Portland State University students finally have a viable cocktail bar in the form of Vietnamese restaurant Anchoi. The sleek, modern eatery features Vietnamese staples like pho and bánh mì, as well as an array of tropical-themed cocktails designed by Blair Reynolds of the venerable Hale Pele. It’ll soon get a menu revamp, though some drinks will stick around — thankfully, the Indonesian Arrack-spiked daiquiri, a standout on the menu, isn’t going anywhere.
What was once Vault Martini Bar is now Vault Cocktail Lounge after the space was taken over by the team from the Vintage Cocktail Lounge in Montavilla. Gone is the sprawling list of “martini” variations, replaced with a menu resembling the Vintage’s, full of classic cocktails and modern creations; still, the staff is more than happy to try and replicate anything missed from the old menu. The space itself is easily recognizable from before, though with some changes, like a gorgeous backbar set with elaborate metal tiles.
Ex-Renata chef Matt Sigler’s downtown Italian restaurant, Il Solito, pairs hearty Italian comfort food with what’s essentially a Portland-Italian cocktail menu. Bar manager Bryan Galligos has designed each drink with at least one ingredient straight from the Bel Paese. The renovated restaurant space is as eclectically sourced as the drink menu, with black-and-white murals on one wall, framed photos on another, tiles, and more, which somehow manages to make a cohesive space.
Formerly a colorful little cafe, Sweet Nothing kept the leafy wallpaper and leaned into it hard, landing on a Floridian theme with bright colors, live plants, Cuban food, and playful drinks. The cocktails are rooted in the unorthodox fashion of the ‘80s and ‘90s, but even using ingredients like Midori and Hpnotiq, cocktails are well-balanced and not overly sweet. The space is snug, with seats for only 14 or so, but its position just off of the main Mississippi strip means it’s usually not overcrowded.
Portland isn’t exactly known as a “clubbing” city, and the clubs we do have aren’t really cocktail destinations, either. Enter No Vacancy, which fills that vacancy by offering moderately priced, well-made drinks (including a stunning daiquiri made with three rums and allspice dram). It’s all served in an art deco/futurist space, with DJs on the weekends and live jazz and swing during the week.
Kachka has vacated the space on Grand for a larger, full service location, leaving little Kachinka in its stead. The space doesn’t look any different, with its narrow hallway seating, Eastern European wallpaper, and rustic wooden tables, but the more casual cocktail-and-snacks vibe fits it well. Grab a Moscow mule and a Russian dog, infused vodka and pelmeni, or any of the other amazing Russian fare here.
Keys Lounge feels a lot like your coolest friend’s basement bar in the 1970s. A spacious room lined with vintage records and vinyl booths, the retro bar boasts a nice patio perfect for warm-ish summer nights. The menu includes a fun tiki selection as well as a “boozy” section of high-proof cocktails, with prices hovering around the $9 mark; stop in for happy hour from 3 to 7 p.m. and again from 11 to close for $5 daiquiris and champagne cocktails.
Canard is the third venture from legendary Portland chef and restaurateur Gabriel Rucker and his wine director, Andy Fortgang, next door to their flagship restaurant restaurant Le Pigeon. Stepping into it is like walking into a cafe of the Belle Époque, with a small wrapped marble bartop and an array of high tables, but the food and drinks are anything but old-fashioned. Fortgang has brought in a killer wine list, helpfully detailed with anecdotes about the wines and their makers, while classic cocktails with a modern touch dominate the drink menu. Try the Foie Turn, a cocktail with foie gras washed bourbon, along with the transcendent foie gras dumplings for a truly indulgent experience.
959 SE Division St
Portland, OR 97214
Owned and operated by Portland bartending icon Ricky Gomez (Teardrop Lounge), Palomar serves a variety of daiquiris, some blended, others not, as well as drinks like an amazing piña colada and a stellar old-fashioned with rum and coconut; plus, each drink can get an absinthe upgrade for just 25 cents. Palomar also continues Portland’s current, welcome trend of vivid, colorful bars (see: Capitol) rather than dark, industrial spots.
Inspired by the Memphis Group, an Italian design style rooted in modernist aesthetics and strong geometric shapes, Enoteca Nostrana is a bold, stylish space, a two-story bar filled with a massive, double-decker, illuminated wine cabinet. The bar offers a more casual version of Nostrana’s menu, with some basic pasta options, salads, and the like, plus bar snacks that pair well with both wine and cocktails — try the seared albacore tuna tataki with a white or rosé wine for a delectable treat.
