No matter where I am traveling to, I love to see live music. Usually the music in any given place says a lot about the culture of that place. Opera in Rome, the Blues in New Orleans, Flamenco in Spain and perhaps Pink Martini in Portland, Oregon.
Portland has always had a decent live music scene, but it has got a lot better in the last few years, drawing more bands to its rainy boundaries. If you’re in the mood for a real, old-school concert hall, a pub with live music, or an enormous stadium show, Portland can provide.
Here are a few spots around the City of Roses which offer live tunes in intimate settings.
1. Buffalo Gap
Music every night of the week, though some Tuesdays you may find Open Mic. I’ve seen all sorts of shows at Buffalo, though you might expect rock n roll and folk. The Buffalo Gap also has a Happy Hour from 4pm to 6pm, or from 10pm to 12 midnight. NW foods are also served, from Blackened Salmon to Veggie Pies. This is an ideal spot to have food, drinks and music = the perfect combo for a night on the town.
2. Crystal Ballroom
Run by the infamous Portland bar and restaurant chain, McMenamins, Crystal Ballroom is a real ballroom with lots of room to dance. For those who prefer to hug the bar, there is an upstairs area with seating and bar service. I’ve seen many a concert at the Crystal, and have always enjoyed the bohemian vibe and the local beers on tap. The Crystal Ballroom is in downtown Portland and brings in big names in music. Check their web to see what’s on when you’re in town.
3. Mt Tabor
A lounge and concert hall, Mt Tabor is a nice local spot to have a couple drinks, some appetizers (Hummus $5, Spinach Salad $5), and then catch some live music. Located in SE Portland, you will need a car or a taxi to get to this one (same goes for Buffalo Gap).