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Apr 11, 2012 06:48 PM

Best location for endless chowing and drinking!

Hello, 7 of us are planning to visit Portland over the independence day weekend. All of us went to school together and this is a sort of an annual trip that we take where we have awesome food and drink ourselves silly while catching up! Most of us live in NYC and SFO so ideally we like to experience stuff that's not available to us. Portland being the microbrewery capital of the country will fit nicely :) I am still in the process of reading up on old posts and have a ton of stuff, from bars (Teardrop, Apex, Coalition, Clyde Common's, etc), restaurants (Pok Pok, Le Pigeon, Tasty N Sons, Castagana, etc.), coffee and food trucks to narrow down but I wanted to get some advice on what would be the ideal location for us to stay? Given a choice, we'd like to stay as close to everything as possible, esp. the bars and what we're looking for is more Pat O'Briens that say a Death and Co. so more lively, casual, crazy than mellow, grown up places that most of us go to usually. I was thinking Pearl or Downtown but wanted to get some expert local advice. Also, I did not really come across this while reading old posts but what is the live music scene like in the good bars and pubs?And, once I'm done with my narrowing down of places, I'll seek some help with my dining itinerary! Thanks a lot!

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  1. Good on you for doing the research! Close-in east side or downtown will do the trick. It's really easy to get around. Don't want to talk specific hotels as this is a food site, I don't wish to get deleted. Good idea to be near the bars (another to consider is Beaker & Flask).
    You need to make your reservation now, as that is the weekend of the 25th annual Waterfront Blues Festival.

    2 Replies
    1. re: Leonardo

      Thanks! I was referring to
      Does the close-in east side refer to what is called the southeast in the map? And the downtown that you referred to, does it match with what is indicated in the map?

      1. re: indiefoodie

        By close-in eastside I include parts of SE/NE/N that are easily accessible from downtown in ten minutes. As far east as 39th, as far north as Shaver. So no, that map is a bit overly restrictive as to eastside. Westside, that's a pretty good rendition of greater downtown that includes Pearl, Old Town, and NW.

        If you're a drinker you can't miss Distillery Row, speaking of eastside.

    2. Just stay downtown. All the good hotels are there, and Portland is a small city -- there are many little pockets of restaurants and bars all over, but none close to the amount of restaurants and bars within walking distance of downtown hotels. Plus much easier access to things to do during the day in case you want a break from food or drink.

      Local live music scene is good, depending on what you like. Much of it is downtown and on the inner industrial eastside (and I mean "inner" - like within 8 blocks of the river), though there are music venues scattered around.

      Sounds like you might enjoy Bailey's Tavern downtown -- all micros on tap, big beer nerd place, but still very casual and un-touristy.

      1. Thanks guys! Wow, I just tried to map some of the bars and restaurants that I had mentioned and a majority seem to be located in the "close-in east side part" of the city (maybe it's just a coincidence that the ones that I looked up were there). If we do end up staying downtown, what are our options wrt getting to the east side as quickly and painlessly as possible, esp late nights :) Trying to decide if we should live in downtown and go to the east side often or the other way around! Thanks!

        1 Reply
        1. re: indiefoodie

          Try the Jupiter as it also has the Doug Fir attached for food/drink at all hours and live music shows...they offer packages, including ones with Distillery Row Tours. You can walk to Le Pigeon, Beaker & Flask/Rum Club, Mirukatei, EastBurn, and many others. It is very hip - an old motel done up as a rockstar hangout.

          If you choose to stay downtown, I'd suggest the Ace which houses Clyde Common (great food and cocktails) with Kenny & Zuke's deli next door and everything downtown and in the Pearl is walkable like Teardrop, Metrovino great ice cream at Cool Moon, awesome chocolate at Cacao. It's also a hip place.

        2. Thanks guys. I'm still not quite done with my research but based on the stuff that I've read so far, I'm kind of leaning towards the south east.

          The places that interest me are Barista, Heart, Pok Pok, Salt & Straw, Alma/ Cacao, Gruner, Toro Bravo, Nedd Ludd, Tasy N Sons, Little Bird, PSU farmers market, Olympic provisions, Cartopia/Good Food Here/10th and Adler pods, Nuvrei, Ken's artisan bakery, Little T bakery, Bailey's taproom, Oregan wines, Teardrop and Gilt (There are other bars, I just haven't been able to shortlist them yet).

