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