13 Uniquely Strange Portland Restaurants To Check Out

When it comes to quirky, funky, and boldly unique businesses, few American cities can hold a candle to the innate eccentricities of Portland, Oregon. Living up to its "Keep Portland Weird" slogan (via Slate), this is a city that truly marches to the beat of its own unique drum. The cheeky singularity of this northwestern city is also on full display in its diverse patchwork of neighborhood bars and restaurants that extend from the Alberta Arts District to Nob Hill, with seemingly endless businesses rooted in concepts you simply will not find anywhere else in the country.

From quasi-haunted cocktail bars — complete with glowing cocktails and ravens — and cinnamon bun-specific bakeries to kombucha pubs, waffle donuts, feminist sports bars, and clown-themed dives, Portland has no shortage of originality in the dining and drinking space. It's what makes this one of America's most eclectic — and endlessly entertaining — food cities. Whether you're looking to eat a smash burger under an Elvira portrait, sip a booze-free cocktail, or drink a beer in a former church, the city has you covered. Here are several uniquely strange Portland restaurants and bars to put on your "Keep Portland Weird" dining and drinking itinerary.

Raven's Manor

If Edgar Allan Poe were to get into the bar business, Raven's Manor would be his pièce de résistance. It's far beyond a typical cocktail bar and restaurant and more like a murky laboratory of billowing cocktails, faux cobwebs, gnarly gargoyles, and liquor bottles that look more like potions. This nondescript downtown bar is truly in an eerie league all its own — and it's one of the most unexpectedly fun dining experiences in town.

Perpetually dark and endearingly ominous, illuminated by chandeliers and glowing ice cubes, Raven's Manor feels more like a lofty haunted house than someplace you'd go for fettuccine Alfredo, making this the unique place where you can accomplish both cravings in one go. Whether sitting at the main bar or in one of the cozy booths clad in ravens and spider-webbed books, the bar serves drinks like the green-hued Exorcist (made with blood orange liqueur, naturally) and Dr. Raven's Reserve, an ever-changing mystery cocktail served in a potions flask. Pair it with some Graveyard Dip (aka cheesy artichoke dip) and a Grilled Cheese of Darkness (served on bread as black as a cauldron), then feel free to explore the downstairs basement, where various rooms are decorated like torture chambers and blood-splattered labs.


"Keep Portland Creepy" might be a more fitting phrase than "Keep Portland Weird," as evidenced by the city's surplus of eerie — and hilariously sinister — bars, restaurants, and cafés. This is, after all, the city where Voodoo Doughnut originated, and fried dough comes jabbed with pretzels (via Attractions Magazine). Another prime example is Creepy's. The bar on the near east side would feel like your run-of-the-mill craft cocktail bar if it weren't for the fact that nearly every inch of the walls is decorated with creepy clowns, taxidermy, sultry Elvira portraits, and dolls that look like they come to life at night.

Despite having an ambiance that would make Pennywise the clown feel right at home, Creepy's boasts some seriously legit cocktails and smash burgers. As long as you can ignore the dead-eyed stuffed animals and deer heads that appear like they're gazing into your soul, this is a fine spot for a Black Manhattan (a riff on the classic made with amaro in place of vermouth, per Liquor.com), a local beer, and a smash burger fresh off the griddle with a side of golden waffle fries.

Freakybuttrue Peculiarium

Part art gallery, part museum, part haunted house, and part ice cream shop, the Freakybuttrue Peculiarium in the adorable Nob Hill neighborhood is its own special breed of Portland-style quirky. It's also one you won't soon forget. Don't be dissuaded by the demon figurine outside the front door or the ample warnings about scary, uncomfortable installations that lie behind the entry curtains. This one-of-a-kind place is more cynical, zany, and hilariously peculiar than it is frightening. Unless, of course, the idea of bug sundaes is nightmare fuel.

After a stroll through the small museum, where wonky satirical exhibits run the gamut from Krampus to spontaneous human combustion, the main lobby features a counter serving frozen treats that will definitely have you screaming for ice cream. Bug sundaes are the main attraction (or horror show) here. Made with scoops of ice cream, caramel, chocolate "ooze," an ant cookie, and bug larvae (via Bucket List Journey), it's a sweet treat so audacious that anyone who eats it gets their photo emblazoned on the hall of fame.

Steeplejack Brewing Company

One reliable truth about Portland is that few things are exactly as they seem. For instance, what might look like a Craftsman-era church in the Sullivan Gulch neighborhood on the southeast side is actually a brewpub slinging pale ales and teriyaki mushroom tacos in a building that originally stood as a church in the early 1900s. Nowadays, it's out with the Eucharist and in with the brews, burgers, and mashed potato croquettes at Steeplejack Brewing Company.

