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Apex

Not Rated.
ApexApex
BA SCORE
95
world-class

69 Ratings
Ratings: 69
Reviews: 31
rAvg: 4.37
pDev: 10.53%
Taps: 50
Bottles: 200
Cask: N
Beer-to-Go: N
[ Bar ]

1216 SE Division St
Portland, Oregon, 97202-1017
United States
phone: (503) 273-9227

visit their websiteWebsite view map and get directionsMap @apexbar

Notes:
11:30am - 2:30am

Always tons of bike parking.

(Place added by: msubulldog25 on 04-26-2010)
Place: Ratings & Reviews
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Ratings: 69 | Reviews: 31 | Display Reviews Only:
Photo of ramnuts
2.4/5  rDev -45.1%

Been here a couple of times. Each and every experience was an utter disaster. Today was no exception. I arrived mid week at noon, only about five or six customers seated in the patio and nobody at the bar. Nobody. Not even an employee. I waited and waited. And waited. There was even some cash on the bar, suggesting that someone else had dropped their money there and had taken off before I arrived. I finally gave up and left. Just awful. Will never, ever return there. Incredible that they are still in business.

ramnuts, Aug 04, 2011
Photo of Shoeflypie
3.19/5  rDev -27%

A great selection of beer, but appears to be modeled after a Cosco deli , with the addition of ear splitting music, and a roving server who snatches your glass even when you haven't finished. The decor consists of signs such as "Climb the fence, get kicked out" and warnings that bike parking is for "customers only. I would go here as a last resort- i.e. if no other place has what you're looking for.

Shoeflypie, Jun 06, 2013
Photo of rikatine
3.23/5  rDev -26.1%

We went to Apex as a part of our walking tour of beer venues in the SE. We were there on a Tuesday, shortly after noon. It is on a interestingly busy little corner, with Beermongers, Los Gorditos, and Double Dragon. Lots of outdoor seating with large umbrellas. Heading inside with the "open to the outside" seating was cool.

That tap list was stacked after their anniversary event over the weekend. We had the Boneyard Nefarious, 6oz for $5 and the Boneyard Armoured Fist CDA Both big beers. Sippers. Awesome chance to try there two beers.

Atmosphere and service here did not impress us at all. Although we were greeted when we came in, of course we needed a minute to study the tap list. After that we were left hanging a little longer than we would have liked. The bartender was busy doing chores. We chose to sit out at the picnic tables 'cause we just weren't feeling the heavy metal music indoors. We decided to move on after one beer since there are so many places, too little time.

rikatine, Jun 09, 2013
Photo of BarrytheBear
3.25/5  rDev -25.6%

BarrytheBear, Nov 09, 2013
Photo of atpca
3.5/5  rDev -19.9%

atpca, Jul 18, 2014
Photo of claspada
3.75/5  rDev -14.2%

claspada, Oct 18, 2013
Photo of John_M
3.93/5  rDev -10.1%

Have visited Apex many times since they opened back in the Summer of 2010, but will not be returning any more. IMHO, customer service here has deteriorated to the point I really feel as if I need to re-write my original review, something I've never done before.

I think Apex has roughly 40 beers or so on tap and the selection here is generally first rate, running the gamut from Belgian lambics and tripels, to NW IPA's and saisons. Over the years I've enjoyed things like Upright 7, Trip III, Dreadnaught from 3 Floyds, Boneyard notorioiuis and nefarious, and many, many other great beers. If you can overlook some of the weird pricing and service hiccups at Apex, there's no doubt this is the place to come for a great selection of beer.

I noted in my original review that there was just something a bit unfriendly about the Apex, but that the beer selection was so good, I was willing to overlook it. That was back in 5/11. However, it's reached the point now that I'm just not willing to overlook that aspect of the Apex experience.

