Preview First National Taphouse Portland Opening Today

Staff Writer
Preview First National Taphouse Portland Opening Today


Preview First National Taphouse Portland Opening Today, Monday September 8th in southwest Portland near Portland State University. As first reported here, the second location of the Eugene based beer bar makes a strong case for the best taphouse/bottleshop on the westiside outside of Bailey’s but with the addition of booze and a vast food menu.

First National Taphouse bar

that is already planning a 3rd Oregon outpost. Possibly the biggest beer bar/taphouse opening of the year First National Taphouse Portland makes a case for the best taproom on the westside outside of Bailey’s and undoubtedly the best in the Southwest quadrant. I did not realize how large of an anchor location FNT PDX would be until I came upon the building that dominates the corner block of SW 5th & College with big open floor to ceiling sliding windows and lots of outdoor seating.


The Portland location of First National Taphouse abandons the primary gimmick of the first location and breaks out partially of the overall brand into a new model roughly similar to the Thirsty Lion. Originally opened in Eugene as a bank themed taphouse in occupying both an old bank building and by their digital tapboard reflecting the popularity of beers in their pricing, ie if Boneyard IPA was selling like hotcakes the price automatically goes up while if no one has ordered the Gilgamesh Black Mamba in awhile the price for a pint would plummet. Happily that pricing model has been left behind with the new location and since it’s not in an old bank building either all that remains of the theme is the business name and a cocktail menu with drinks named after famous bank robbers.


First National Taphouse PDX features 30 taps of goodness including a full liquor and cocktail selection and of course ciders and an impressive bottle selection. A row of coolers runs down a hallway to a semi private back room event space available for rent and future dinners and pairing events. Eight doors of coolers are stocked with about 432 different bottles ranging vastly in style and from local favorites to obscure imports with all prices to-go an a $1-$1.50 corkage fee markup for in-house drinking.

In addition to all of the rotating taps First National Taphouse has an official beer called “Banker Blonde” made exclusively for them by Hillsboro, Oregon’s Vertigo Brewing. Banker Blonde is an easy drinking 5.1%Abv and 15 IBU’s.

With seating for 101 customers and an additional 34 seats outdoors, three widescreen televisions, a substantial full kitchen and a banquet room table the First National Taphouse can accommodate big games and events. The pub grub menu leans slightly upperscale with some Irish leanings though does not stray far from classics and there are options for everyone. There are no less than Six different food menus: Dinner, Lunch, Lounge, Happy Hour, Dessert and Brunch.  There are staples like a Kobe Beef Burger to a housemade veggie Mushroom Barley Burger. Creative takes on classics include a Smoked Wild Salmon BLT. European, Steakhouse comfort food items get a large chunk of the menu: Pub Steak, Shepard’s Pie, Beer Can Chicken, Mussel Frites, Hard Cider Pork Pot Roast, Curry Glazed Duck, Baked Squash, Salt Roasted Beef, Mac N Cheese and Fish & Chips.  The “Bites” menu looks pretty sexy with CHicken Wing Confit, Irish Rarebit, Bridie Hand Pie, Potted Crab, Tikka Masala Sweets and of course Cheese and Charcuterie plates. The food options are seriously endless.

The only downer of First National Taphouse PDX is the pricing which I fear may frighten away some of the Portland State University students sure to discover craft beers here. Draft beers are separated into two pricing tiers the lower introductory level is $3.50 for a 10oz goblet, $5.50 for a 16oz pint or upscale it to $6.50 for an Imperial Pint. Everything else falls into one premium pricing tier which is $5 for a 10oz goblet and $7 for a 16oz Pint. Luckily there is only five drinks on the opening taplist fallinginto the premium tier but I still shudder at spending $7 for a pint of Fort George 3-Way IPA.


Give some credit to the daily Happy Hour Menu that runs the weekend too which includes food. From 4-630pm or 9pm to close on Sunday-Wednesday  gets you $5 Pilsner, IPA or Guinness (no word on what IPA or Pils), $1 off wine, $5 Bourbon Old Fashioned, Vodka Press, Gin Gimlet or Irish Coffee.  I am looking forward to the HH food though, among the offerings: $3 Microbrew Fries (beer sea salt, herb aioli), Irish Rarebit (taphouse cheese bread), $5 Bridie Hand Pie (stout braised beef, raisins, bacon, curried yogurt sauce) $7 Chicken Liver Terrine, Kobe Beef Burger or veggie Mushroom Barley Burger.

First National Taphouse PDX
1962 SW 5th Ave
Portland, Oregon 97201

Monday – Friday 11:30am
Sunday – Tuesday close at Midnight
Wednesday – Saturday close at 1am
Brunch Saturday & Sunday 9:30am – 2am

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