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5 Nightlife Gems You Can Only Find In Portland

by Dan Tracer January 21, 2016


You may not immediately think of nightlife when visiting weird, wonderful Portland, but the bustling city offers a unique blend of opportunities to let your hair down for the night, from unique music scenes, dancing and, of course, drinking.

Although let’s face it, if you’re in Portland, chances are your hair is already flowing freely.

But whatever kind of hair day you find yourself having, we’re sure you’ll look amazing at any of these five don’t-miss nightlife gems Stumptown boasts, and many more in Travel Portland’s Guide to LGBT life.

1. Mississippi Studios


A regular host to queer dance parties and indie rock shows, Mississippi Studios (located in the historic and uber-hipster Mississippi district) is about as “Portland” as it gets. The venue prides itself on its top-of-the-line sound experience for being such an intimate space, making it attractive to some bigger acts that could easily fill larger halls. Plus, you can get a killer burger in the attached restaurant next door — a win/win if you ask us.

2. Doug Fir Restaurant, Bar and Lounge

doug fir03

Imagine your granny’s cabin suddenly became the “it” bar in town, and you’ve conjured up the Doug Fir. The food is good ole diner with a hearty Northwestern twist and the sound system was built for loud guitars. It’s not all queer all the time, but it is full of young Portlandites more likely to judge you for your fashion sense than your sexual preference.

3. Star Theater


Stepping into the Star Theater is like tumbling back to a time of raucous entertainment and bawdy delights. Noted gay filmmaker Gus Van Sant (Milk, My Own Private Idaho) owned the place for a spell during the ’90s, and each change in ownership adds more quirky layers onto a venue already rich with local history. Nowadays you’ll find a satisfying roster of indie bands taking the stage, but the red velvet curtains still give it that burlesque feel.

4. C.C. Slaughter’s


When indie rock just won’t cut it and your dancing shoes are craving the latest electro-pop beats, C.C. Slaughter’s is your place to dance ’til you drop. Featuring a huge dance floor and the additional Rainbow Room Lounge, the club welcomes gay men and women (and their friends) of all ages. Be warned: meeting up for “a drink” at C.C.’s can easily lead to a 2 a.m. stumble out the door.

5. Holocene


It doesn’t matter if you’re gay or straight at Holocene — it only matters if you’ve heard of the obscure song that’s keeping the packed dance floor gyrating. While C.C.’s might serve you Britney Spears, Holocene is more likely to give you Brittnay Howard, the indomitable front woman of the Alabama Shakes. It also plays host to one of the city’s best monthly queer dance parties, Gaycation.

Discover all of the Portland Zines and Travel Portland’s Guide to LGBT life

Dan Tracer
Dan Tracer


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