As others have noted, this place does not take credit cards, and so they accept cash only. That's certainly the owner's prerogative, but it's unusual in Portland, and I just think they need to do a better job making customers aware of the fact. As near as I can tell, there is just the one sign (cash only) behind the bar, and it's not all that obvious. On a number of occasions I've see customers surprised by the cash only policy after ordering a round of drinks. It's an annoying discovery to make, regardless of the nearby ATM machine (In fairness to Apex, they're aware of the ATM service charge, and they deduct that charge from the first round of drinks). I would also add that although the bar area has a couple of good size TV's, the house policy is that they only show non mainstream sport shows. So that means you can watch biking events, mountain climbing and the like, but don't ask the staff to put on a popular baseball, football or basketball game. Again, obviously the owner here can do whatever he wants, but for the life of me I can't figure the point or purpose behind this policy. People hanging out and drinking good beer while watching a baseball game is a bad thing? Another weird, one time policy of Apex, was that they wouldn't list PtE or Blind Pig on their on-line draft list whenever they had it on draft. When I asked the bartender about that policy, his comment was that everyone would just come in and drink it if they listed it online. I gather it finally dawned on the owner that maybe that wasn't such a smart policy to have, so he's now come up with a much better way to make sure customers don't drink up all the PtE whenever they have it on tap (as I'll commnet on in a moment).

In the past, I used to defend Apex's various idiosyncracies (even if I didn't agree with them), because at least their prices were reasonable, and they had a great selection and were always friendly and accommodating to customers there. The selection is as great as ever, but that's the only thing that hasn't changed at Apex.

Over the years, Apex's prices have slowly crept up, and they're now pretty much commensurate with the PDX norm... with a few exceptions. The brilliant idea the owner has come up with to slow down sales of PtE is to price it higher than any other bar in town (at least that I know of). Prices for PtE are $8 a pint, which is easily the highest price I've seen in PDX. When I asked the bartender about the pricing, she said that as they're the only ones who have it in town, the price was justified. That response was such utter BS (I can easily name a half dozen other places where one can find PtE on a regular basis), I was just stunned. Bottle prices here also tend to be very, very high (half bottles of Cantillon for $70 anyone?), and while the selection is outstanding, I've never bought a bottle of anything here (as soon as I hear the price, I suddenly lose all interest in the beer I asked about).

All that aside, the beer selection is very good, and some of the folks working at Apex are great. So I'd chalk up most of the problems at Apex to the owner. In any event, the final straw for me occurred a couple weeks back. I'd ordered a pint of Boneyard RPM, when I noticed that they had the Elysian SuperFuzz on tap. A buddy of mine back East had told me he really liked it, and wanted to know what I thought about it. Having never tried it and having no knowledge of it, I asked if I could try a small sample of the beer, before committing to a pint. In the past the bartenders had always been completely cool about allowing me (and other customers) to try a couple of different new beers, but this time the young lady behind the bar told me she would allow it this time, but their new policy was to not allow free samples, no matter how small, and that she would have to charge me a $1 a taste for anything I wanted to try in the future

I'm done with this place.

John_M, Jul 22, 2010
Photo of yemenmocha
3.96/5  rDev -9.4%

Mixed feelings about this place.

Pros: Great beer selection at very reasonable prices. I found several regional beers that were fantastic, and there were good Belgian & German beers represented as well. The electronic board with the beer listing is a cool idea too. There's abundant seating too *when* the weather is nice.

Cons: Service was horrible. At one point the only bartender there went for a smoke, and nobody could order a beer. Seating is atrocious when it is raining, and they have an ASSININE barricade wall to make you walk all the way around to get the Mexican food next door. Really? No little gate? No lower wall there by the Mexican food door? Music was also obnoxious and loud, and I was sitting outside. I can't imagine the pain when it is raining hard and you have to be inside.

yemenmocha, Aug 08, 2010
Photo of SeeingMeansMore
4/5  rDev -8.5%

SeeingMeansMore, Oct 09, 2014
Photo of Gobzilla
4/5  rDev -8.5%

Gobzilla, Mar 10, 2014
Photo of Hobbit
4/5  rDev -8.5%

Hobbit, Mar 14, 2014
Photo of AxesandAnchors
4.01/5  rDev -8.2%

This place is probably the largest taproom in Portland (if you include the patio/parking lot) so if your wanting to go with a big group of people (provided it's not raining or winter in general) Apex is your place. The atmosphere feels like an Oktoberfest tent (without the tent), basically a bunch of wooden picnic tables covering the entire parking lot. The atmosphere isn't the greatest, but on a nice summer evening it's a pretty great place to hang out.

