Not every meal has to be an $80 10-course tasting menu of salt-cured pigeon feathers and honeyed wasps. Nor does it have to be a $6, 2-pound burrito made infamous because an enterprising chef replaced the tortilla with chicharrones. Here are some of Portland’s nicest bistro-style sit-down places, perfect for a midweek date where you won’t struggle too hard to find a table (sorry, Coquine). We promise you won’t leave out of pocket or feeling like you’re going to die on the toilet.
The Brooklyn House Restaurant 3131 SE 12th Ave., 503-236-6761, brooklynhouserestaurant.com.
Dinner Wednesday-Saturday, brunch and dinner Sunday.
Once the Berlin Inn, Brooklyn House hasn’t changed a ton of the aesthetic—but this is a hidden wonder of pan-Euro fare. The intensely farm-sourced goods range from seared alfredo to braised rabbit and pork confit. A little bit of everything. Just like Mama used to make. $$.
Biwa 215 SE 9th Ave.
Whether you want to nibble on skewers and sashimi or say screw it and get the omakase, Biwa is the inner eastside’s go-to for upscale Japanese fare on a midscale budget.
Burrasca 2032 SE Clinton St.
Paolo Camai’s Florentine fare and imported bottles of Italian table wine will have you looking up flights on the way home.
Old Salt Marketplace 5027 NE 42nd Ave.
Ben Meyer’s temple of whole-animal butchery and rustic, hearth-grilled classics was our second-favorite restaurant of 2014.
Radar 3951 N Mississippi Ave.
Run by a husband and wife, Radar is an intimate oasis in the otherwise bustling Mississippi bar district.
Roost 1403 SE Belmont St.
Roost serves classic American fare and very affordable drinks, set off with some boulder-sized desserts for those wishing to indulge.
In the past few years, chicken in Portland has evolved into its own specialty
cuisine, with talented chefs finding new ways to make the humble bird into feasts as inexpensive as they are mouthwateringly delicious. Here are some of the spots dishing up Portland’s best birds.
Reel M Inn 2430 SE Division St., 503-231-3880. Lunch-late daily.
For generations, this unreconstructed dive has churned out the city’s finest fried birds by relying on the freshness of poultry delivered thrice weekly and hand-breaded daily, and a loyal clientele willing to wait an hour or two amid thickened clouds of secondhand cholesterol. $.
Bar Avignon 2138 SE Division St., 503-517-0808, baravignon.com. Dinner nightly.
Considering how many little vinocentric bistros are sprinkled across this town, it’s almost a shame the best gets lost in the carnival of Division. The menu is seasonal, but please note that this place has mastered the art of roast chicken. $$$.
Built on the site of a filled-in creek, Goose Hollow remains green and relatively serene, except when the Timbers play. The ass-busting hills and 100-year-old trees at its west end give way to crisscrossing MAX tracks and Old Portland dive bars as you roll downhill. Here, century-old brick apartments, the posh Hotel deLuxe and Portland’s oldest theater share space with Timbros and PSU students at the Hotlips Pizza outpost. Often ignored by everyone who doesn’t live here, the Hollow feels sleepy after nightfall, except for the traffic under the notorious Vista Avenue Viaduct and ambulances wailing down Burnside.
What citizens call this stadium is a surprisingly accurate indicator of how long they’ve lived in Portland. Many know it as Civic Stadium (1966-2000), then it was PGE Park (2000-2010), followed by the least popular Jeld-Wen Field era (2011-2014). It’s been Providence Park since 2014, and this one seems like it’ll stick. Whatever you want to call it, this park is home to the reigning Major League Soccer champions the Portland Timbers, as well as the National Women’s Soccer League’s Portland Thorns and the Portland State Vikings football team. One thing has stuck through every name change: a feral cat colony that has lived in the stadium since 1985.
Set the bacon and black pepper aside: Coco Donuts is the best of Portland’s “fancy” doughnut shops. By keeping it comparatively simple, it nails small-batch, classic doughnuts—cake, glazed, buttermilk and the like—with slightly upscale toppings like lavender glaze. Neighboring a busy MAX stop and Providence Park, this location is best for grab-’n’-go on weekdays. $.
Little Red’s Bakeshop and Cafe 1401 SW Yamhill St., 503-706-8748, littleredsbakeshop.com. Breakfast and lunch Tuesday-Sunday.
Michigan baker Jenni Welliver’s Little Red’s popped up seemingly overnight, filling the airy, one-room shop with a pastry spread so lush that customers opening their mouths to complain should fill them with almond croissants. You can see, and smell, bakers lovingly rolling croissants from any of three tiny tables. $.
Vtopia 1628 SW Jefferson St., 971-271-7656, vtopiancheeses.com. Lunch and dinner Wednesday-Sunday.
Vtopia Cheese Shop & Deli makes the best case we’ve tasted for vegan cheese. Cheesemaker Imber Lingard’s line includes a tasty aged white cheddar and a purplish-brown fermented black garlic wedge that’s aged for two months. You should definitely bring the latter to your next vegan-heavy party. $.
Once a withering lounge attached to a de facto extended care facility, the Driftwood Room has been reborn as a windowless jewel box of luxe tippling that lures a cosmopolitan array of visiting guests, West Hills dowagers and genteel bohemians sniffing happy-hour bargains like half-price Champagne cocktails alongside flights of Manhattans. Imagine…a world of tiny Manhattans in dim light.
Founded by Bud Clark in 1967, Goose Hollow Inn feels like both a museum for Portland’s former mayor—the iconic “Expose Yourself to Art” poster of Clark flashing the Kvinneakt statue downtown hangs on the wall—and an extension of him. Stop in to pregame for a Timbers match and taste one of the finest Reubens in town.
Hammer + Vine carries every cute glass terrarium globe, succulent, fern and carnivorous plant you’ve ever seen in any minimalist coffee shop window or hip girl’s Instagram. The tiny 600-square-foot shop also carries handmade treats like natural deodorant, rock pendants or pretty much anything that looks its most natural photographed against a paper white background.
An iconic “soccer store for soccer people” since 1993, the Far Post packs itself tight with a wide selection of balls, boots, jerseys, replica apparel and, of course, Timbers gear. It also has a killer sale section and plays live and classic games on TVs in the store.
Think of Scrap PDX as the Goodwill that doesn’t require you to dig through aisles for hours to find the best nostalgic and lightly used stuff. Founded in 1998 by teachers, this creative reuse store gets art supply donations and resells them at a 60 to 75 percent discount. The store puts it all up front, from encyclopedias to holiday decorations to old Portland maps.
Portland Gear 627 SW 19th Ave., 503-437-4439, portlandgear.com. In 2014, the 25-year-old Portland native Marcus Harvey designed a simple shirt with a block letter P with the outline of Oregon making up the hole, selling thousands online. In March, he opened a brick-and-mortar store that carries the P logo on everything, from bottle openers to baseball caps.
Portland’s longest-running theater company is unexpectedly tucked among dive bars on West Burnside and upscale car dealerships. The main stage upstairs hosts full runs of classics like The Miracle Worker and crowd pleasers, like ART’s risqué holiday offerings. Top actors, a discerning leader in artistic director Dámaso Rodriguez and programming that’s not afraid to jump genres are among the reasons that it’s still going strong.
Vibrant is equal parts badass yoga studio, arts venue and speakeasy. During the week, movement classes like yoga for cyclists, Latin dance and tai chi fill the studio, and the recurring Sunday Salons are community dinners cooked and hosted by owner Sophia Lippert.
Washington Park 4001 SW Canyon Road.
The second of two gigantic park complexes in West Portland, where Forest Park (see page 61) is a sprawling wilderness, Washington Park is a manicured complex of tourist destinations (the Oregon Zoo, International Rose Test Garden, Japanese Garden, Pittock Mansion), monuments (Vietnam Veterans of Oregon Memorial) and good old-fashioned parks (Hoyt Arboretum).