The original Broadway location of this local beer darling has become a family-friendly watering hole that just so happens to contain soaring chapel ceilings and an ornate stained glass fixture directly behind the bar. There's a lengthy array of house-brewed beers to sample here, covering every style from Vienna lagers to Kolsch. Along with cocktails (the Spicy Bloody Mary, infused with peppers, feels especially on-brand), a playful all-day food menu includes breakfast, pastries, bar snacks, sandwiches, and sweets.


One thing distinguishing Portland as a particularly unique dining city is its abundance of hyper-specific restaurant, bar, and bakery concepts. You'll find endless destinations focusing on one particular item and going wild with it. One group that excels at this is MMMco., a collective of restaurants that includes Bae's Fried Chicken, Rock Paper Fish for fish and chips, and the burger-slinging SuperDeluxe drive-thru (via MMMco.). One of the latest to join the party is Kinnamon's, a bakery treading exclusively in over-the-top cinnamon rolls that go well beyond the standard.

Located in the Pearl District, this highly specialized bakery serves doughy delicacies so extravagant and distinct that they make red velvet cinnamon rolls look modest. Each fluffy, oversized cinnamon roll eschews the typical cream cheese slather in favor of decadent frostings and toppings that make these things look more like elaborately decorated mini cakes. Rotating flavors include banana cream pie, blueberry crumble, dulce de leche hazelnut, passion fruit chocolate, and strawberry lemon curd. Of course, if you still crave a classic cream cheese version, Kinnamon's has you covered with enough tangy-sweet glaze to knock your socks off.

Doug Fir Lounge

Nestled inside the Jupiter Hotel on Portland's east side, the Doug Fir Lounge would look more at home in the middle of the Oregon woods. It's decorated like an homage to the forested Northwest with enough polished lumber to construct a cottage. The log cabin-themed bar and music venue is a rustic-chic hideaway with a retro '70s vibe, huge comfy booths, a vast patio, and an endearingly creepy Bigfoot totem standing guard by the door. And that makes sense, considering this wood-filled bar definitely looks like the kind of watering hole any sasquatch would frequent. 

Open morning through late night, it's breakfast by day and vegan jackfruit tacos — with a side of rock-heavy live music — by night at this eclectic all-day haunt. Cheeky comfort food is the bill of fare. It's the kind of place where steak frites comes with waffle fries, and a dish called Harissa Explains It All is a fragrant vegan stew of sweet potatoes, chickpeas, and red pepper with warm, fluffy naan for dunking. Cocktails like the on-tap Negroni-ish Jigsaw Puzzle tread in the classics, and there's a well-curated selection of Oregon-centric wines and crisp craft beers.


Anyone who has seen "Portlandia" will recognize the city as a mecca of local sourcing, foraging, and cooking techniques so specific that it's almost comical. Fermenter, a kombucha pub and vegetarian restaurant and deli specializing in "all things funky," is "Portlandia" personified. Far from satire, this place is the real deal. Located in the Buckman neighborhood on the southeast side, the aptly funky restaurant from chef-owner Aaron Adams describes itself as "your friendly neighborhood beneficial bacteria emporium" (via Fermenter).

Local agriculture, seasonal ingredients, and fermentation are the focal points at this sleek, plant-filled — and plant-based — restaurant and deli. Along with fermented beverages like beer and wine and fermented favorites like bread and kombucha, the restaurant ferments its own tempeh, cheeses, and koji (a kind of Japanese mold used in everything from miso to bread to seafood). Ingredients are sourced from local farms and purveyors and used for items like koji beet Reuben sandwiches, quinoa bowls studded with millet lentil tempeh, and an earthy miso garlic toast. Housemade kombucha, ginger beer, and kefir (which might be the new kombucha, after all) anchor the beverage list, along with boozy wine slushies, iced tea, coffee, and tea.

Never Coffee

Any coffee shop that bills itself as a "coffee lab" is sure to be a little whimsical and offbeat. Indeed, downtown Portland's Never Coffee is less a run-of-the-mill coffee shop and more a twee fever dream of a café. This glam, airy spot for exotic lattes and single-origin java in a pastel-hued space looks like something from a Wes Anderson movie.

The café rounds out its coffee program with ever-changing lattes so intricate and pretty that they feel more like caffeinated mixology than your standard espresso order. On any given morning, Never Coffee's latte lineup might include the Midnight Oil, an aromatic medley of sweet fennel seed, star anise, and black licorice that's described as "dark, moody, and scary delicious with a sweetness that haunts you, stalks you, and eventually devours you" (via Never Coffee). If that sounds too ominous, opt for the decidedly brighter Yuzu + Salt, a zesty combo of tart yuzu fruit, sansho pepper, burnt sugar, Oregon salt, and coconut cream. In a city renowned for its coffee scene, this is one café that colors boldly outside the lines.


Comfort food doesn't come any cozier than it does at brunch-centric HunnyMilk. This charming daytime café takes quirky cookery so seriously that it offers a whole menu of doughnut-inspired delights. In a city like Portland, where doughnut culture is a thriving rite of passage, this is one place that transforms those deep-fried inspirations into a full-blown menu of sweet and savory doughnut dishes, complete with elaborate presentations, seasonal ingredients, and unconventional accouterments.

