There’s nothing quite like a refreshing, ice-cold cocktail at the end of a hot day. And here in Central Oregon, where we get plenty of sunshine this time of year and through the summer, there are plenty of local watering holes to choose from. The hip town of Bend is dotted with cocktail bars, lounges and secretive speakeasy-esque locales, all serving up some of the best drinks around.
To help you navigate the bar scene, we collected a handful of the best cocktail bars in Bend. You’ll find a mixture of both tried-and-true classics and inventive creations, presented to you in sleek, inviting digs.
COVID NOTE: All cocktail bars mentioned below are open for business, but have COVID policies in place at this time — and some even offer cocktails to-go. Check their websites and social media for the latest information related to COVID.
Photo Courtesy of The Dogwood Cocktail Cabin
A visit to The Dogwood Cocktail Cabin is an experience — a convergence of Wes Anderson and Ernest Hemingway, with a woodsy-chic vibe. There’s a reason this place received the 2020 Reader’s Choice Award for Best Cocktails in Bend Magazine. Here, you can enjoy globally inspired new-world cocktails alongside small plates and desserts made from scratch. The Dogwood regularly hosts a DJ spinning records to set an upbeat, lively mood for guests. Their drinks are organized in categories designating their base liquor, so whether you prefer gin, vodka, whiskey or tequila, there’s a handcrafted cocktail for you on the list.
Nothing about Velvet Lounge is pretentious or uninviting — the space is both rustic and comfortable, a place you can enjoy exceptional cocktails, shareable snacks, and the overall fun atmosphere. On two floors with two separate bars, you’ll find reclaimed wood walls, locally made art and hanging plants. Velvet Lounge has mastered both the basics, like the Old Fashioned, Moscow Mule and Manhattan, and some unique options, like the Hemingway Daquiri, Blue Velvet and Si Mamacita. They are also offering almost all of their cocktails to-go, served in a sealed 16-ounce reusable and recyclable baggie.
As the name implies, The Stihl Whiskey Bar sure knows their whiskey. After all, they have more than 400 whiskeys in stock! Whether you want to slowly sip on a top-of-the-line whiskey neat or order an inventive cocktail (with your liquor of choice), The Stihl Whiskey Bar is the place to be. The sleek, sophisticated environment will enhance your experience, no matter what you order.
Based in Bend, Crater Lake Spirits is one of Oregon’s oldest and largest distilleries, and produces vodkas, gins and whiskeys with the most natural ingredients available. At their downtown Bend tasting room, you can sip on these spirits or enjoy a mini cocktail. If you can’t decide, try a flight — and if you like what you taste, take home a bottle of your favorite spirit to make your own cocktails at home!
We dare you to find a more artsy, trendy place in Bend than San Simón. Travel down the dark, romantic Tin Pan Alley to find this Bohemian candle-lit room overseen by a paper mâché replica of San Simón, a Mayan demigod trickster. The bar serves delicious, simple drinks made with fresh-squeezed juice, homemade liqueurs and syrups, and a vast selection of high-quality spirits. Pair your drink of choice with a few small plates designed for sharing, from cheese and charcuterie to sausage and conservas.
There’s always something fun happening at Astro Lounge, a bar known for its massive liquor collection illuminated by neon lights. The lounge has its very own stage near the front entrance and a secluded outdoor patio out the back door, and all along the way, you’ll find quirky artwork lining the exposed brick walls. Their drink menu is about as packed as the event calendar at Astro Lounge. And right now, they’re offering to-go cocktails with the purchase of food!
View this post on Instagram
Serving up Northwest cuisine with a Southern twist, Zydeco is one of our favorite restaurants in Bend. But it’s also one of our favorite destinations for cocktails. After all, it has cocktails in the title! The expert bartenders make a handful of signature cocktails, from a spicy Ring of Fire made with house-infused jalapeño tequila, lime juice, pomegranate liqueur, and tarragon simple syrup, to a refreshing Grapefruit Cosmo made with vodka, fresh grapefruit, and lime.
Tucked inside McMenamins Old St. Francis School, Broom Closet is a magical, whimsical place reminiscent of all things Harry Potter. Or maybe it’s all the brooms that have us thinking thoughts of Hogwarts. This unassuming “broom closet” opens to the public in the afternoons with a spirited variety of offerings, with an emphasis on whiskey, scotch and port, accompanied by a small bites menu. Music lovers rejoice, as classic blues music fills the air and a five-panel painting of the late musician Jim Boyer adorns the wall.
Who serves your favorite drinks in town? Let us know all about them in the comments — whether or not they’re on this list.