As the home of Portland’s skyscrapers and center of the city’s administrative and financial power, downtown Portland has the air of deliberate exclusivity that comes with being old and monied. Many of the city’s finest clothiers, jewelers and restaurants blend into a background of chain stores or hide in tiny storefronts in and around Pioneer Square, while the north end bears both the rich history of 100-plus years as a working-class watering hole and the grisly scars of post-industrial neglect. It’s a place where tourists and professionals pour into a bougie food court for $8 ice-cream sundaes, a new development that keeps locks on its restroom doors to avoid the horror of the area’s sizable transient population daring to wash their faces.
WW PICKS Eat: Wiz Bang Bar, 126 SW 2nd Ave. Drink: Bailey’s Taproom and the Upper Lip, 213 SW Broadway and 720 SW Ankeny St. Shop: Time Vault Games, 1224 SW Broadway. Go: Portland’5 Centers for the Arts, portland5.com.
Under head chef Doug Adams, Imperial, our 2015 Restaurant of the Year, delivered high-end dining on a grand scale that Portland hadn’t seen in a long time. He successfully converted Imperial’s struggling Southern-fried Cascadian fare into a spin on classic Americana that saw the creation of some of the best fried chicken and the finest Parker House rolls in town. Imperial’s future is uncertain following Adams’ departure in July, but for now, we have the “big city” restaurant Portland has been missing for years. $$-$$$.
Don’t think: Order the drinking chocolate. It’s pure luxury, a ribbon of molten velvet that tastes more chocolate than chocolate. Once you’ve come to your senses, pick up a bar or two of small-batch craft chocolate from whichever Portland producer the shopkeep recommends. $.
Chez Dodo 427 SW Stark St., 503-270-9258, chezdodopdx.net. Lunch-early dinner Monday-Friday.
Chez Dodo is the only Mauritian food cart in the U.S., and operates as a sort of culinary embassy, with huge, potato-stuffed samosas functioning as the diplomats. The curries atop rice noodles recall yakisoba bento boxes and are spiked with a cilantro chutney that chef Shyam Dausoa rightly guarantees is the stuff of addictions. $.
Operated by a pair of Iraqi refugees, Dar Salam makes Middle Eastern staples—steaky kebabs with lots of sumac, super-creamy hummus, extra-nutty baklava—plus must-try specialties, including a pretty pink beet-and-yogurt dip and a unique version of shredded chicken shawarma served with a side of chickpea marga. $.
El Gaucho 319 SW Broadway, 503-227-8794, elgaucho.com. Dinner daily.
This Seattle-founded, high-end steak house offers unabashed opulence in a low-lit room, with beautifully marbled 18-ounce cuts of bone-in New York and a trademark Caesar salad tossed with considerable pomp beside tables dressed in cloth and candle. $$$$.
Love Belizean 1503 SW Broadway, 503-421-5599. Lunch-early dinner Monday-Friday.
The Belizean chicken is the mainstay, but the pulled pork is among the best we’ve had in Portland, swimming in a rich bath of spices that in turn soaks into a bed of coconut rice. On Fridays, Love offers both meats on one plate for $10. Love is real. $.
The PDXWT breakfast sandwich—with its wild-style combo of duck bologna, sauerkraut, coffee mayo, egg and American cheese—makes Vitaly Paley’s diner a singular attraction, a small piece of excitement for a day’s work at one of the neighboring office buildings. $.
Raven & Rose 1331 SW Broadway, 503-222-7673, ravenandrosepdx.com. Lunch and dinner Tuesday-Friday, dinner Saturday, brunch Sunday.
Inside, dark wood and dimmed lights dominate in a scene vaguely reminiscent of an old English pub, except with plenty of comfortable seats and, thankfully, much better food. Need an alternative to Higgins before seeing a show in the theater district? This can be your new spot. $$-$$$.
Wiz Bang Bar, the new soft-serve spot from the owners of Salt & Straw, is really fucking good. If you get a cone, you’ll be reasonably happy—especially if it’s vanilla dipped in chocolate. The sundaes steal the show, though, especially the Rhubarb Sour Straws. Trust us, it’s worth the $8.50. $.
Bailey’s Taproom & the Upper Lip 213 SW Broadway and 720 SW Ankeny St., 503-295-1004, baileystaproom.com.
Bailey’s is near-perfect, constantly humming with 25 taps listed on an electronic board, ambitious selections, and staff that knows its beer. If it’s packed, you can walk around the corner, where a door leads to an upstairs clubhouse that has a small collection of high-end bottles and six taps, all pouring what owner Geoff Phillips and tech manager Nick Rivers want to drink.
Common Law 126 SW 2nd Ave. (Pine Street Market).
Alongside the richest pub burger in town, Common Law serves inventive cocktails from a list created by Hat Yai’s Alan Akwai, such as the frothy tumeric-infused, gin-based Tumeric Pick Me Up and the ethereal sherry, Bonal and honey liqueur Negative Cycle.
Behind the bar, a hidden hatch leads ice-gathering staff down the rickety staircase to an expansive basement holding traces of a Prohibition-era speakeasy. The staff recently discovered a rudimentary flush system, lending credence to rumors of a trough carved into the bar so that working men could let flow amid rounds of shots.
223 SW Yamhill St., 503-295-6613.
Despite it’s grizzled facade, Yamhill Pub is a pleasant working-class bar with every inch of every wall covered with graffiti straight out of an NYC subway car in the ’70s. The Yamhill blows through more PBR than any bar in Oregon, and is fiercely proud of it.
2nd Avenue’s impeccably curated, hyper-organized embarrassment of vinyl riches caters to just about every taste imaginable, but no one in town carries more metal. With hundreds of artist tees hanging from the rafters, even the music haters among us should leave happy.
Avalon Antiques & Vintage Clothes 410 SW Oak St., 503-224-7156.
I don’t know if you’ll find a better collection of suits and tuxedos in a secondhand store in Portland or anywhere else. Avalon’s very old-fashioned aesthetic belies a collection of well-cared-for formal garments that goes far beyond what’s usually available, even at the city’s best vintage shops.
California-based Bait expanded to Portland early this year and has quickly become one of the city’s go-to spots for sneakerheads and streetwear fiends. Bait carries everything from New Balance to Saucony alongside limited-edition Air Jordans and Yeezys, streetwear and, somewhat surprisingly, action figures.
Whether you need a fine Italian suit or fine Italian drop-crotch sweatshorts, clothier Brent Collier has you covered at both his eponymous formal menswear boutique and his new athletic-wear-inspired venture with Portland native Alex Veltri.
For just under 100 years, the family-owned Portland Outdoor Store has been outfitting the city’s urban cowboys in the finest clothing and boots from Stetson, Lucchese, Wrangler, Carhartt and more, with a supply of saddles and horse-grooming supplies for those lucky downtowners whose apartments come with a stable.
Serra’s chic setup uses every opportunity to incorporate minimalist sophistication into the cannabis dispensary experience. Select a combination of six “feelings” when deciding your strain from the array of indigo-stained ceramic dishes: relaxation, focus, creativity, happiness, pain relief and energy.
Part high-end, gently avant-garde womenswear boutique and part living, self-referential deconstruction of high-end, gently avant-garde womenswear boutiques, Stand Up Comedy is as much performance-art project as it is a place to get really cool clothes you won’t find anywhere else in town.
The home of Portland’s more competitive gamers, TVG’s small, weekly Magic: The Gathering tournaments have better prizes than other stores’ regional competitions, and the store’s deeply knowledgeable (of games both board and card) staff will treat you like family. Time Vault isn’t the largest or fanciest game store in Portland, but it’s the best.
For more than 50 years, U.S. Outdoor Store has been outfitting those headed to the beaches, mountains, forests and cliffs of Oregon with the newest and best in outdoorswear, gear and apparel from leading brands like Arc’teryx and the North Face. If you can do it outside, this store has the stuff to make sure you do it right.
When only the absolute finest will do, Wildwood will sit you down over a drink and walk you through creating a bespoke suit, shirts, footwear or knit garments, all handmade in its Portland workshop. This process doesn’t run cheap, but if you must have your herringbone merino scarves locally made, so be it.