At first glance, HunnyMilk might look like your standard Americana bakery, but things work a little differently at this sunny shop. For starters, it operates as a set menu, where guests select one savory dish and one sweet treat, with everything on the menu incorporating a doughnut in some form or another. Savory options include the "everything" beignet Benedict and popcorn chicken with waffle doughnuts. The sweets range from blueberry-stuffed sourdough pancake doughnuts with key lime curd ice cream to carrot cake doughnuts with cream cheese pudding, candy carrot butter, carrot glaze, and pecan toffee.


A flavorful, fruity, and unabashedly spicy example of Portland's hyper-focused restaurant scene is Eem. This buzzy restaurant on the northeast side is described as a Thai BBQ cocktail lounge with a tiki tilt and, as the menu highlights, "deep fried funk." Helmed by local restauranteurs Earl Ninsom, Eric Nelson, and Matt Vicedomini, this lunch and dinner hot spot exudes tropical vacation vibes, transporting guests to the lush shores of Phuket with big, bold flavors and cocktails as colorful as the jungle-chic decor.

The food menu is refreshingly concise, offering a handful of pungent snacks and curries rooted in the Thai tradition. These include sweet and sour fried chicken punched up with red curry powder, hot and spicy cauliflower glazed in fish sauce and chili jam, and smoked pork krapao (a plate of shatteringly crispy pork belly burnt ends with a runny fried egg, Thai basil, and a side of fluffy white rice). Heartier fare includes a creamy white curry with brisket burnt ends and the comparatively sweeter massaman curry (thanks to coconut milk, per Shugary Sweets) studded with smoked lamb shoulder and peanuts for a bit of salty crunch. The cocktails are equally transportive. Try the Piña Colada infused with coffee and bee pollen or the Pandan Express, a sweet frozen mix of rum, velvet falernum, sweet cream, lime, and pandan (a bright-green Asian leaf that bursts with tea-like flavor).


After starting as an alcohol-free cocktail kit company in 2020, Suckerpunch evolved into Portland's very first zero-proof cocktail bar (via Willamette Week). With nonalcoholic drinks on the rise across the country (via Beverage Dynamics), it was only a matter of time before one of America's most cutting-edge cities led the way and set the trend.

While Suckerpunch works to open its permanent booze-free bar location, the company spent the summer of 2022 operating a pop-up "speakeasy" at Goat Blocks in SE Portland. It offered an early taste of its zero-proof libations and served up seasonally driven drinks with all the same meticulous mixology as any of the city's lauded cocktail bars — minus the booze, of course. Ingredients like verjus, tonic, honeycomb cordials, dill oil, and Mandarin soda sub in for distilled spirits, resulting in intricate and beautiful drinks like Light Rail Coyote, with verjus, pear, turmeric, sage, and aquafaba.

The Sports Bra

Sports bars are nothing novel in Portland (or anywhere else, for that matter), but a lesbian-owned sports bar dedicated entirely to women's sports? That definitely has Portland singularity written all over it. Cheekily dubbed The Sports Bra, the new concept opened in the spring of 2022 (per NBC). The goal was to bridge the gap between typical sports bars and LGBTQIA+ bars, creating a space that's more inclusive and different compared to the rest of the city's sporty watering holes.

Dedicated entirely to women's sports, The Sports Bra's mission is to support, empower, and promote girls and women in pro and amateur athletics. Beyond the TV screens, though, the bar celebrates women by featuring women-owned Freeland Spirits in its signature cocktails, including The Goat, which is a refreshing mix of gin, Aperol, tangerine juice, and soda water. The food menu also strives for inclusion. It goes beyond the average pub fare to offer items for vegans and those with gluten and dairy allergies, like tempeh Reubens, cauliflower fried in turmeric chickpea butter, and burgers that can be made without meat.

Voodoo Doughnut

When it comes to discussing Portland's quirky food scene, it's impossible not to bow down to one of the city's original "weird" progenitors — Voodoo Doughnut. Before inventive doughnut shops swept the country and became the norm, Portland's home-grown Voodoo Doughnut was frying dough in the shape of voodoo dolls from its original Old Town outpost and satisfying late-night revelers at its conveniently located post between clubs. This makes sense, considering the shop is open almost 24 hours a day.

Clad in quirky tints of bright pink and neon, with frosted doughnuts just as colorful, all locations of this local institution are known for their inventive originals and rotating flavors. A staple is the Voodoo Doll, a yeast doughnut in the shape of a voodoo doll filled with raspberry jelly topped with chocolate frosting and a salted pretzel stick. Other eccentric options include the summery Strawberry Crush, a cream-filled strawberry-frosted doughnut served on an ice cream stick, and the Guava Colada, a guava jelly-filled fritter with vanilla frosting, coconut flakes, and a cocktail umbrella toothpick.