The most recent in the wave of high-end wine bar openings, OK Omens replaced Cafe Castagna with an upgraded space: Brighter, lighter, and less cavernous, a banquette now takes up the center of the room, offering a more comfortable and casual arena for wines by the glass and bites by James-Beard-nomJustin Woodward. The cocktails here fit the wine theme with vermouth and sherry based drinks, but the real star is the ridiculously affordable and geeky-yet-accessible wines by the glass and bottle.
Filling the space that was once home to Wild Abandon, Blackheart harkens back to the punk rock days of SE Portland, serving breakfast all evening in a laid-back space. A collection of vintage lamps give a soft light to the room full of leather booths, high-backed stools, and clunky mirrors, while tattooed bartenders sling cocktails and cheap drink specials like Jack Daniels and tallboy combos. Eventually it’ll add some karaoke, but for now come in for the affordable drinks, eclectic artwork, and ‘80s New Wave playing on the speakers.
15. The Cavern
4601 SE Hawthorne Blvd
Portland, OR 97215
Joining the historic upper Hawthorne district is Cavern, slipping in like it’s been there for a decade. A cross between an old-school Portland dive and a cocktail lounge, the bar is appropriately named, a dark and cozy watering hole with a focus on whiskey and other dark spirits. Bar stools and a few booths are the only seats available, so don’t bring a huge party.
Anthony Falco, the chef whose wood-fired pizzas helped put the Brooklyn restaurant Roberta’s — and its Bushwick neighborhood — on the map, was visiting Portland Wednesday, his second trip west in two weeks, this time to make pizza for the Feast Portland food and drink festival kick-off party at The Overlook House in North Portland.
Pulling out rounds of dough before a row of super-hot Easy Bake-sized Breville ovens, Falco explained that his pet theory was built in part behind visits to three of Portland’s best pizzerias: the classic East Coast-style Apizza Scholls, the seasonally-driven Lovely’s Fifty Fifty and the nerdy-fun slice shop Scottie’s. (For the record, those are, respectively, two of Portland’s very best restaurants and the city’s No. 2 slice shop.)
“It’s about the flour,” Falco said, “and the produce.” In Portland, pizzerias such as Scottie’s or Handsome make naturally leavened doughs using high-quality milled grains from the Pacific Northwest. (Contrast that with the bleached and bromated flours used at many Manhattan pie shops.) Others, most notably North Mississippi’s Lovely’s Fifty Fifty, are essential farm-to-table restaurants in their own right, places where the market-fresh produce, foraged mushrooms and pungent cheeses happen to be found on a pizza.
For the record, that International Pizza Consultant title is a bit tongue-in-cheek, though Falco does indeed travel the globe, sourdough starter stowed in his suitcase, helping restaurants set up their pizza programs. And his guanciale, wild mushroom and liquified triple cream cheese pizza was one of the best bites of the misty night, joining the caviar-topped Cool Ranch Doritos from Kachka and the salt-and-pepper fried everything from San Francisco’s Mister Jiu’s. Who better to make the call on Portland’s national pizza ranking?
PoMo also teases the menu for Agnes, which leans heavily into “old-school French comfort food”, in Denton’s words. Items like cassoulet, steak-frites, tartare, and profiteroles scream French classicism, although it’s not all oh-là-là-tellement-français — there looks to be some hybrid items, such as a cheeseburger, albeit one with truffled Bordelaise sauce.
Bistro Agnes will start out as a dinner-only establishment, open seven nights, with lunch slated to be added after opening.
Local hikers know this: while spring brings flowers and summer a warm reprieve from rain, the very best time to hike in Oregon is fall. During this all-too-fleeting shoulder season, the air is crisp, not sweltering, wildlife busily makes hay (or gathers nuts) while the sun still shines, and determined late blooms still appear here and there, alongside trees newly ablaze with color.
Brian Barker—author of Take a Walk Portlandand frequent contributor to Portland Monthly’s Field Notes department—says he also loves fall hiking for the welcome decrease in trail traffic.
“It’s a refreshing change after the summer,“ he says. “The days that we have blue skies are a good time to soak it up before it gets too rainy.”