Portland’5 Centers for the Arts Arlene Schnitzer Concert Hall, 1037 SW Broadway; Antoinette Hatfield Hall, 1111 SW Broadway; Keller Auditorium, 222 SW Clay St.; 503-248-4335; portland5.com.
Whether it’s national-level touring bands, world-famous standup comics, Broadway theater or the Oregon Symphony, chances are if a big deal is coming through town, it’s going to be at the Schnitz, Keller or Antoinette Hatfield Hall.
In multiple locations
Bunk Sandwiches, 211 SW 6th Ave. Page 85.
Coco Donuts, 814 SW 6th Ave. Page 33.
Killer Burger, 510 SW 3rd Ave. Page 121.
Marukin, 126 SW 2nd Ave., No. 109. Page 131.
Stumptown, 128 SW 3rd Ave., Don’t think: Order the drinking chocolate. It’s pure luxury, a ribbon of molten velvet that tastes more chocolate than chocolate. Once you’ve come to your senses, pick up a bar or two of small-batch craft chocolate from whichever Portland producer the shopkeep recommends. $.
For locals still convinced that Portlandlost its soul, the inner eastside is where Portland jumped the charcuterie. But imagining a complete transformation rather underestimates how deep the area’s weirdness lays. The vacuum museum endures, and while ad agencies and production companies overtake Portland Storage, a prominent (four-inch-horns-implanted) Satanist figure still serves as building manager. Our Lower East Side has always felt like the most defiantly urban part of Portland, and there’s a certain logic to the ongoing changes—practice spaces give way to venues and home-furnishing stores become housing. Neighborhoods do evolve, even if recent developments have artificially hastened the timetable.
Trifecta, 726 SE 6th Ave. Dig a Pony, 736 SE Grand Ave. Portland Music Company, 531 SE Martin Luther King Jr. Blvd. Oregon Museum of Science and Industry, 1945 SE Water Ave.
MUST Kachka 720 SE Grand Ave., 503-235-0059, kachkapdx.com. Dinner-late daily.
Kachka, our 2014 Restaurant of the Year, makes homestyle Russian food to a standard you’ll struggle to find west of St. Petersburg. It’s filled to the brim with colorful Soviet propaganda posters and a sense of nostalgia for a time that might not have ever existed but seems wonderful, boisterous and free. Take, for example, the Herring “Under a Fur Coat.” It’s as if some wizard took all the cold salads at a potluck picnic and did a spell over them. The potatoes and the beets and the herring and everything else come together in a magically refreshing and satisfying way no mother could recreate. $$-$$$.
Holdfast 537 SE Ash St., Suite 102 (inside Fausse Piste Winery), 503-504-9448. One seating per night, 7 pm, Friday-Sunday. Tickets at holdfastdining.com.
Three hours after you’re shown to your seat by Holdfast’s two chefs—they’ll bring an aperitif and paint the scene of their drive out to the foggy coast to grab the revelatory fresh geoduck clams you’re about to eat—you’ll emerge sated, smarter and perhaps with a couple of new friends. $$$$.
J & M Cafe 537 SE Ash St., 503-230-0463, jandmcafepdx.com. Breakfast-lunch daily.
J & M has the charm of your favorite greasy spoon with the modern quality of our city’s high-end spots. It isn’t going to overthink your go-to brunch order with atypical ingredients, but it’ll make damn sure your chorizo scramble is going to be among the best you’ve ever had. $.
Le Bistro Montage 301 SE Morrison St., 503-234-1234, montageportland.com. Dinner-late daily. An after-hours institution perhaps best known for snarky waiters’ long pours and the communal tables grouping together a motley post-bar assemblage of goths, club kids, and suburbanites, the nighthawks found their way under the Morrison Bridge to forage for Creole comfort staples alongside more rarefied delights like frog legs and alligator bites. $-$$.
An unendingly generous place, with baba ghanouj, hummus, tabbouleh and mini-pizza veggie and meat mezza platters that handily feed two, Nicholas is the Lebanese spot in town that—after 30 years—always knows how to meet every possible customer halfway. $-$$.
Renata 626 SE Main St., 503-954-2708, renatapdx.com. Dinner Monday-Saturday.
This industrial eastside Italian spot is a gorgeous space that inspires adoration: airy, undivided and centered on two long wood slabs surrounded by old-fashioned classroom chairs. The menu changes daily but you want the pasta, bread and then some more pasta. $$$-$$$$.
Smith Teamaker 110 SE Washington St., 503-719-8752, smithtea.com. Brunch-early dinner daily.
As one last grand passion project before his 2015 death, Steven Smith opened a flagship location for his namesake line of artisan teas. Curious consumers may sip impeccably-steeped flights, quaff carbonated varieties straight from the keg, or simply watch the production of a favored flavor from leaf to cupping lab to sachet. $.
Taylor Railworks 117 SE Taylor St., 503-208-2573, trwpdx.com. Dinner daily.
Among the many delightful little discoveries at Erik Van Kley’s ode to big-tent Americana, there is one very big one: the crab. Enjoy it with the Pinewood Baron—an elegantly smoked Negroni made by adding barrel-aged, smoky lapsang souchong tea. $$$.
Trifecta is equally welcoming to single drunks at the bar, to intimate dates in the plush booths and to loudmouths with kids at the party tables in the middle. Food is humble in spirit—the dishes startle not with novelty but with sterling execution, and are delivered to your table with the effort-free cool that comes only with genuine competence. $-$$$.
Water Avenue Coffee 1028 SE Water Ave., No. 145, 503-808-7084, wateravenuecoffee.com. Breakfast-early dinner daily.
While the cafe’s primary concern remains the blood of the bean—artisan coffees roasted upon a 1974 French Samiac plucked from the Swiss Alps—this favorite of the quickly-percolating Water Avenue barista district has also expanded its menu to feature a selection of Antipodean toast dishes. $.
Bit House is a bit like a circus for bar people. Seemingly everything is happening at once—cocktails served in bottles with straws, house-blended sherry, slushies, High Life ponies as whiskey backs. There’s always something new, and the bar staff is among the most lauded in town.
Dig a Pony 736 SE Grand Ave., 971-279-4409, digaponyportland.com. Dig a Pony has a special place as the industrial eastside’s gently posh, everyman’s meat market and party bar. Though DAP’s enormous picture windows, exposed-wood walls, Belgian Pilsners and sours permanently on tap, and rotating cast of vinyl-only DJs place it dead center in the shitshow of New Portland hip, the bar’s prices and easy demeanor keep it approachable.
Loyal Legion is home to what’s likely the longest bar in Portland and 99 taps of all-Oregon beer, the largest selection anywhere. If you dig, you’ll almost always find a buried treasure, like a double IPA from Upright Brewing—an absolute corker.
My Father’s Place 523 SE Grand Ave., 503-235-5494.
My Father’s Place is a bar of gruff bonhomie, unreconstructed comfort food like gravy-covered chicken-fried steak, impossibly cheap drinks and a well-worn rec-room aesthetic. For self-made orphans day-drinking away obligations, “spending the holiday at My Father’s Place” remains the perfect excuse—for almost anything, really.
Though the menu is rum-happy and loosely tropical, Rum Club has recently gotten more mileage out of bourbon and muscat brandy. You can’t go wrong with any order, but we heartily recommend the Pedro Martínez, which blends aged rum with Torino vermouth, bitters, lemon oil and sweet maraschino.
This is an unlikely home for Portland’s most celebrated pub burger: the Slowburger—a Beacon Rock-sized column of ground chuck, Gruyere and onion rings that tastes like the Oxford English Dictionary needed more definitive examples of the concepts “fat” and “melt.” Practice self-care and order it with salad.
White Owl has a sterling selection of beer taps, a DJ party mess on weekends and taco parties. Is it embarrassing that the only place you see L.A. nightclub-style lines in Portland is at a summer patio bar with a bunch of picnic tables?
The top shelf of lower Southeast’s increasingly crowded “distillery row”, the newly opened 14,000-square-foot House Spirits (Aviation Gin, Volstead Vodka, Westward Oregon Straight Malt Whiskey) headquarters masks a smooth, formidable production facility—75,000-pound-capacity grain silo, the West Coast’s largest operational still—with tartly-understated art deco tasting room.