Huge tap list (50)! And an even bigger bottle selection. They always have a lot of great stuff, so you really can't go wrong.

If you find yourself on the East(SE) side you should definitely stop by. If I was rating them on beer alone they would easily get a 5-out-of-5 from me.

AxesandAnchors, Nov 21, 2012
Photo of gkunkle
4.03/5  rDev -7.8%

Visited Apex with a buddy of mine on a wednesday night, so I am sure my impression of the atmosphere isn't perfect. there were a couple people down at the end of the bar, a group of 10 celebrating a birthday, a few smalll groups of 2 or 3 chatting and one lonely guy playing Pinball in the back corner. I am sure it would be more upbeat and happening on a friday evening. The beer they serve is great. I had a lagunitas little sumpin' sumpin' ale and my friend had some amber ale recommended to him by the bartender. The man tending bar the night we were there was a large bearded man who seemed to know his beer. It wasn't too busy, so the service was pretty good. Later on in the evening another guy showed up behind the bar so everybody was really well taken care of. Up on the wall there is a flat screen TV listing all of their beers on tap along with price and ABV. (this is also uploaded to their website so you can find out whats on tap before you go) They had about 30 beers on tap and I believe I saw a refrigerator of bottles down at the end of the bar but did not make any further investigation. Overall, this is a fun place, its a pretty basic bar, but they do beer and do it well.

gkunkle, Dec 17, 2010
Photo of Tkizzum
4.04/5  rDev -7.6%

Tkizzum, Sep 13, 2014
Photo of CapitalGains
4.04/5  rDev -7.6%

Oh Apex you are quite the enigma. Despite there being some very unorthodox things about your establishment I still manage to come over frequently and enjoy myself. Maybe that's because I live five blocks away, but I digress...on to the actual review.

I'm not a huge fan of the overall atmosphere but it seems to attract a sizable crowd. The music is often a bit too loud at night if you're trying to have a conversation. As many reviewers have pointed out there is one small TV that exclusively streams/plays either (a) a racing event involving a two-wheeled vehicular device or (b) something resemblant of Planet Earth. Not that I go to Apex to watch sporting events or anything in general but the whole TV situation strikes me as odd. Maybe some people like it, shrug. Fairly long bar area with maybe 6-7 indoor tables. Lots of benches for outdoor seating. Lots of room for bikes.

Quality and selection are remarkable. Approximately 40-45 taps on at any time (I've never counted all of them) and a secret tap. On a normal day there is always something on tap worth trying. There are bottles for purchase towards the end of the bar but I have never bothered to check them out since the tap-list is always stellar. On special anniversary nights or "invasion" nights the tap-list is unbelievable. Absolutely worth checking out if you know about it ahead-of-time. Some of the sours and Belgians seem to be a little steeply priced at times (relative to bottles) but the prices are still quite reasonable.

Service has been a mixed bag. I have had some very friendly and helpful bartenders at times while at other times not so much. Service has always been prompt but then again I've never been in there when it has been ridiculously packed. Recently it has improved...maybe that's because I'm in there fairly often.

The cash-only policy isn't that big of a deal but sometimes it's a thorn in my side. I usually don't carry a lot of cash on me so if I head over with some friends I either have to (a) eat the ATM fee or (b) ask them to pick up my tab. A minor inconvenience. I've also been carded at the door about 95% of the time even though the guy probably knows who I am by now. Maybe not. Could be a bummer in the event you forget your ID as they seem to card everyone, regardless. Unlike most good beer spots in Portland Apex does have two advantages: it's open until 2:30 AM and there is a lot of outdoor seating. So if it's late night or you have a desire to sit outside when drinking then, well, this is one of better places to visit. Considering it is right across the street from BeerMongers this combo is a powerful one-two punch if you're visiting SE Portland and definitely worth checking out.

