Rarely has the construction of a rooftop bar generated as much excitement and anticipation as the one at Bayside Bowl, which officially opened for business last week.
At the same time, a stretch of warm sunny weather had much of the city of Portland in search of places to drink outside. Coincidence? I think not.
OK, fine, it was definitely a coincidence, but a very serendipitous one. It’s already been a big year for Portland’s beloved bowling alley with a recent expansion that included eight new lanes, another indoor bar area and a mezzanine to boot. The opening of the rooftop bar marks the completion of the multimillion dollar project, more than two years in the works.
After reading about the recent opening on Instagram, I dropped everything and practically ran down Congress Street to get there the minute it opened for its second day. Never have I felt such urgency to get, well, anywhere, but my punctuality proved prescient as the parking lot was full, and a stream of people in sunglasses was already filing up the stairs to the roof.
There was a palpable sense of wonder as visitors made their way through the various seating options, including couches, small tables along the railing, long wooden benches and the bar itself. Though it was 4 p.m. and not dark enough to turn them on, the zigzagging string lights overhead held the promise of many warm romantic evenings to come.
The bar is small and square but efficient, with bartenders poised to service three of the four sides. As far as beers go, there are only cans available on the roof, but the selection is varied and carefully curated to satisfy most thirsts: Modelo ($4), Moosehead ($3) and Narragansett Shandy ($4), along with Boom Sauce, Lone Pine and Rising Tide’s MITA (all $6) as some of the standouts available in 12- or 16-ounce cans.
Wine is available in glasses ($8) or bottles ($28), along with a house sangria ($8) and a featured frozen cocktail for $10. Various mixed drinks are also on the menu, but we’d suggest going for the house margarita to wash down all the chips and guacamole you’ll certainly be eating.
Oh, yeah, did we mention the Airstream taco truck? An incredibly stylish yet practical addition to the rooftop scenery, the silver bullet was firing on all cylinders, quickly delivering tacos ($4) and chips and guac ($7) into the waiting hands of hungry rooftop revelers.
A look of pure enjoyment was plastered on everyone’s faces as we squinted into the late afternoon sun, shoulders bared and drinks in hand. The taco truck pumped us full of guacamole as we took in the glorious scenic views of Portland in springtime, and we all knew for certain that summer 2017, with the help of Bayside’s rooftop bar, would be one for the books.
WHERE: 58 Alder St., Portland
WEBSITE: baysidebowl.com and facebook.com/BaysideBowl
HOURS: 4 p.m. to 11 p.m. Monday through Thursday, noon to midnight Friday and Saturday, noon to 11 p.m. Sunday
AMENITIES: Taco truck, plentiful seating, couches, scenic views, southern California vibes, rotating frozen cocktail of the day, happy hour specials
BOTTOM LINE: A rooftop bar fully stocked with cheap drinks, frozen margaritas and a taco truck — it’s not hard to see why Bayside’s new addition will be one of Portland’s most popular watering holes this summer. Come early, grab a seat at the bar and enjoy one of the most fun and unique spots Portland has to offer.
WHEELCHAIR ACCESSIBLE: Yes