Mother Foucault’s Bookshop 523 SE Morrison St., 503-236-2665. Closed Sunday-Monday.
Within continually expanding, casually aspirational environs binding a jaded academic’s high-brow tastes and low-key wit—read the shop’s name aloud—browsing Mother Foucault’s precisely-curated inventory always feels a bit like scanning the host’s titles midst local literati cocktail party, even on the odd nights a reading isn’t scheduled.
Something like the eastside’s answer to U.S. Outdoor Store (see page 27), Next Adventure is an all-things-outdoors superstore in the heart of one of the least-outdoorsy chunks of the city. It has everything you could want for kayaking, climbing, camping and traversing the snowy wastes, whether by shoe, board or ski.
Among the oldest such stores in the country, Portland Music Company stocks a wide variety of guitars—the most impressive hung out of reach and not for sale—alongside a range of instruments, stage gear, recording equipment, and Oregon’s largest collection of sheet music. The nearly 90-year-old shop offers the usual lessons and lately even some electronica tutorials.
One of Portland’s very first co-op makerspaces, Shop People’s 14,000-square-foot underground facility was recently purchased by Global Homestead, and the new owners have announced a thorough renovation of existing studios (metalwork, woodwork, jewelry) alongside new centers (technology, sustainability, industrial design) touching upon more modern crafts.
AFRU Gallery 534 SE Oak St., 503-915-7301, afrugallery.com. Closed Sunday-Wednesday.
Elaborating on traditional notions of gallery management with heightened showmanship, AFRU often seems as much venue as exhibition space. Their annual Byte Me! showcase accents the potential of interactivity with snarkily digitized installations, while a recent Art of the Circus debut featured performances by jugglers, contortionists, and A-WOL Dance Collective aerialists.
Oregon Museum of Science and Industry 1945 SE Water Ave., 503-797-4000, omsi.edu.
More than a million visitors each year visit this ginormous facility to simulate earthquakes, explore black holes, prowl the decommissioned attack submarine, or gaze upon the IMAX-sized theater screen. While the grand majority of exhibits are geared toward the junior scientist set, museum restaurant Theory takes both food and food-science seriously while OMSI After Dark invites age-appropriate guests to drink up chemistry’s finest practical applications.
After long chasing stages to host their innovative productions, the lauded theater company finally bought a warehouse all their own with space enough for collaborations, independent adaptations—upcoming runs include the fairy-tale-brutality-inspired HEAD. HANDS. FEET: Four Tales of Dismemberment—and year-round classes and workshops for both young and old.
Portland Indoor Soccer 418 SE Main St., 503-231-6368, pdxindoorsoccer.com. Open play Tuesdays and Fridays.
Where to play the beautiful game in the dampened city? Portland Indoor Soccer’s 20,000-square-foot complex offers classes in conjunction with the national Lil’ Kickers program of non-competitive instruction for tykes aged 1½ to 9, plus five seasons of adult league play.
Kidd’s Toy Museum 1301 SE Grand Ave., 503-233-7807, kiddstoymuseum.com. Closed Saturdays and Sundays.
Not, in any way, a “kid’s toy museum,” this collection of Frank Kidd holds some 50,000 playthings primarily made pre-WWII—an age without plastic (or, alas, much racial tolerance)—while concentrating upon die-cast vehicular models and perhaps the world’s largest assemblage of mechanical banks.
Near the southern terminus of the Eastbank Esplanade, a small stretch of dock attracts far more intriguing traffic on puddletown’s sunniest days. Though elevated police attention has tempered impromptu bacchanals, the Portland Boathouse still regularly hosts swimmers, paddleboarders, dragon boaters, rowers and the sort of celebrants reflexively drawn to the nearest beach equivalent.
In multiple locations: Alma Chocolate, 1323 SE 7th Ave. Bunk Bar Water, 1028 SE Water Ave. Coava Coffee, 1300 SE Grand Ave. Bunk Sandwiches, 621 SE Morrison St. Olympia Provisions, 107 SE Washington St. Stumptown Coffee Roasters, 100 SE Salmon St.
Over the years, Division Street has developed and changed with the rest of the city, but it still maintains a beloved sense of Northwest quirk and a dedication to local tradition while having become the epicenter of Portland’s restaurant culture. While you may occasionally run into a Portlandia character or two along the way, the Division neighborhood is a great place to spend a summer’s afternoon with a dizzying amount of options for food, drink and shopping.
Burrasca, 2032 SE Clinton St. Funhouse Lounge,2432 SE 11th Ave. Longfellow’s Books & Periodicals,1401 SE Division St. Nationale,3360 SE Division St.
Clinton Street Theater 2522 SE Clinton St., 503-238-5588, cstpdx.com.
Despite changes to both the theater and neighborhood in the past 100 years, the century-old Clinton Street Theater remains a single-screen cinema that provides an intimate viewing experience. In addition to regular programming, The Rocky Horror Picture Show has screened every Saturday at midnight since 1978, with a list of venue-approved costumes, props and activities available on the theater’s website—including the throwing of toast and the flinging of toilet paper. It’s a long-standing tradition in Portland brought to you by one of the oldest operating cinemas in the nation.
A new arrival, Abyssinian Kitchen joins Portland’s top tier of Ethiopian and Eritrean eateries. We enjoyed the asa dulet, a bright preparation of crumbled tilapia seasoned with serrano peppers and onions. For heartier appetites, order the awaze tibs—large cubes of tender beef in a spicy sauce built from berbere. $$-$$$.
The American Local is a mash-up of down-home ’Merican vittles and Japanese izakaya fare. The menu at this 2-year-old small-plates spot—skewers, a knockout flank steak and oysters—offers innovative combinations to pair with the house sake. $$-$$$.
Ava Gene’s 3377 SE Division St., 971-229-0571, avagenes.com. Dinner nightly.
The menu at Ava Gene’s is overwhelming. It’s mostly in Italian, it features uncommon abbreviations and rare ingredients, and it changes almost daily. All the better reason to ask your server for suggestions—the staff is well-versed and eager, and everything is good. $$$-$$$$.
Stocking its own curry leaves, house ghee and fresh spices harvested directly from India’s Kerala region, Bollywood Theater takes an amiable approach to a cuisine often blamed for weaponized seasonings. $.
Burrasca 2032 SE Clinton St., 503-236-7791, burrascapdx.com. Lunch and dinner Tuesday-Saturday.
Burrasca, one of our five favorite restaurants of 2015, has no gimmick. Chef Paolo Calamai is a native Florentine, and this space is a true Tuscan restaurant of simple spice and humble presentation. Alongside the housemade tagliatelle in beef ragu, order the good, Italian table wine—$20 bottles of Il Bastardo that Calamai knows from home. $$-$$$.
Ford Food & Drink 2505 SE 11th Ave., No. 101, 503-236-3023, fordfoodanddrink.com. Breakfast-dinner daily.
A cafe that serves cocktails and offers a delightfully simple menu complete with vegan options, Ford is a great place to meet with friends or get some work done. The Pagan Jug Band performs at 8:30 pm Tuesdays, playing folk music that perfectly suits the venue. $.
Kim Jong Grillin Southeast Division Street and 46th Avenue, 503-929-0522, kimjonggrillin.com. Lunch and dinner daily.
Han Ly Hwang’s revelation in Korean barbecue sits in a lonely cart locale across from the Woodsman Tavern. The stand serves shaved bulgogi and galbi short ribs in gargantuan mounds, worthy of a filling dinner and breakfast the next day. $.
Little T American Baker 2600 SE Division St., 503-238-3458, littletbaker.com. Breakfast-late lunch daily.
Owned by renowned baker Tim Healea, Little T’s flagship bakery offers novel takes on traditional breads and pastries, baked with ingredients sourced from local vendors and growers. In addition to a consistent and affordable menu, Little T offers a weekly rotation of $5 specialty loaves. $.
Nuestra Cocina 2135 SE Division St., 503-232-2135, nuestracocina.com. Dinner Tuesday-Saturday.