Location: Forest Park Distance from downtown Portland: 3 miles
Trail length: 8.4 miles Difficulty: Moderate
Even in summer, when Forest Park is crowded with Portlanders trying to escape city life, the centrally located Maple-Wildwood Loop tends to be less thronged. In fall, look for bunches of bluish-purple Oregon grapes, our state flower. Look, but don’t taste; this native fruit is face-twistingly tart. (It’s much sweeter cooked, or perhaps jellied.)
Location: Washington Park, near the Oregon Zoo Distance from downtown Portland: 4 miles Trail length: Varies Difficulty: Varies
There is no one right way to explore Portland’s living tree museum. Whether you want to relax or challenge yourself, there is a trail for everyone. Looking for some guidance? On Saturday, October 21, you can take the Fall Color Tour. But, if you want to wander by yourself, we recommend the southern urban terminus of the Wildwood Trail, where you can see the dramatic hues of the small but mighty Franklinia altamaha, or Franklin tree, decked out in fragrant white flowers.
Location: Ridgefield National Wildlife Refuge (Washington) Distance from downtown Portland: 29 miles Trail length: 2 miles Difficulty: Easy
The refuge trail is a great place for viewing wildlife, particularly the many migratory birds that pass through this rich wetland ecosystem from September through December. (To quote the journals of one Captain William Clark, passing through here in 1805: “I slept but very little last night for the noise kept up during the whole of the night by the swans, geese…brant (and) ducks on a small sand island…they were immensely numerous and their noise horrid.”) There are more tranquil attractions here, too—witness the refuge’s numerous Oregon white oaks, whose fall leaves turn copper as their branches grow heavy full of acorns. If you’re lucky (and quiet), you might even spot a coyote or the adorable red fox.
Location: Columbia River Gorge (Washington) Distance from downtown Portland: 70 miles Trail length: 9.4 miles Difficulty: Hard
Desperate to get back to the Columbia River Gorge? There are a few trails that were left undamaged by the Eagle Creek Ffre, including this challenging loop, which not only boasts three gorgeous waterfalls but also, during fall, a fringe of yellow maples bordered by huge green Douglas Firs. If you go before the weather gets too cold, you can also see wild roses lining the trail.
Location: Indian Heaven Wilderness (Washington) Distance from downtown Portland: 105 miles Trail length: 3.3 miles Difficulty: Moderate
Warning: this trail is steep; you’ll climb 1,000 feet in two miles. But there’s a benefit to the climb: spectacular views of Mt. Rainier once you reach 5,100 feet. On the trail, look for plentiful larches, which in summer resemble regular evergreens; come fall, however, their needles turn a golden yellow. Also look for bushes filled with huckleberries—they can be picked until mid-November.
Southeast Portland’s Sellwood neighborhood can feel something like Northwest Portland circa 2005: low-key, but with signs of imminent growth everywhere you look. Opened last summer in the ground floor of a newish condo building, Ancestry embraces all these qualities. On weekday afternoons the Tualatin-based brewery’s second site is decidedly “Sunday Funday,” with locals leafing through newspapers while sipping on one of the pub’s 23 draughts or digging into a heaping burger, while unleashed dogs sprawl in the sunshine on the sidewalk. 8268 SE 13th Ave
MUST DRINK:The Legion SessionIPA, a bright, easy-drinking vision of Portland’s signature style —MP
Taste something you love at Labrewatory? Too bad—it’s never coming back. The North Portland spot, a project from brewing equipment maker Portland Kettle Works, stocks its taps with experimental one-offs, made in collaboration with brewers from near and far. And, somewhat stunningly, the approach succeeds more often than it flops: a recent visit yielded a well-balanced farmhouse saison; a slightly spicy stout pepped up with Mexican chocolate and cinnamon, and a lovely, low-ABV yuzu sour. The décor is modern farmhouse dungeon: lots of salvaged wood and steel, with a few nods to science, including metal-ringed Edison bulbs that recall atomic particles (or, according to a friend, “bondage orbs”). 670 N Russell St MUST DRINK:The taplist is always changing, so order whatever looks weird—say, a blond sour aged in tequila barrels and finished with Sencha green tea—and cross your fingers. —RJ
A city gets what it needs when it needs it; right now we need a perch to watch Slabtown transform. Breakside’s high-ceilinged, glossy-finished new outpost rallies this Northwest pocket’s rapidly growing population of residents and workers: when the sun shines, the garage doors swing up, bar-side talk turns to real estate, and the surrounding construction sites just seem like scenery. Meanwhile, sparkling seasonals flow—the piquant, muscular Rhymes With Blood Orange IPA, for example, packs a zip code full of citrus. 1570 NW 22nd Ave MUST DRINK: The IPA-heavy list rarely disappoints. If it’s still on tap, try June’s Rainbows & Unicorns, a session IPA that glimmers and shimmers with pineapple and peach. —ZD