CapitalGains, Jun 06, 2011
Photo of jdense
4.14/5  rDev -5.3%

Multiple visits weekend of 5.7-5.9.2010.

Located on one of Beervana's top pubcrawl routes, SE Division, kitty-corner from Beer Mongers, Apex is Portland's attempt to replicate the Toronado. While that is a lofty goal indeed, Apex does succeed on several fronts but needs work on others.

Apex is one of the more bike friendly beer establishments in town ala the Green Dragon and HUB. A number of bike racks and a lack of parking make traveling by bike to this beer oasis the preferred method of transportation. The parking lot has been converted to a beer garden with approximately 15 picnic tables arranged Munich beer hall style, communal seating to promote cross-group chatter. Umbrellas will help temper the hot temperature arising from the asphalt former parking lot. The inside of the converted garage features an approximately 20 seat bar, with a few tables under cover for the proverbial PDX foul weather. A small side room features four vintage pinball machines with small side tables for placing your brew while playing. Cash only and no table service, but an ATM is on-site with a two dollar discount on your first purchase if you have to use the machine.

The beer list of approximately 30 taps is shown on a video monitor, certainly more high tech than the Toronado's mesmerizing beer list. The beers are listed alphabetically, so it takes a bit of time to work through the list. The cost of most of the locally brewed beers are quite reasonable, but IMO the Belgians are fairly highly priced $7-8 for 10-12 oz pours. The quality of the taplist is above average and constantly changing. Not a lot of nuggets re very little Russian River (I did see Consecration, though) no Hair of the Dog (!), but overall an above average list.

The barstaff features some of Beervana's top barkeeps, whose seamless service keeps thing moving. The publician is a quite friendly chap, who on grand opening day found himself besieged by brewers, brewery reps and friends giving best wishes, so he couldn't finish his burrito from next store. Note no on-site food, but you can bring in your grub ala Toronado (though the HUGE burritos from Los Gorditos are no Rosamunde sausages).

I like the concept, but would offer the following observations. Apex is a bit too 'clean' to be compared to the Toronado, while I understand the fresh coat of paint, maybe patrons should be allowed to place their stickers on the wall (:. The taplist could use an upgrade, which I suspect will happen overtime, given the short turnaround from OLCC approval to opening there wasn't much time to procure hard to get brews. On that note, establishing a relationship with hard to get brews would certainly help, re some of the harder to get WA and CA brews (good luck getting a keg of Moonlight Death and Taxes, the backbone of the Toronado taplist) would be a step in the right direction, along with the development of a house beer brewed by one on PDX world-class brewers. While the taplist is pretty good, it's not quite of the quality of the Horse Brass, IMHO.

In summation, though, while I am quite sure this place is going to be very successful, let's be honest-there is only one Toronado (SD doesn't quite count) and to be the first Apex-a bike friendly gathering spot with a top quality beer list-may be a lofty enough goal. Most certainly worth a try, and an essential stop for those doing the Division Street (Victory, Avignon, Hedge House, Beer Mongers, etc) beer crawl.

jdense, May 10, 2010
Photo of squaremile
4.16/5  rDev -4.8%

I am hoping just one of these times that a place in Portland can deliver these qualities in one experience

1) Awesome taplist
2) Outdoor seating
3) Place to watch sports

Apex is the newest place for this and 1-2 are taken care of, I have yet to try for #3 but I'm pessimistic despite the TV. Apex is situated at a relatively busy intersection in SE PDX that is really transforming into a destination. The patio out front leaves some atmosphere to be desired but it's still a good time (unless it is really hot). The service was OK, the taplist was awesome, I liked how accurate the board was to their website. The place is a tad awkward for some reason I can't put my finger on yet, but maybe that will clear up. Also too expensive for the Belgians. Overall I enjoyed both experiences there and will be returning.