Despite Division’s newly diversified selection of restaurants, this standby for no-frills, authentic Mexican cuisine has maintained a loyal following. You feel like you’re at a friend’s place, listening to meat sizzle while the scent of fresh-baked corn tortillas wafts across the airy room. $$.
Pinolo Gelato 3707 SE Division St., 503-719-8686, pinologelato.com. Lunch and dinner daily.
Pinolo opened only last year, but immediately took over as the best gelato shop in town—and the others are not even close. Flavors include intense, deep dark chocolate, and hazelnut as though it was from the shell. Each sorbetto is like burying your face in fresh fruit. $.
Pok Pok 3226 SE Division St., 503-232-1387, pokpokpdx.com. Lunch and dinner daily.
After a decade, Andy Ricker’s experiment with northern Thai cooking continues to evolve and entice. $$-$$$.
Portobello Vegan Trattoria 1125 SE Division St., 503-754-5993, portobellopdx.com. Dinner Tuesday-Friday, brunch and dinner Saturday-Sunday.
“I never knew vegan food could be this good,” said a carnivorous companion. Portobello is a traditional Italian trattoria, except the steak is a big, meaty mushroom, and the pizzas are topped with cashew cream. $$$.
Roe 3113 SE Division St., 503-232-1566, roepdx.rest. Dinner Wednesday-Saturday.
Dining at Trent Pierce’s flagship seafood hall feels like a snorkeling trip guided by Kinfolk magazine; it is to fish houses what The Life Aquatic With Steve Zissou was to pirate movies. But you know what? The Life Aquatic was a really good movie. $$$$.
Tidbit Food Farm and Garden 2880 SE Division St. Lunch and dinner daily.
This cluster of carts at 28th Place and Division is one of Portland’s best. Dog Town’s artisanal hot dogs, Slow Squeeze’s cold pressed juice, Back to Eden’s gluten and dairy-free treats, Paper Bag’s woodfired pizza, and Scout’s weird beers are among Tidbit’s best offerings. $.
Wong’s King Seafood Restaurant 8733 SE Division St., Suite 101, 503-788-8883, wongsking.com. Dim sum, lunch and dinner daily.
If you go to Wong’s King for dim sum and don’t completely cover every square inch of the table with plates and small, steaming metal dishes, you’re not doing it right. Simply point and know that you will be rewarded with deliciousness. $$.
The Woodsman Tavern 4537 SE Division St., 971-373-8264, woodsmantavern.com. Lunch and dinner Monday-Friday, brunch and dinner Saturday-Sunday.
The Woodsman evokes a fairy-tale version of a woodland tavern, and that feeling extends to the menu: fresh oysters, warm and crunchy fritters, crispy fried chicken that melts off the bone. Go for oyster hour, when the ever-changing menu is unbelievably cheap. $$$.
Xico 3715 SE Division St., 503-548-6343, xicopdx.com. Dinner nightly.
Xico does things its own way. For example, the cooks mill their own masa with a small, 5-horsepower machine. It’s romantic, sure—it’s also why this brightly decorated restaurant sells $8 guacamole and a $24 chicken tamale plate. $$$-$$$$.
Despite being a restaurant, Double Dragon doubles as one of the few decent bars on Division. The unbridled masterpiece of the menu is the kimchi Kobe beef hot dog: a festooned drum-line parade of texture and flavor. It tastes like poise—a fat Russian circus bear pirouetting gracefully atop a balance beam. $.
Dots Cafe 2521 SE Clinton St., 503-235-0203. dotscafeportland.com. Lunch-late Monday-Friday, brunch-late Saturday-Sunday.
If aliens, Elvis and Marie Antoinette opened a cafe, it might look like Dots. It’s a ’50s-style diner with a killer bacon bleu cheeseburger. It’s a dandy’s lounge with potent lemon drops. It’s a gutter-punk hang with no-nonsense bartenders. Come as you are. $.
Funhouse Lounge 2432 SE 11th Ave., 503-841-6734, funhouselounge.com. Closed Monday-Tuesday.
A carnival-themed bar complete with a lounge room covered in portraits of clowns, Funhouse is one of the last joints that seems truly dedicated to keeping Portland weird. The venue’s main stage features regular standup comedy, improv, burlesque and theater—including drag renditions of The Golden Girls—and the drinks are strong enough to help you through the occasional rough performance.
The second location of San Francisco’s German bike, brat and bier bar, Gestalt plays mostly heavy metal, and talk is mostly about biking, especially the mountainous type. The brats are $5 and great, and the beers include Spaten Optimator, Hacker-Pschorr weisse and Occidental Kölsch—with more on the way.
La Moule is a dim, drunky spot devoted to soccer-ball-sized bowls of mussels and frites. Tommy Klus’ cocktails are about the same price as the Belgian import beers on tap—after showing up to dig deep into a bowl, you’ll leave deep in the cups.
Is it possible for the city’s best-loved wine bar to be underrated? Tom Monroe and Kate Norris’ wine collective has been an incubator for some of the best wines in town. The only problem you’re likely to encounter is finding a seat.
Artifact: Creative Recycle 3630 SE Division St., 503-230-4831, artifactpdx.com.
Artifact offers vintage and gently used items ranging from clothing to furniture to accessories and trinkets. Artifact has a unique sense of fashion when it comes to its wares, making it the perfect shop for someone looking to enhance their wardrobe with old-school style.
No neighborhood in Southeast Portland is complete without a comic shop. A Dalek sculpture sits in the storefront to guard the boxes full of old issues, and the guy behind the counter won’t judge you if you don’t know what a Dalek is.
Clinton Street Video 2501 SE Clinton St., 503-236-9030.
The video rental shop still lives. Sift through Clinton Street Video’s vast collection to discover rare finds you won’t see on Netflix, and would have to pay a fortune for on Amazon. Bring your kids and teach them about the ancient relic known as VHS.
A great shopping destination for the adult hobbyist or the parent of a child who just loves to create, Collage is as if a Michaels and a Jo-Ann Fabric had a really hip kid together. Each visit will turn up some cool stuff you never thought existed.
Little Otsu’s Portland flagship store is the type of cutesy shop you think of when you think of the Rose City—tiny notebooks and all. Here, you can find unique notebooks, journals and planners, alongside publishing materials from independent producers.
The smell of old books hits you as soon as you walk into this maze of publications piled up to the ceiling. If you’re looking for something specific, you’ll want a different bookstore. But if you’re looking to get lost in a labyrinth of out-of-print magazines and books you’ve never heard of, then all the literary adventures you’ve ever craved await you at Longfellow’s.
Everyone deserves a female-friendly orgasm. She Bop wants you to reach that climax in whatever way suits you best. With an array of eco-friendly options and knowledgeable staff, She Bop is dedicated to a healthy and diverse exploration of sex-positivity.
St. Salvage 3576 SE Division St., 503-477-7734.
There’s very little about St. Salvage anywhere online, which makes finding fun merchandise among the store’s wide array of used furniture feel all the more secretive and adventurous. The shop will even design a custom sign or marquee for you at a very reasonable price.
There are a million places to grab fancy bars of soap and paper products, but few such shops double as art galleries. Nationale displays visual works primarily by young Portland artists such as Emily Counts and Delaney Allen, who work on the (comparatively) inexpensive end of fine art. Nationale also carries a curated selection of very nice things for gallerygoers.
In multiple locations: Adorn, 3366 SE Division St. Cafe Broder, 2508 SE Clinton St. Lompoc Hedge House, 3412 SE Division St. Pine State Biscuits, 1100 SE Division St., Suite 100. Tea Bar, 4330 SE Division St. Townshend’s Tea House, 3531 SE Division St.
With the new MAX Orange Line installed and Tilikum Crossing up and running, chances are much of Portland is about to discover what neighborhood loyalists have long known: Lower Powell and Brooklyn are far different from the industrial hinterlands between Woodstock and booming Division Street. Sure, it’s still a little rough-and-tumble—in a heavy-industry and busy-thoroughfare kind of way—but now that it’s more connected than ever, Brooklyn is poised to be the new destination for close-in Southeast Portland homeowners and folks looking for a little less hustle in a neighborhood that still feels very much like a different city altogether.