Convenience has never been a hallmark of Portland craft. But scoring a bottle of Moonshrimp is not easy even by local standards. Opened last April, the tiny two-barrel operation sells 22 oz bottles from its walk-up window on the side of a lime-green building in Southwest and only on Tuesdays. (You can also find Moonshrimp at a few select bottle shops in town.) In his defense, owner Dan McIntosh-Tolle says he likes to “see things differently.” Where others see a man in the moon, he sees a shrimp. (Hence the name.) After being diagnosed with celiac disease in 2008, McIntosh-Tolle whipped up an addictive, adaptable gluten-free recipe using water, vegan beet sugar, and millet, yielding fruity, wine-like “ales” similar to brettanomyces—“Brett”—beers. 8428 SW 22nd Ave MUST DRINK: The Starlight White Ale, a crisp, dry ale with slightly tangy, orange notes. —MN
Owner and brewer Tom Sims has been pouring classic Northwest ales at his Hillsdale brewpub since 2011. But after opening this 4,000-square-foot, 15-barrel, 22-tap expansion in industrial Northwest this spring, Sims and head brewer Mike Paladino plan a renewed assault on Portland’s beer scene, sallying forth with lagered beers, barrel-aged ales and ciders, and, soon, bottles. Clean white tiles and dark woods bestow a lively modern vibe on the space, with an outdoor patio in the works. Local artist Chris Bigalke painted a bright, wall-size mural to honor the tasting room’s best feature: its location. With the Aspen and Wild Cherry trailheads just minutes away, Sasquatch hopes to become the post-hike destination for thirsty Forest Parkers. 2531 NW 30th Ave MUST DRINK: The Grapefruit IPA, a tart citrus spin on the Northwest classic, signaling Sasquatch’s experimental mood. —MP
In the scrum of rush hour, car commuters flow past the drab cinderblock structure just southeast of the Powell Boulevard bridgehead. That’s fine; brewmaster Carston Haney (formerly of Alameda Brewing) seems to be banking instead on Brooklyn neighborhood foot traffic. Varied locals sip his remarkably well-balanced British styles in a five-month-old taproom awash in quirk: all vintage frontiersman accoutrements and air plants. Do the mounted wooden paddles presage a coming flood of interest? 730 SE Powell Blvd MUST DRINK With notes of chocolate and coffee, Ben’s Porter is a can’t miss. —RD
Hard by the train tracks down a dead-end street north of NE Lombard, in a ramshackle building that also includes a metal workshop and a theater, Royale Brewing’s industrial-feel tasting room sits snug against its 15-barrel brewhouse. Hours change with the day and the season, but Mondays can bring a flock of pedalers headed to or from the bike races at nearby PIR, with numbered racers enjoying a discount on pints of Royale’s dependable classics (a Bavarian-style pilsner, a golden Fat Unicorn pale). Five miles away, Royale’s Garrison Tap Room, abutting the Sudra and 87th and Meatballs on the main drag of St. Johns, is an indoor-outdoor spread with picnic tables and a clear-roofed patio (kids allowed outside only), the garage door–style windows open for a clear view of the sportsball on the TV and projector screen inside. 55 NE Farragut St (brewery), 8773 N Lombard St (Garrison) MUST DRINK: The citrusy seasonal Willamette Stone Summer Ale, a cloudy wheat number with Meridian hops and just the right amount of tang —MS
Crowds already flock to this Central Eastside brew complex from Double Mountain cofounder Charlie Devereux and the dudes behind Sizzle Pie and Podnah’s Pit—with nary a sip of house suds on tap. From the brawny tap hall’s huge, crazy-angled cedar deck and hearty roster of wood-fire-grilled comfort grub to 16 taps of German-inspired brews—it’s a hoppy pleasure palace. But by summer, Wayfinder brewmaster Kevin Davey (Gordon Biersch, Firestone Walker) finally gets to show off his own beers, primarily clean German- and Czech-style lagers as well as IPAs to start. (A pale lager and IPA dropped in early June.) “I trained in Germany ... I’ve got lager street cred,” laughs the brewer, who ran the popular lager operation Chuckanut Brewery in Bellingham, Washington. “Expect to see some great traditional beers. It’ll be like a trip back to Europe.” 304 SE Second Ave MUST DRINK: For now, guzzle a Snufflefluffagus, the brewery’s hop-dizzy “Dank IPA” collaboration with Zoiglhaus. —KC
Portlanders don’t need to travel far to get out for spring break – though there are plenty of good day trips around the region. Instead, consider sticking around the city, taking advantage of all Portland has to offer.
