Slideshow: Where to Take a Date for Cocktails in Portland, OR

A More Perfect Union at The Teardrop Lounge
A More Perfect Union at The Teardrop Lounge

Given the chance, the beautiful Teardrop Lounge quickly proves that it’s more than just a pretty face. This, for example, is the Chanel No. 5 of cocktails: sexy, sophisticated, light. With Lillet Blanc serving as the base spirit, this drink is lower in alcohol than your average cocktail, which means you can go ahead and have a second with no fear of the dreaded cocktail-goggles. Apricot liqueur brings and earthiness to ground Lillet's floral side, and a barely noticeable bit of vodka rounds things out. If you want to continue the date, head to Oven & Shaker for dinner.

Teardrop Lounge: 1015 NW Everett St, Portland, OR (map) 503-445-8109; teardroplounge.com/

Love Makes You Feel Ten Feet Tall at Ava Gene's
Love Makes You Feel Ten Feet Tall at Ava Gene's

Ava Gene's sets the stage for a date with just-soft-enough lighting and cozy red banquettes. This cocktail from star bartender Evan Zimmerman is meant to be lingered over. It's bitter, then sweet, then bitter again, balancing like a gymnast on a beam. Pungent Beefeater gin meets deep, bitter Punt e Mes, brightened and lifted with Macchu Pisco and grapefruit oil. A kiss of salt water seals the deal. Have one (or two) and if all is well, grab a table over on the restaurant side of Ava Gene’s for a bite.

Ava Gene's: 3377 SE Division Street, Portland, OR 97202 (map) 971-229-0571; avagenes.com

The Scandinavian Scandal at The Secret Society
The Scandinavian Scandal at The Secret Society

Tucked away and seductive, if there is a better bar in Portland than Secret Society to woo a potential love interest, I have yet to encounter it. Sparkling cocktails are a specialty of the house. This little number is made with local Krogstaad Aquavit, redolent with anise and caraway, softened by the addition of fresh lime and a healthy pour of Domaine St. Vincent Brut bubbly. Pro Tip: If you’ve got a good feeling about this date, put your name in at Toro Bravo before heading upstairs for a drink.

Secret Society: 116 NE Russell Street, Portland, OR 97212 (map) 503-493-3600; secretsociety.net/

Aviation at Interurban
Aviation at Interurban

Interurban is one of the more comfortable bars in NE Portland, particularly in the afternoon, when light fills the room, making their cocktails glisten even more enticingly than they otherwise would. Bar Manager Jeff Seymor builds this classic drink with Beefeater gin, creme de violette, and fresh lemon juice. He uses Maraska Maraschino instead of Luxardo—it's slightly more subtle and allows the other elements of the cocktail to shine. Citrus-forward and refreshing, the lemon and creme de violette swim together beautifully, while the Maraschino lends a gentle, balancing note of almond and cherry on the finish. If you're having a good time, head over to Lovely’s 50-50 afterwards for one of their fabulous pizzas.

Interurban: 4057 North Mississippi Avenue Portland, OR 97227 (map) 503-284-6669; interurbanpdx.com