We’re looking forward to the All Attendee Reception! Check out all of the delicious food options below!
Note: Attendee badge will be required to attend this event. It is not open to the general public (guest of attendees may purchase tickets).
We’re looking forward to the All Attendee Reception! Check out all of the delicious food options below!
Note: Attendee badge will be required to attend this event. It is not open to the general public (guest of attendees may purchase tickets).
Contributed by: Amber D’Ambrosio is Processing Archivist & Records Manager at Willamette University, a small, urban liberal arts college in Salem, Oregon, where she manages the collections and wrangles ArchivesSpace and Archivematica. In her spare time she writes, reads about early modern London, hikes, travels, and obsessively visits the Oregon Coast.
You’ve probably heard rumors about the Portland donut scene, and I’m just scratching the surface with the those most accessible to the conference venues. I’ve also included mention of shops for those with dietary restrictions (unfortunately, less accessible from the conference locations) so be sure to keep reading if you’re looking for vegan or gluten-free donut options.
Let’s get Voodoo Doughnuts out of the way. Voodoo Doughnuts is for tourists, and it serves its role well. On my very first trip to Portland for ACRL, I did my due diligence and stood in line (fortunately, not for very long) to glimpse the weird and wonderful concoctions with creative names. You will most likely stand in line, especially outside the downtown location, which is walking distance from the conference. Voodoo Doughnuts is known for its weird toppings (Captain Crunch on your doughnut, anyone?) and weird shapes (yes, that is exactly what you think it is). However, you quickly discover that the base doughnut under the quirky gimmicks is average. You can also purchase plain, tame doughnuts here if all of the wacky toppings and shapes are ultimately unappealing once you reach the counter. Voodoo Doughnuts is an experience, and it’s worth a visit, especially with a friend.
For those more interested in the gourmet doughnuts of Portland, there are other options. You will probably still have to stand in line unless you get there very early in the morning on a weekend. Blue Star Donuts is walkable from the downtown conference hotel (you do have to walk uphill on the way there) but might require use of public transit for those with weary feet. Blue Star is known for donuts like Blueberry Bourbon Basil and Buttermilk Lemon Poppyseed. These are decadent and well worth the wait in line. They serve Coava Coffee to accompany their rich donuts.
Another local favorite is Coco Donuts, which walks the line between classic and gourmet quite nicely. They also roast their own coffee and make craft coffee beverages to accompany their classic donut selection. The best part is that Coco Donuts is within a block of the downtown Hilton. For those of you staying across the river, it’s still a reasonable walk or there’s always the MAX light rail.
For those wanting to indulge in small, fancy donuts and Portland food cart culture, there’s also Donut Byte Labs. This cool blue food cart specializes in bite-size donuts in three tiers of flavors: simple, mid-tier, and advanced. Simple and mid-tier more closely resemble classic donuts while the advanced have the gourmet quality of Blue Star but often paired with pastry cream and other complementary toppings. Donut Byte Labs resides on a corner not far from Voodoo Doughnuts and is within walking distance of the conference venues.
Vegans, don’t despair! Portland recently gained a dedicated vegan donut shop called Doe Donuts. They specialize in artisanal vegan donuts, but the downside is that you’ll need either a car or to take the bus to reach it.
For something closer to the conference venues for both vegans and those on gluten-free diets, there’s Gluten Free Gem, which doesn’t specialize in donuts but does carry them among its other pastries.
Contributor: Diana Banning is the City Archivist for the City of Portland and is a member of the host committee.
While the primary reasons for attending the conference are education and networking, many attendees are hoping for a chance to sample the excellent beer selection Portland offers. I don’t want to dissuade you from your beer, and with the Oregon Brewers Festival happening at the Tom McCall Waterfront Park during the conference, I don’t think it is possible. However, I’d like to take the opportunity to introduce you to Portland’s craft cider culture.
Oregon is sandwiched between the first and fifth-rated apple producing states, and according to the Northwest Horticultural Council, the Northwest region produces about 66% of the U.S. apple crop. With all of these apples, how could we not embrace cider as the next big thing? Almost every pub, bottle shop, and restaurant serves cider and is quite often one of the tap offerings. If you’re really up for some cider, I recommend that you dive right in and visit one or more of Portland’s cideries.
Most cideries have a large selection of ciders so you should find several that will suit your taste-preferences. Feel like something more dry than sweet? Perhaps you want something a bit sweet, yet super refreshing? Or maybe something a bit earthy with some body to it? And for you hop-lovers, local cider-producers have been hopping their ciders to produce the perfect fusion of beer and cider. If you can’t decide, or you just want to sample several, most places offer tasting sizes.
There are many places to enjoy cider in the city, but the list below focuses on places that are pretty close to the Convention Center, or are super-worthy of a streetcar ride or as a Lyft destination.
Closest to the Oregon Convention Center
807 NE Couch St., 503-662-8275, http://ciderriot.com/
Cider Riot produces excellent dry ciders, often incorporating interesting ingredients that provide a sweet edge.
