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. 

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...

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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Ryan Wolf