First Friday at Portland's

Looking for something to do this weekend? "Night Owl" is a quick guide to special nights at bars and clubs around town. We'll give you a few hints re: cover, dress code, music and atmosphere. First Fridays feature DJs and drink specials at Portland's. 

DJ 812 at Portland's.
DJ 812 at Portland's.
Ryan Wolf

First Friday at Portland's offers the funky turntable techniques of DJ 812, a $3 rotating tap of national and local beers and best of all a perfect place to people watch.

Check out the most recent edition here and a full recap after the jump...

$3 Devil's Ale was the rotating beer special at Portland's First Friday.
$3 Devil's Ale was the rotating beer special at Portland's First Friday.
Ryan Wolf

The Place: 105 W. Portland St., Phoenix, AZ 85003


The Time: 8 p.m. - 12 a.m., Every First Friday.

The Cover: None.

The Parking: Limited street parking. 

The Bar: Portland's has an interesting layout centered around a circular bar, which maximizes the amount of counter seating and bartender-attention-grabbing space. The scene inside the bar was all about conversation whereas the patio was more about music and gyration. 

First Friday's drink special is a $3 rotating tap. This week's brew of choice was a $3 can of Devil's Ale, a citrusy pale ale brewed by the local SanTan Brewing Company. We don't know exactly how a rotating tap can be a can but maybe they're just trying to keep Portland weird. 

The Music: A groove-heavy collection of funky and soulful standards scratched together by DJ 812. The tables on the patio were cleared to the side, forming a dance floor. There weren't too many people shaking it but those that chose to did so quite passionately but also pretty badly.

The Art: Chris Masiello's pastoral pastel-colored watercolors of little landscapes decorated one of the inside walls. They didn't exactly jump off the wall and didn't particularly fit the bar either. 

The Style: A smattering of styles. One thing is for sure though, keep it casual at Portland's and don your denim. Literally every single person at the bar was in jeans.

The People: A typical Downtown Phoenix crowd of folks in their twenties and thirties. A few people came to dance but the majority came for drinks and discourse. 

What we loved: The soulful sounds and actual turntable skills of DJ 812.

What we didn't love: Overall, it was a pretty cool spot. The biggest negatives were the lack of parking, haphazard dance floor and that the DJ called it a night two hours before closing time.

Are we going back? We can't wait to get drunk with funk again next First Friday. 

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