In order to operate a licensed establishment in Oregon where alcoholic beverages are served by the drink, the OLCC has a food service requirement. The regs are summarized by the OLCC here:
Many years ago, when I’d first moved to Oregon, I stopped by a local bar to check it out, and was immediately put off by the overwhelming smell of what the bartender proudly announced was a fresh pan of “sweet potato enchiladas” baking away in the kitchen. How quaint, I thought, after learning the reason why.
This board is jam-packed with requests for a “real Portland” dining experience, which usually means high-end dining, or someplace following the latest fad. I've never seen anyone come up with a list of where a lot of people eat, local taverns, which often have plates of food on special to keep the crowds coming in (even the strip bars!).
Vogies Bar in the Gladstone/Oregon City area is a good example—their smoked Prime Rib on Fridays sells out fairly quickly, even though it’s not the best PR in town, but it’s cheap, and you aren’t required to order an alcoholic beverage to order the food, though I’d feel it wrong not to, since the meal is probably selling for near cost.
Down the street, Stanley’s Corner sources their beef from Fulton’s, but a PR dinner, drink and tip will set you back something in the $30-35 range for the large cut. But it’s a dang nice piece of meat, even though it’s not a five-star setting. Besides the bar, Stanley’s is mainly known for their Super Nachos in a family-friendly atmosphere.
What I’d like to do is put together a list of taverns/pubs in the Portland area which serve great food, but only do so to comply with the regs. Not Happy Hours, not great restaurants which also have bars, but taverns/pubs which run a kitchen only because they’d lose their license if hot food wasn’t being served.
Where would you go, or recommend to someone who wanted great tavern food, where the food is only a sideline for legal purposes?