The Original Hotcake House, 1002 SE Powell Blvd. Teutonic Wine Co., 3303 SE 20th Ave. Hazel & Pear, 3432 SE Milwaukie Ave. AMF Pro 300 Lanes, 3031 SE Powell Blvd.
The old midsized Aladdin concert hall is the perfect antidote to the hipper venues in town, a place where bluegrass bands, second-tier rockers on solo tours, standups, comedy fests and bands on the cusp of graduating to bigger stages find common ground. The theater’s seen some wear and tear, but it’s also part of the charm. Aladdin is the place for laid-back live shows and a sit-down venue where dance parties can erupt up front, but where the stage is still the main event.
Edelweiss Sausage & Deli 3119 SE 12th Ave., 503-238-4411, edelweissdeli.com. Breakfast-early dinner Monday-Saturday.
At this German deli and butcher shop filled with wondrous chocolate, better beer and even better meat, all of second-generation deli masters Tom and Tony Baier’s house-cured meats are available in sandwiches so voluminous that they overwhelm their rye bread holders. $.
The Original Hotcake House 1002 SE Powell Blvd., 503-236-7402, hotcakehouse.com. Open 24/7.
A lot of things could happen at Portland’s most famous 24/7 diner. You could see a bro get punched for skeeving on a biker’s girl. But you will have one of the best greasy-spoon breakfasts in town. Those hotcakes are on point. So’s that chicken fried steak. Hotcake House is a rite of passage for all Portlanders. $.
Shut Up and Eat is like a warm blankie for the citified East Coaster—an all-purpose home to mortadella, meatball and cheesesteak that has expanded in the past couple years to not only a miniscule market and flat-screened sports bar in the back, but also a singular brunch spot. $.
Brooklyn Park Pub 3400 SE Milwaukie Ave., 503-234-7772.
Dive bars—and make no mistake, this windowless neighborhood sports local is definitely a dive—aren’t often associated with good booze. That’s what makes the Brooklyn’s 100-plus, highly curated selection of whiskeys such a surprise. Bonus points: You can drink good whiskey without the snob factor.
The nation’s first cider bar added an outpost in Woodlawn offering an expanded food menu, but the original Southeast spot in Brooklyn remains the best, cheapest and most extensive bottle shop for cider in all of Portland, with deep cuts spanning the globe.
Gigantic’s tiny beer shed and big patio are an oasis in a yawning desert of machine shops. It’s a place where bearded Timbers fans crush pints of head brewer Van Havig’s industrial-strength IPAs in between baby-talking the burly dogs that match the drinkers if not in number, then in size.
Teutonic is the rare taproom where the guy who actually made the wine may also be your bartender and DJ. The place is as handmade as the wine—just some vinyl, a rotary-dial phone, a bar made from pouring resin over woodcuts, and the Wild Hunt Scandinavian food cart out front.
Twilight Cafe 1420 SE Powell Blvd., 503-236-7668. Lunch-late night daily. 21+.
Part greasy diner, part overlooked venue for no-name punk bands, Twilight remains a paragon for the Old Portland mentality in a neighborhood fast being enveloped in cute. It’s rough. It’s tumble. Stiff drinks, loud music (no cover)…even if the crowds and quality dwindle, our love does not.
Brooklyn Mall 3384 SE Milwaukie Ave., 503-233-2550, brooklynmall.org. Closed Monday.
One of Portland’s best-stocked antiques shops—think refinished furniture and gorgeous art deco trinkets more than old TV Guides and other flea-market fare—this place is like a museum for folks looking to class up a home with real-deal art furniture.
Elemental Arts 1133 SE Pershing St., 503-238-3862, elementalarts.us. Closed Monday.
For nearly 15 years, Elemental has been the grown-ups’ answer to Claire’s Accessories, with custom, handmade charm bracelets, blown-glass art, and custom-made wedding bands that make it one-stop shopping for folks looking for a gift that’s highly personal. Oh, and they do repairs too.
One of the most darling children’s consignment shops in the city, Hazel & Pear carries kids’ clothes up to size 10, with high-quality shoes, dresses, rain coats, and PJs that seem barely used…probably because the kids wore them once and then sprouted. The shop also has toys, books and clothes for Mommy. Because sometimes, Mommy’s gotta treat herself.
With bagpipes, kilts, books, art, drums, musicand food from Scotland (yes, there is canned haggis), Portland’s little Aberdeen is about as Scottish as you can get without throwing your back out while tossing a caber. If it’s not Scottish it’s crap, they say. No crap here.
Tired of fancy-ass bowling alleys with fancy-ass cocktails and calamari and people who giggle every time they throw? This is your place, part of a dying breed of Portland bowling alleys. That means leagues are in full effect. Shoes could tell stories if they weren’t gagging. Food is Sysco-heavy. Cocktails are only called such because of a splash of Coke. This, friends, is a bowling alley the way God intended.
As Portland gets more comfortable with its Soccer City moniker, indoor facilities have been springing up. This 5-on-5 set of three fields specializing in the Uruguay-born futsal, with a smaller ball and the elimination of walls for body-checking. Leagues and clinics abound, making it RCTID every day.
Powell City Park Southeast 26th Avenue and Powell Boulevard.
Powell Park is the neighborhood’s living room, a sprawling space packing soccer and baseball fields, a huge playground, volleyball courts and enough paths that you can make a pretty good day out of a leisurely stroll through one of the city’s more unsung green spaces.
In Multiple Locations: 808 Grinds, 5226 SE 26th Ave.
Sellwood-Moreland is a proud Southeast enclave, keeper of the city’s history through landmarks and the antiques trade, and cloistered away by greenspace and the river on the city’s southern edge. The neighborhood is currently in a sort of Golden Age, anchored by a string of quality shops and restaurants along its commercial corridors on Milwaukie, 13th, and 17th Avenues. The demographics were traditionally lower-middle to middle class, and most of the neighborhood’s icons hold on, even as antique shops shutter, and condos and home prices go up. Local displacement doesn’t garner the sympathy of Albina, St. Johns, or even Lents, but the change is felt either way as boutique shops roll in and antiques roll out.
Straits Kitchen, 1112 SE Tacoma St. Bible Club, 6716 SE 16th Ave. Stars Antiques Mall, 7030 SE Milwaukie Ave. Oaks Bottom Wildlife Refuge, Southeast Milwaukie Avenue and Mitchell Street.
Oaks Amusement Park 7805 SE Oaks Park Way, 503-233-5777, oakspark.com.
Keeping your lunch down may be a challenge at Oaks Amusement Park, built in 1905 to coincide with the Lewis and Clark Exposition and once dubbed the “Coney Island of the Northwest.” The north end of Portland’s sole amusement park midway features a grand old wooden skating rink and a separate arena which hosts the Rose City Rollers, a women’s roller derby team which has sent opponents skittering into the boards since 2004.
This taverny Tex-Mex spot is one of the most welcoming restaurants in Sellwood, in part because it’s less restaurant than it is Sellwood’s greatest specialty: a dive bar. The encyclopedic, cheese-heavy menu includes everything from Dungeness crab enchiladas to a grilled chicken and pesto quesadilla. $.
Jade Bistro, Teahouse and Patisserie 7912 SE 13th Ave, 503-477-8985, jadeportland.com. Lunch-dinner Monday-Saturday.
This two-floored Vietnamese cafe/confectionary/teahouse has been a hit going on eight years, serving down a daily line of patrons with a deep and wide menu ranging from banh mi and salad rolls, to noodle entrees and a glass case of delicate macarons. $.
San Felipe Taqueria 6221 SE Milwaukie Ave., 503-235-8158, sanfelipetaco.com. Lunch and dinner Monday-Saturday.
San Felipe Taqueria, a fiery red box on an otherwise bleak stretch of Sellwood, is a world of never-ending chips and salsa for $1.75, $2.25 soft tacos with housemade tortillas, and $6 house margaritas that come in glasses the size of small bowls. $.
