm for their nightclubs bodes well for the perseverance of these party spots.
Part piano bar, part patio hangout and part vibrant nightclub, the Barrel Room offers something for everyone in a rustic downtown Portland setting. The interior holds tables and a live band stage (offering dueling piano shows and singalong nights) and tends to fill quickly at night. If you’re unable to snag a seat, the outdoor patio is open year-round and among the city’s largest.
Located in a former auto-parts warehouse in Portland’s east side, Holocene has acted as the city’s go-to party since 2003. Featuring two dance floors and a mix of live bands and DJ sets most nights, this nightclub is best known for its high-energy themed dance parties, centered around decades, genres and even specific artists.
Slightly newer to the Portland nightclub scene, Barbarella moved into Portland’s Old Town entertainment district in 2019 but has already become two things Portlanders love most: inexpensive and energetic. Model your dance moves along with Madonna at the club’s ’80s music video dance nights, or hang out among the sci-fi kitsch in the upstairs loft.
The log-cabin decor that makes up the basement of the Jupiter Hotel in the Central Eastside neighborhood pays homage to the city’s lumber industry while also playing host to major concerts, DJ sets and parties. Live acts and DJ nights both tend to draw big crowds, so you might want to arrive early – a great excuse to kill time in the venue’s chic dining area upstairs.
If your idea of a late-night nightlife is all about the dancing, downtown Portland’s Dirty Nightclub should be at the top of your must-visit list. While it’s one of the more traditional nightclubs in the Old Town entertainment district, the club still works to emphasize the city’s weird side. Recognizing Portland’s title as “Strip Club Capital of the US,” it has several built-in dancer poles that patrons are free to hop on.
Playing both neighborhood staple and citywide club favorite, the Goodfoot sits in an unassuming spot in Portland’s Buckman neighborhood on the east side. Start the night on the bar’s first floor, a pool hall reminiscent of some of the city’s best dive bars, and then move down to the sweaty and lively basement dance hall, complete with indie tunes and vinyl-spinning DJs that make up a night well spent.
Since 1947, the Alibi has given Portland a quirky nightlife destination like few others. Offering a true taste of a vintage tiki bar, it’s sprawling interior is a trip to the island-life kitsch of the ’50s and ’60s. Come for the themed drinks, late-night tunes and frequent karaoke events.
Need more bass in your nights out? Head underground to the factory-feel of 45 East, in the inner Portland Southeast industrial area. This tried-and-true nightclub disproves the myth that the city doesn’t rave; touring DJs with international acclaim regularly stop by for shows trailing into the morning. Join Portland’s club kids most nights for laser lights, EDM and some of the best dancing in town.
North Portland’s Killingsworth Dynasty endears itself to all visitors in a variety of ways. Distinct drinks such as the Ash Cat and Grifter, all-vegan late-night bar food (including a full selection of waffles) and dance nights ranging from hipster hangouts to the city’s best LGBTQ parties are just some of the reasons this nightclub in Portland pulls its weight as one of the top spots in town.
CC Slaughters in Old Town has been a gay-bar standby since the early ’80s, drawing in people from the entire Pacific Northwest region with its LGBTQ events. Depending on the day, drag nights, all-request dance parties and obligatory Pride month bashes invite visitors and residents alike to celebrate the Rose City’s LGBTQ culture.
Like many McMenamins-owned clubs in Portland, the Crystal Ballroom is an adult playground, combining a music venue, nightclub and theme bar set in a revamped 1900s dance studio. Not far from Powell’s City of Books and other Portland hotspots north of downtown, the main hall attracts some of the city’s largest touring acts, while the secondary dance hall, Lola’s Room, keeps things intimate with smaller acts and DJ sets.
Vary your nights out with an emphasis on your dance moves at Aztec Willie’s Latin-dancing nights. A daytime haunt for Portlanders who love Mexican food, it hosts Cuban, Columbian and salsa dance parties with live DJs most nights.
Portland likes to throw it back to the old days. Jones, situated in the popular Old Town entertainment district, is an ’80s- and ’90s-centric nightclub that caters to the city’s vintage vibe. It has a classic feel, with reliable drink deals during happy hour and a huge dance floor. This bar is a must-hit stop on a night of visiting Portland’s best nightclubs.