          It seems like a very large majority of these are on the east side (a lot of the bakeries unfortunately seem to be on the west) and we could just go to the downtown area during the day to do some touristy stuff and then come back to the east side in the evening. Taking this into consideration, I'd appreciate if I could get your final verdict on the ideal location - objective is to minimize transport, eat a lot, drink even more, preferably in a casual, fun, hipstery sort of atmosphere - more bourbon street (NOLA) than Meatpacking (NYC)!

          Both Jupiter and Ace are available right now so once I'm done with this, I'll start picking the local's brains on my dining/drinking choices :) Thank you very much!

          6 Replies
          1. re: indiefoodie

            Kennedy School, while not as central as your top choices, is strategically located near NE Alberta & Killingsworth. One to consider.

            A coffee must-have: Ristretto

            Alder not Adler.

            Plenty of great bakeries on the east side! Little T and Bakeshop to name but two.

            1. re: indiefoodie


              West: Barista, Cacao, Gruner, Little Bird, Farmers Market, 10th & Alder, Nuvrei, Ken's, Bailey's, Oregon wines, Teardrop, Gilt

              East: Second Barista location, Heart, Pok Pok, S&S, Alma (Alma also has a stall at the farmers market), Toro Bravo, Ned Ludd, Tasty, OP (there is an west side location too, but the east one is better), Cartopia, Good Food Here, Little T (they sell Little T pastries at Stumptown Ace, but no idea how fresh they are).

              So about 50/50.

              Important thing to note: Portland blocks are about half the size of normal blocks, so when you read a map, don't compare it to NY or SF. If you stay downtown or inner eastside, you can walk to the other in 15-20 minutes. That's how long it would take to walk from the Ace to the Jupiter. That said, most of your east side picks aren't walkable from the Jupiter (Heart, Cartopia are). So you'd be driving/catching a taxi/bus either way. Every one of your west side picks are walking distance from the Ace.

              Both hotels are in areas with good (by Portland standards; not good by bigger cities' standards) nightlife. Old Town and surrounds, which is probably the area's most active nightlife scene and most Bourbon St-esque, is about halfway between the two.

              1. re: chalmers

                I was referring to the comment about most of the choice bakeries being on west side.

                1. re: Leonardo

                  Yeah, I was responding to indiefoodie's "It seems like a very large majority of these are on the east side"

                2. re: chalmers

                  FWIW we had a Little T kouign amann at Stumptown Ace late one afternoon in March. We also had one that we had bought earlier at Little T itself. Quality was comparable.

                3. re: indiefoodie

                  I think you're likely better off at a downtown hotel. Transportation is way easier (taxis, bus, max, streetcar all available) than on the eastside. Things are compressed a bit more than on the eastside and walking a bit more viable. If you stay at the Kennedy school you are a LONG way from downtown and most of the city relatively speaking. At the Ace you are in downtown, practically in the Pearl, a 15 minute walk (or $5-$6 cab ride) to inner southeast. The stretch around the Ace has good bars, restaurants, coffee, food, wine and there is music all over the city. You can figure your itinerary for the day and head to that part of town.

                4. Thanks a lot guys! Unfortunately, we couldn't do Ace but we made reservations at Park Lane suites and Inn which is in downtown but not exactly as centrally located as Ace. I'll finish my research and seek your advice soon :)

                  4 Replies
                  1. re: indiefoodie

                    Actually Park Lane Suites is not downtown, but approximately 13 blocks north of downtown. But it will be a good walk uphill back to the hotel after all the eating and drinking - or a short cab ride away!

                    1. re: ekc

                      No, it's not. It's directly west of downtown. A decent hill, yes it is!

                      1. re: Leonardo

                        Sorry Leonardo, you are absolutely correct - it is west of downtown. I just automatically think North when going uphill!

                        Not the greatest location of eating/drinking, but luckily everything is relatively close in Portland!

                    2. re: indiefoodie

                      @indiefoodie, I was shocked at first by your lodging choice, but on reflection I think it's going to be great for you all. Good views, near Washington Pk., NW 23rd/NW21st, Elephant's, Ken's Bakery, less than a mile to Powell's, close enough to the Pearl. You could even take in a Timbers game on July 3rd! Oh, wait, I now see you're only here for the long weekend.

                      Trimet busses, light rail, street car are good and will get you up and down Burnside pretty fast to access excellent eateries. Best taxi is Radio Cab and the restaurants/bars will call them for you.

                      Have a fun time planning and getting together with friends. Let us know how it goes!