Straits Kitchen 1112 SE Tacoma St., 971-325-7323, straitskitchenpdx.com. Lunch and early dinner Thursday-Tuesday.
Our third favorite cart of 2016, Straits Kitchen showcases the traditional cuisine of the Baba-Nyonya, descended from generations of Malays and Chinese. The laksa lemak noodle bowl is commensurately soul-warming: sweet-and-spicy coconut-curry broth, fried tofu, chicken and vegetables floating amid a tangle of thin rice vermicelli. $.
Wei Wei 7835 SE 13th Ave., 503-946-1732. Lunch-dinner Tuesday-Sunday.
Wei Wei’s beef noodle soup is one of our new favorites. It joins thick cuts of meat with hand-pulled noodles in a deep-brown broth that is meatier, richer and more excessive than that in any pho or British meat pie—a stock so dense the very marrow swirls within. $.
Bible Club 6716 SE 16th Ave., 971-279-2198, bibleclubpdx.com. Closed Monday-Tuesday.
Bible Club is a wildly and wonderfully expensive Prohibition-themed museum of bar craft, with bartenders equally serious about housemade tonic and edible flower garnishes, plus a very serious chef—Anthony Cafiero, formerly of Ración—turning out amazing French onion soup and lovely potatoes with “melted leeks.”
Kay’s Bar 6903 SE Milwaukie Ave., 503-232-4447, kaysbarpdx.com. Afternoon-late Monday-Friday, brunch-late Saturday-Sunday.
This warm, wood-paneled corner bar is too nice to be a dive and has served Sellwood’s denizens from its central perch since 1934. It’s also purportedly haunted. Three deaths have occurred on premises since Kay’s opening, and there are whispers of a ghost photographed.
Sellwood Public House 8132 SE 13th Ave., 503-736-0179, sellwoodpublichouse.com. Afternoon-late Monday-Friday, brunch-late Saturday-Sunday.
Lamenting the Black Cat’s destruction is a neighborhood pastime, but the Sellwood Public House fills the gap well. Up a long flight of stairs, the pub itself is two distinct spaces: a cozy sports bar and a game floor/concert floor to rival what was lost down the street.
This bright blue modern space is densely stocked with a rotating stream of tastefully curated local art, gifts, accessories and home decor. The walls are lately adorned with Don Lee’s woodmaps, which feature angled wood inlays of the Columbia and Willamette winding through Portland.
Buttercraft is the rare neighborhood deli that specializes in exquisitely blended butter loaves in flavors like Once Upon a Thyme and Hedgehog—laced with ground pepper and balsamic, not hedgehogs. A handy stash of local goods and wine is also on hand, along with a backyard patio added just in time for summer.
Family-friendly is not as common an adjective for game stores as one would think. Yet Cloud Cap is exactly that, with a wide selection of board games—and summer camps for kids who want to learn card or role-playing games—packed into a tidy, colorful space.
The mall is more of a compound, really, with Stars Antiques shops taking up both sides of Milwaukie Avenue just south of Bybee. Stars is the Queen Bee of Sellwood’s formidable if diminished antiques trade, a warren of vintage maintained by well over 100 dealers.
Described by Chuck Palahniuk as a “city of the dead”, this sprawling mausoleum is a mishmash of architectural styles, with murals visible from Springwater Corridor. The Rae Room—an ornate marble tomb of a business magnate and his second wife—is open to the public for an hour and a half each year on Memorial Day. Keep Portland weird. Forever.
In Multiple Locations: Collage, 7907 SE 13th Ave. Killer Burger, 8728 SE 17th Ave. Laurelwood Public House, 6716 SE Milwaukie Ave. Lompoc Brewing Oaks Bottom, 1621 SE Bybee Blvd.
Portland’s Southeastern neighborhoods are perhaps best thought of as quiet, dubious, fitful sidekicks to the frankly Snoopy-ish flights of fancy continually reinventing the northeastern boundary of Foster Road. Although Woodstock is the only commercial district lying anywhere near Reed College, there’s no part of the city less redolent of college towns, though a whiff of professorial housing does linger. In the mind’s eye, this area seems one large, shambling, pleasantly austere, history-steeped edifice teeming with over-polished curios and darkened recesses dissuading further investigation. You would want to live there, but it’s a strange place to visit.
Arleta Library Bakery Cafe, 5513 SE 72nd Ave. New Seasons Rooftop Bar, 4500 SE Woodstock Blvd. Red Fox Vintage, 4528 SE Woodstock Blvd. Eastmoreland Golf Course, 2425 SE Bybee Blvd.
Lutz Tavern 4639 SE Woodstock Blvd., 503-774-0353. Breakfast-late daily.
Enduring for half a century as an unreconstructed dive prior to its 2010 buyout, the Lutz made a chance decision to offer $1 cans of PBR in the late ’90s that was credited by The New York Times and Washington Post with introducing the award-winning beer to Generation Hipster. Ditching all but the essentials, the Lutz’s new ownership transformed it into a taproom that brings a childlike enthusiasm to adult pleasures—booze slushies with a real kick, corn dogs as big as your arm, and a smoking patio built like a batting cage. The inevitable effect, for better or worse, imagines a world in which hipsters never even existed.
Arleta Library Bakery Cafe 5513 SE 72nd Ave., 503-774-4470, arletalibrary.com. Breakfast and lunch daily.
While never much of a library, the Arleta Cafe earned a certain measure of cultural permanence when Diners, Drive-Ins and Dives’ Guy Fieri stopped by to marvel at its trademark sweet potato biscuits with rosemary-sausage gravy. Following the Food Network imprimatur and owner Sarah Iannarone’s ill-starred mayoral candidacy, a steady string of curious interlopers have joined die-hard regulars amid the morning crush. $.
El Gallo Taqueria 4422 SE Woodstock Blvd., 503-481-7537, elgallopdx.com. Lunch and dinner Tuesday-Saturday.
After five years as Woodstock’s most beloved food cart (and one of the city’s most environmentally progressive), El Gallo finally moved from taco truck to storefront. The reclaimed-timber interiors are still constantly overrun by throngs clamoring for locally sourced Mexican street food. $.
The third-generation sausage maker is the place where we learned hot dogs could transcend the grim world of Costco parking lots and Hebrew National to become something greater: the platonic ideal of sausage, alder smoke, healthy snap and meat free of filler. $.
Set to open by the time this publishes, Hood River’s Double Mountain will be the newest craft brewer to bring a palatial megapub to Portland—complete with space for hundreds, taps showcasing 20 of it brews, plus guests, jazzed up pub food and a sound system pumping old vinyl hand-picked by barkeeps-to-be.
New Seasons Rooftop Bar 4500 SE Woodstock Blvd., 503-771-9663, newseasonsmarket.com/our-stores/woodstock. The latest outpost of the local upscale grocery chain arrived boasting both a ramen bar and an actual bar—an expansive rooftop tavern with fire pit and sizable umbrellas for drinking through all types of weather. Though the two-drink maximum and indoor play area may not encourage extended binges, patrons can always take their fill at a growler station and continue at home.
On a recent night, the cook making the chili dog special seemed to know everyone’s name. He was playing good cop for the gruff bartender, who stared at newcomers like they were made of farts, but served decent beer like Pfriem and the new grapefruit gose from Ecliptic.
Specializing in running and walking footwear, Pace Setter Athletic has maintained brisk sales for decades by focusing on patient and knowledgeable customer service. Clerks quiz patrons about their routines, analyze worn sneakers and demand they test new purchases to better study their gait.
A labyrinthine thrifter’s paradise, Red Fox Vintage houses a dizzying array of apparel for every conceivable age, size, style, and gender alongside houseware, furniture, objets d’art, and time-swept bric-a-brac. Leavening the diligently curated collections with a welcome note of whimsy, the shop owners have even rented out the premises for private masquerades themed after the partygoers’ decade of choice.
Built around an abandoned outdoor stage on 5 acres originally cultivated by early Portland Mayor William S. Ladd, the Crystal Springs gardens now encompass more than 2,500 rhododendrons and azaleas, at least 94 distinct species of bird, and an immersive sylvan maze revealing unexpected bridges and waterfalls.