With miles of beautiful hiking trails, several top-notch attractions and activities for kids and adults alike, Portland can be a spring break sanctuary, requiring little expense and little trouble getting around: many places on this list are free and several are accessible by public transportation. From spring flowers to LEGO art, here are 10 local excursions for the break.
Randy L. Rasmussen/The Oregonian
It’s never a bad time to visit the Oregon Museum of Science and Industry, but this spring is an especially good time to go. Last month the museum opened its spectacular new LEGO exhibit, “The Art of the Brick.” Featuring large-scale work by acclaimed Oregon-born artist Nathan Sawaya, the exhibit features a 20-foot tyrannosaurus rex skeleton, reproductions of several famous works of art and Sawaya’s famous sculpture “Yellow.”
2. Portland Hikes
When people talk about hiking around Portland they’re not usually talking about the city itself. It’s a shame, because Portland boasts a wide network of incredible hiking trails, from the 30-mile Wildwood Trail in Forest Park to the nine miles of trails atop Powell Butte. Locals might want to visit the lovely Marquam Nature Park in southwest Portland, or tackle the 11-mile Marquam Trail hike from Forest Park to Willamette Park.
3. Oregon Zoo
Even if you’ve spent a lot of time at the zoo, there’s actually a lot that’s new to see at the popular Portland attraction. Last month marked the grand opening of the Oregon Zoo’s new education center, while new polar bear cub Nora is still making a splash. The zoo will also host a spring break day camp from March 27 to 31.
4. Wooden Shoe Tulip Festival
March 24 marks the opening of the always-colorful Wooden Shoe Tulip Festival in 2017, a month-long display of blooming tulips at the Wooden Shoe Tulip Farm in Woodburn. The 40-acre farm lets visitors wander through and take pictures with the flowers, offering wine tastings, cow train rides and fresh-cut flowers to boot.
5. Oregon City
Oregon City isn’t at the top of many travel bucket lists, but it’s a great afternoon trip for Willamette Valley residents or Oregon history buffs. The McLoughlin Promenade walk is a good way to tour the city, going from the lovely main street up the famed Municipal Elevator, past overlooks of Willamette Falls and the Blue Heron Paper Mill, and to the historic McLoughlin House.
6. Fort Vancouver
One of the most popular national park sites in the Pacific Northwest, Fort Vancouver is also by far the most convenient to get to from Portland. Set along the northern shore of the Columbia River, the historic park is a throwback to the pioneer era, complete with blacksmithing demonstrations and reconstructed quarters from the fort’s time of prominence in the Oregon Territory
7. Stiegerwald National Wildlife Refuge
Head across the Columbia River, then drive west past Washougal in the Columbia River Gorge National Scenic Area, and you’ll find a wildlife wonderland that’s definitely worth your time. The Steigerwald Lake National Wildlife Refuge is home to deer, beavers, turtles, toads and more than 200 species of birds. Bring your binoculars and hit the trail, where the animals aren’t exactly shy.
8. Portland Japanese Garden
It’s an exciting time at the Portland Japanese Garden, which on April 2 will open its new Cultural Crossing expansion, including several new garden spaces, a castle wall, Umami Tea Café and several other buildings for educational and shopping purposes. The old garden area will still offer the same tranquility and beauty as always.
9. Umbrella Festival
Highlighting Portland’s colorful underground circus community, the annual Umbrella Festival will run from March 30 to April 2 at the Alberta Rose Theatre in northeast Portland. Every day offers a different show, ranging from youth-oriented and family-friendly shows to performances aimed at adult audiences only.
10. Evergreen Aviation and Space Museum
Located just southwest of Portland in McMinnville the Evergreen Aviation and Space Museum is a great local excursion for all-ages, featuring a hanger full of air and spacecraft, as well as a waterpark, theater and educational events. On March 31, the museum will host a spring break model rocket day camp for kids.
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