You can either walk to Cider Riot, or catch the streetcar in front of the Convention Center on MLK, headed south and debark at Burnside. Walk east 4 blocks to NE 8th. Cider Riot is on NE Couch (1 block north of Burnside).
If you’re walking east on Burnside, consider stopping by Rontoms for a tasty cocktail, hit up Sizzle Pie for a slice to keep you going, or continue up to SE 9th and stop by the Doug Fir Lounge. If you instead walk east on SE Couch (remember, if you want to say it like a Portlander, pronounce “Couch” not like an alternative to a sofa, but like “Cooch”), drop by Burnside Brewing Company before heading to Cider Riot.
1813 NE 2nd Ave., 503-567-2221, http://reverendnatshardcider.com/
This is my top choice for cider, hands-down. Rev. Nat produces exceptional ciders, some of which are standbys and always on the menu, while others are experiments with a “what the hell, why not?” attitude when it comes to ingredients. You never know what will be on the pour list, so it’s always an adventure. If they are serving Tepache, order one – you won’t be sorry. Or if The Passion is being offered, embrace it – full of passion fruit flavor, without being sweet. Their Sacrilege Sour Cherry is pretty awesome and will bring many naysayers to the cider altar.
Rev. Nat’s is worth the little extra journey, which can start by catching the northbound streetcar on NE Grand (one block east of the Convention Center). Get off at NE Broadway and 2nd, and walk north on NE 2nd one block. If you need something to eat, just around the corner is Pine State Biscuits. Go ahead, you won’t be sorry.
A little further afield
Portland Cider House
3638 SE Hawthorne Blvd., 503-206-6283, https://www.portlandcider.com/pdxciderhouse/
Count ‘em – 28 taps. Not only can you count them, you can keep track of what they are pouring and how quickly they are running out by keeping watch of their inventory here. You can always find a selection of their own ciders, along with a great array of local offerings. As I’m viewing their current list, I see some favorites: Atlas’ Dragonfruit, Apple Outlaw’s Blackberry Bounty (also known as mama’s soda in my household), and Finnriver’s Black Currant.
You’ll probably want to Uber or Lyft here, but don’t dismay – Hawthorne Blvd offers so much to make it worth your while. Love a good thrift-shop clothing find? Hawthorne has several shops to fill your needs. Great food, too. You can also visit the McMenamins’ Bagdad theater and pub for a movie, food, and beer.
Rachel’s Ginger Beer
3646 SE Hawthorne Blvd., https://rachelsgingerbeer.com/pages/se-portland
Okay, while not a cidery, this place is not to be missed and is next-door to the Portland Cider House. This place is a gift from our neighbor to the north (aka Seattle). Their ginger beer is a common ingredient in many Portland cocktails and is pretty divine on its own. They also serve up a variety of cocktails, including an amazing Moscow Mule. Check it out!
Schilling Cider House
930 SE 10th Ave, https://www.schillingciderhouse.com/coming-soon
As of this writing, the Schilling Cider House is not yet open but will be available by the time SAA hits Portland. Based on my experiences visiting their Seattle location, I predict this place will knock my socks off. Selling only craft ciders, they are advertising 50 rotating taps, an outdoor patio, and a large selection of bottled cider.
They are situated on the Goat Blocks in a new building (for a bit of crazy Portland whimsy, check out this page for information on why it is called the goat blocks: http://thebelmontgoats.org/.)
1212-D SE Powell Blvd., 503-445-0577, http://www.bushwhackercider.com/
Portland’s first cidery, and they claim that they are the country’s original cider pub. At last count, they offer 340 bottles from around the world and they have several taps.
6719 NE 18th Ave., http://www.hiwheelwines.com/
This is definitely not a cidery, nor is it an easy trek unless you are taking Uber or Lyft; however, it is definitely worth the time and effort if you want to try out something unique. Hi-Wheel serves up handcrafted fizzy wines. Yup. Fizzy. As well as meads, beer, and cider.
So let’s get back to the whole fizzy wine thing. Right now they are serving up Black Lightning, which is black currant wine with peppercorns, chili flakes, and clove. They also have their Blackberry Habanero, Blueberry Basil, Chocolate Cherry, Death Wish Bunny (carrot wine, ginger, and chai). Don’t let the ingredients and the delightful colors scare you – this is good…stuff. Refreshing and tasty. You can also purchase bottles to take home with you.
In addition to a relaxing patio, and excellent service, they are situated next to Tamale Boy. Order some food and have it delivered to you on the Hi-Wheel side. Excellent tamales, and try their Brussel sprouts!
If you’d like to learn more about cider, here is a good blog to visit: https://cidersays.com/.
Contributor: Diana Banning is the City Archivist for the City of Portland and is a member of the host committee.
Portland extends its innovative approach to all things food-related by offering imaginative and tasty cocktails that are sure to satisfy, often using local booze and other ingredients. Almost anywhere you go in town you’ll find a place to imbibe, but if you’re interested in some Portland favorites, here’s a list to check out. I’ve included a few bars close to the Convention Center and the conference hotels. There are also some great bars that will take you into fun neighborhoods – if you don’t mind using public transportation (don’t worry, it’s easy! And safe!), or taking a taxi, uber, or lyft.