Douglas F. Cooley Memorial Art Gallery Reed College, 3203 SE Woodstock Blvd., 503-771-1112, reed.edu/gallery. Closed Mondays.
The Cooley Gallery displays a breadth of works that supplements Reed College’s humanities programs. It enlightens the surrounding community through shows held in conjunction with local institutions and rotating exhibitions of globally renowned artists.
The city-owned Eastmoreland Golf Course is not only open for inexpensive rounds and range buckets, but is home to a pleasant, no-frills bar and grill. Take your Hennessey out to the driving range in a plastic cup, and bet the next $4.50 bucket on who can hit the ball the farthest.
Mt. Scott Community Center 5530 SE Harold St., 503-823-2223.
The jewel in the crown of Southeast Portland parks, the Mt. Scott Community Center contains a gymnasium, basketball and badminton courts, and a roller rink dating from the 1950s, but its signature attraction remains the indoor lap pool and aquatic park featuring splash-worthy amusements from “lazy river” to towering water slide.
In multiple locations: The Joinery, 4804 SE Woodstock Blvd.
With an influx of younger home buyers intermingling with the blue-collar lifers and long-standing Russian and East Asian communities, Foster-Powell is booming. Once the gateway to the then significantly grimier Lents, Foster-Powell has changed remarkably during the past few years, and those changes could be felt even more if the city proceeds with plans to shrink busy Foster Road down to two lanes. While some of the neighborhood’s more colorful elements might be on the way out, the changes have helped Foster-Powell thrive. How that shrinking road affects it is very much for the neighborhood—both new residents and old heads—to decide.
An Xuyen Bakery, 5345 SE Foster Road. Devils Point, 5305 SE Foster Road. I Heart Retro, 6927 SE Foster Road. Tango Berretin, 6305 SE Foster Road.
Portland Mercado Southeast Foster Road and 72nd Avenue, portlandmercado.org. Lunch and dinner daily.
For a city that constantly bitches about all these Southern California transplants jacking up prices, there’s long been a serious shortfall of reliable Latin American street food. That makes the row of carts in front of Portland Mercado—a sprawling Latino wonderland featuring produce, a carniceria, even a candy store—a godsend. You can get bites from all over the Mexican states, fat pupusas, burritos and tlayuda, but really, the best bet is to make a point to stop at each of these carts to see what your neighbor from Oxnard keeps complaining we don’t have here. $.
An Xuyen Bakery 5345 SE Foster Road, 503-788-0866. Breakfast-early dinner Tuesday-Sunday.
Banh mi is a dime a dozen these days. More accurately, “high-end” versions are everywhere, and usually for $10 a pop. Not at this old-school PDX classic, which still slangs its meatballs and pork roll for under $5, with a bakery’s worth of cream puffs and Vietnamese pastries to boot. Get the sweet iced coffee and some extra, perfect baguettes to go. $.
Gyro House 8140 SE Cora St., 503-206-8000, thegyrohouse.com. Lunch and dinner daily.
The long-grain saffron rice that comes with Gyro House’s lamb-packed, sauce-soaked pitas is wonderful, as are the honey-soft desserts, like moshabak—deep-fried dough strings soaked in what must surely seem an obscenely sweet sauce to anyone more accustomed to panaderia pastries. $.
Road Runner BBQ 5205 SE Foster Road, 503-310-2837. Lunch and dinner Wednesday-Sunday.
Hot damn. Portland’s in a barbecue boom. ’Bout time. The brisket from this weirdly Chief Wiggum-emblazoned cart is among the city’s best-barked wonders, pairing beautifully with that Velveeta-y mac and cheese as well as the onsite bar that calls the Carts on Foster home. $.
Rose VL 6424 SE Powell Blvd., 503-206-4344. Lunch and dinner Monday-Saturday.
Rose VL gives you a choice between two different bowls of plush heaven: A subtle tom yum puts the usual amped-up galangal bomb to shame, while a light chicken noodle with bamboo shoots is rich with marrow and undercut by the slightest hint of earthy herb and ginger. $.
Salt and Pepper 6611 SE Powell Blvd., 503-757-8255. Lunch and dinner daily.
Salt and Pepper, a sit-down Peruvian place in the back end of the Tienda El Campesino store, is a temple of beef, whether lomo saltado—a mixed grill of charred steak, fries and vegetables—or a note-perfect seco de res, essentially a dried-beef stew. $.
Tacos Chavez’s pocket of crisped housemade flour tortilla folded around a mess of starchy fries, char-flecked half-pound of delicious carne asada, bright guac, magmal flow of cheese and piquant pico de gallo is what other burritos would ogle if burritos made pornography. $.
Tambayan 6014 SE Foster Road, 503-777-4217, tambayancuisine.com. Lunch and dinner Wednesday-Sunday.
Mark it: Filipino food’s blowing up. But while you can get a taste at Clyde Common, Tambayan’s the closest thing to a traditional family meal you can get in Portland. That means delicious chicken adobo—simmered in soy and vinegar—and crispy lechon pork belly by the pile. $.
What makes DP the perfect Portland strip club? Is it the fact that it could easily be just a dark punk bar were it not for the tatted women who are more Suicide than silicone? The cheap drinks? The infamous Stripperoke? It’s all of that. This is the strip club you always dreamed of when people talk about titty bars in Stumptown.
N.W.I.P.A. 6350 SE Foster Road, 503-805-7342, nwipa.beer.
N.W.I.P.A.’s Jackson Wyatt knows what he likes, and what he likes are hops. If it’s on tap at N.W.I.P.A., it will be hoppy, fresh and very good. Take note that Wyatt is also a food hound, which means that among the tap takeovers, he will also persuade food carts to park outside, or just go out front to grill.
The requisite Irish-ish dive bar—cavernous, pool-tabled, surly—gets a punk/metal facelift at O’Malley’s, a place so committed to lack of pretension that it hosts an annual Macro Brew Fest with tallboys as a gag. It also, weirdly, has great wood-fired Sicilian pizza.
Slingshot Lounge 5532 SE Center St., 503-445-6649.
Slingshot might have lost a little clout as more bars sprung up around it, but that shouldn’t dissuade folks from making this a go-to local, if only for the cheap beer-whiskey combos, the big-ass booths and, most importantly, the game room on the side, packed with pinball and foosball.
Don’t sleep on Foster Buds, a humble shop that always seems to have the dream team of rare strains and pumped-up classics. Foster Buds carries some harder-to-find stuff, too, like CBD edibles, clones and even Thai sticks.
A one-stop shop for folks looking to mod up their homes with vintage midcentury furniture, I Heart Retro serves as the neighborhood’s best spot for secondhand couches without fleas, kitschy decor, stereo cabinets and anything else you might need to give your home that aesthetically dated look.
Gaming—the Dungeons & Dragons kind—has become a huge thing in Portland, and Red Castle is the eastside’s go-to place for players at any skill level. Magic the Gathering? Eldritch Horror? The old D&D? Here’s where your new best friends hang for upgrades, starter kits and tourneys.
Variety Shop 4932 SE Foster Road, 503-775-2210.
For nerds of a certain vintage, Variety Shop is an island paradise of misfit media. The front of the house is loaded with CDs and vinyl, while in the back VHS tapes are stacked from floor to ceiling, both on shelves and in actual midfloor piles.
Second Saturday Foster Art Walk 4-8 pm second Saturday of the month.
Whenever a neighborhood starts splashing, an art walk is never far behind. Second Saturday is Foster-Powell’s answer to First and Last Thursday, and while it’s still been a slow build between galleries, things can only go up. Plus, free wine will bring anyone out to look at art.
A passion project (“passion” must be used when talking tango), Alex Krebs’ Tango Berretin looks like it could house a questionable churrascaria with its windowless stucco exterior. In fact, what it offers is intensive (and laid-back) Argentine tango lessons and dance events for beginners and advanced dancers. Whether you’re looking for a good date or to get hot and sweaty—as was intended—this is your place.