East Burnside Street has become hot property for cutting-edge dining houses, but if you’re looking just for a glass of wine and a carefully considered menu of small plates and snacks, then Kir (22 NE 7th Ave., 503/232-3036, 5–11 p.m. Tues.–Thurs., 5 p.m.–midnight Fri.–Sat., small plates $4–10) is a excellent option. The wine list isn’t mammoth, but it’s well chosen—in summer, most selections are rosé wines, an excellent antidote to Portland ’s surprisingly hot summers. This is a tiny place, but the owners’ care and expertise (both are longtime veterans of the Portland restaurant scene) are immediately apparent. Come for finely chosen wines and a way-relaxed vibe, but don’t ignore the finely crafted menu.
In a long narrow storefront on North Mississippi Avenue , Lupa (3955 N. Mississippi Ave., 503/287-5872, www.lupawine.com , 3–9:30 p.m. Mon.–Thurs., 3–11:30 p.m. Fri., noon–11:30 p.m. Sat.–Sun., small plates $4–10) has the look of a wood-paneled library—but the shelves are filled with bottles of wine rather than books. Lupa is both a retail wine shop and a wine bar–bistro with an international selection of wines and a small selection of sandwiches, cheese, charcuterie, and nuts. It’s a comfortable spot for a glass of wine after a day of shopping, or a perfect place for an evening rendezvous with friends.
Along the East Side’s 28th Street Restaurant Row, Wine Down (126 NE 28th Ave., 503/236-9463, www.winedownpdx.com , 5–11 p.m. Sun.–Thurs., 4 p.m.–1 a.m. Fri.–Sat., $7–22) is a snappy little wine bar with a excellent wine selection and a very impressive choice of foods. Around 40 different wines are available by the glass, plus Wine Down offers the largest selection of ports in Portland . Even the beer selection—a collection of hard-to-find drafts from regional breweries—is outstanding. The food menu is better than at many restaurants, featuring rack of lamb, foie gras, and brick-seared duck breast.