squaremile, May 18, 2010
Photo of Rifugium
4.21/5  rDev -3.7%

Stopped in here briefly to examine the take out selection, and I'm kind of sorry I didn't have more time to explore the tap list as well. Basic layout, simple decor, kinda pleasantly grungy. There's a long bar with plenty of room, and ample table seating, including an outside area. There are even a few arcades / pinball machines in the foyer, which is always nice to see. Service was on the ball, knowledgeable and friendly, though it was very non-busy when we visited. There was really nothing to complain about as far as selection goes. With 50 beers on tap, there's bound to be something for everyone, including lots of good local stuff. The fridges contained a great bottled selection including lots of stuff we couldn't find anywhere else, including such venerable spots as Belmont Station and Beermongers (right across the street BTW). Prices were reasonable, though obviously for some of the higher end / rare bottles, you're going to be dropping some coin. But buying such beers is a personal choice, after all.

Rifugium, Jan 12, 2012
Photo of bryc9194
4.24/5  rDev -3%

The staff just doesn't make an effort to explain the beers to customers. The board with the beer list doesn't give enough information to justify the bartenders not offering constant help. The selection is absolutely amazing, but with most of the foreign beers they are not in English so there is no way to even tell the beer style.

bryc9194, Feb 18, 2014
Photo of paul_db
4.25/5  rDev -2.7%

paul_db, Mar 22, 2014
Photo of Cynic-ale
4.25/5  rDev -2.7%

Cynic-ale, Feb 13, 2014
Photo of TaborTime
4.25/5  rDev -2.7%

TaborTime, Feb 15, 2014
Photo of artoolemomo
4.25/5  rDev -2.7%

artoolemomo, Aug 16, 2014
Photo of jera1350
4.27/5  rDev -2.3%

Beware- CASH ONLY here so come prepared. They do have a cash machine though too.

Probably my favorite bar of our whole trip to the Pacific Northwest. Larger indoor bar with garage doors opening up to a massive patio with umbrella covered tables. A little side room with pinball machines available for play too. The decor is unique and cool. Interesting things to peer at and read while imbibing. On this particular day, they had old school gangsta rap like Snoop and Dre playing with F-bombs on the blaring speakers. Not my thing, but interesting none the less.

Amazing selection of top notch brews from the west coast and beyond. Firestone Walker PNC and Parabola, Evil Twin Biscotti Break to name a few. Several solid local options as well. Just a wide variety with something for everyone. I even tried a Habanero Golden form El Toro which was very unique and hot!

For food, go straight across the street to Double Dragon which has the most amazing Vietnamese sandwiches or get delivery from the El Gorditos place right next door.

We were there around 11 am and the bartender seemed like she just woke up from a late night bender. She was kind, but just didn't go out of her way in any shape or form to help. She would answer questions, but just kind of stood there and waited for us, rather than asking to help or offering up advice or suggestions. Her demeanor could have been more positive in my opinion. Regardless, outstanding place in Portland and a "do not miss".

jera1350, Jun 22, 2013
Photo of barleywinefiend
4.29/5  rDev -1.8%

A: Walked across the street from BeerMongers and landed here. Inside Old Metallica, Motorhead and some Poison the Well loudly blared. Outside is rather quiet, peaceful patio with lots of outdoor seating. The place is a garagefront and the garage doors come up when the weather is nice. Upfront, inside is seating upfront with a long narrow area with bar extending the length of the establishment. Cash only.

Q: All beer here is top notch and I know these lines are clean. My Dupont Avec Les Bons Voeux was simply amazing

S: Nothing to complain about. Forget trying to make small talk with servers lol.

S: Out of this world. Nice big list of rare, vintage bottles but be willing to pay the markup. Fifty Fifty Eclipse, FW14, Old 3l Samiclaus. The works. 50 handles of well chosen craft. Among the best draft lineup I have ever seen.

F: No food, oh an no growlers either

barleywinefiend, Apr 14, 2012
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Apex in Portland, OR
95 out of 100 based on 69 ratings.