Al's Den

Venues > Live music > Bar

The best part about the McMenamin Brothers’ musically oriented vision: You don’t even have to leave the Crystal Hotel to catch an intimate performance every night of the week (for free) because the basement bar hosts an ongoing residency series—literally seven day a week, 365 day a year. Featuring a plethora of local singer-songwriters as well as nationally recognized names, each evening at Al’s generally consists of two sets from the artist in residence broken up by a hand-selected guest—but really, the freewheeling format is determined by whoever’s in the spotlight. Behind the stage wall lies a remnant of the building’s bathhouse roots: a narrow, saltwater soaking pool (available to overnight guests only) where you can bask in the warming waters before or after a night out—seeing as its only a block from the Crystal Ballroom. And, you can also access the subterranean space through Ringlers Annex’s triangular Cellar Bar, which offers a full drink menu and serves food to the den.

  • alsden

    From Eight Venues, Seven Days, One City: Portland's Venue Bucket List:

    This intimate, underground lair doesn’t just feel like a speakeasy, it was the actual turf of Portland’s gambling kingpin Al Winter in the 1940s. Today’s scene features free music every night starting at 7pm—that’s stripped-down, week-long residencies with local and national talent, both known for inviting a selection of new special guests each night along the way. With a typical McMenamins’ flair for interior decoration, concert posters even cover the bathroom walls and, if you’re of a certain gender, don’t miss the massive, turn-of-the-century porcelain urinals.

    Check these off your list:

    ▶ Enter the subterranean digs through the triangular Ringlers Annex entrance on West Burnside.

    ▶ Belly up to the bar and order a Big Al’s Old Fashioned (made with Edgefield’s single malt Hogshead Whiskey, homemade vanilla-bean syrup and cherry bark-vanilla bitters, served over one large ice cube) and anything off the menu of the Zeus Café upstairs before making your way into the dim, cozy confines of the den.

    ▶ Hitting a show at the Crystal Ballroom later? It’s just a block away and your receipt earns you early entry before the doors open.

    ▶ Feeling tipsy post show? Get a room in the Crystal Hotel back where you started—which'll also gain you access to the adjacent soaking pool.


  • Three For Silver: Live at Al's Den

Past Shows