Near the Oregon Convention Center
Altabira in the Hotel Eastlund
1021 NE Grand Avenue
Located on the rooftop of the Hotel Eastlund and just a few steps away from the Convention Center, how could you go wrong?
Spirit of 77
500 NE MLK Jr Blvd
While you can’t get a cocktail here, I’d feel remiss if I didn’t point out this bar just down the street from the Convention Center. If you don’t mind a sports bar vibe, and are happy with beer and wine, then this is a convenient place for meeting up with colleagues. Yes, there IS a Red Robin close by, but really, why would you?
Most of the places listed for downtown are walkable from the Hilton.
The Melting Pot
1001 SW 5th Ave
If you’re staying at the Hilton, you just might be able to see the entrance to this restaurant from your window. Every town needs a fondue restaurant, and this is Portland’s. Close by and their cocktails are pretty decent.
Multnomah Whiskey Library
1124 SW Alder St
In case you’re wondering, yes I do like my whiskey. Add “library” to the name and all will power goes out the door. But lest you think whiskey is all they offer here, fear not! They use a lot of local ingredients to make well-crafted cocktails. The bar has this to say about their bartenders: “[they] not only mix cocktails, but act as historians, chefs, and evangelists.” AMEN!
511 NW Couch St
Remember those youthful days spent playing arcade and video games? What if you could relive those days AND enjoy a drink while doing so? Ground Kontrol has you covered. With 27 pinball machines, over 60 classic video games, and a full-service bar, why wouldn’t you check this out?
1014 SW Stark St.
If you watch Portlandia you may have a déjà vu moment when you walk into the Ace Hotel, which houses Clyde Common. However, don’t let that put you off from the wonders that await you in the restaurant and bar. The bar is run by Jeffrey Morgenthaler, who was named America’s Bartender of the Year in 2016. Known for his barrel-aged cocktails and putting a new spin on old favorites, this is a bar you need to visit. It doesn’t hurt that the food is also exquisitely crafted.
Tasty n Alder
580 SW 12th Ave
Chef John Gorham is quite a thing here in Portland and owns several restaurants in town: Toro Bravo, Tasty n Sons, Shalom Y’all, Plaz Del Toro. The food: divine. The cocktails: fun and well-crafted. I usually go to the Tasty n Sons in my neighborhood, but you can’t go wrong with any of Gorham’s restaurants. If they happen to be serving their venison pate on the meat board, get it. You can thank me later.
Portland City Grill
111 5th Ave
The drink menu is pretty solid, but what you’re really here for is the view. Located on the 30th floor of the US Bank building (commonly referred to as Big Pink because it is 1. tall, and 2. it is pink.) Try to time your visit for happy hour, but get there early.
Departure Restaurant and Lounge
525 SW Morrison St
Speaking of roof top bars, here’s another one you should visit. The view is worth it.
If you’ve decided to take the streetcar and don’t mind a little walk, here are some places to check out that are still near the Convention Center:
Produce Row Café
204 SE Oak St
A Portland institution for food and drink. With 24 taps, a large whiskey selection, wine and bubbles, and nice cocktails, this is a good place to please the group. To get here, grab the streetcar in front of the Convention Center on MLK and debark at MLK and Morrison. You’ll need to backtrack a few blocks.
726 SE 6th Avenue
Cocktails. In case you need more – food cooked in a wood fire. Yum!
720 SE Sandy Blvd
I am told that this is where the bartenders flock for their cocktail hour; I don’t know if this is true, but I can say they care about their craft and want to make sure you have an excellent experience. Nice patio as well.
600 East Burnside Stree
Looking for more of a party scene after dark? Rontoms is your place. Great food, better drinks, and a large patio. Located in an area of town that offers good people watching and a bit of excitement.
Doug Fir Lounge
830 E Burnside ST
The Doug Fir has it all. Really. Attached to the Jupiter Hotel, it serves as a model for reinventing a building. The dive motor hotel was transformed several years ago into a hip hotel. During the renovation they designed the Doug Fir to look like a log cabin. A popular place to eat and drink, it is also home to one of the best small live music venues in town. Check out the calendar of shows: http://www.dougfirlounge.com/calendar. Saturday night 7/29 you could see the 10,000 Maniacs….
The SE part of Portland is home to a lot of nightlife, great food and drinks. Well worth the effort to check the area out. Here are some favorite places to get some quality cocktails.
SE Belmont Street: Belmont is a sweet street to explore and as you get closer to SE Cesar Chavez Blvd you’ll find more shops, restaurants, and bars. This street is close to Lone Fir Cemetery, home to many of our founding fathers and mothers.
The Sweet Hereafter
3326 SE Belmont St
Looking for a place that serves up vegan food with their drinks? This is the place for you! Even if you aren’t vegan, the food is great, and the vibe is defiantly Portland, through and through. A good place to find those hip lumberjack types.
3348 SE Belmont St
A prohibition themed bar with outstanding cocktails. They get my vote for the best Moscow Mule in town! The food offerings are pretty amazing, too.
The Liquor Store
3341 SE Belmont St
Just across the street from the Sweet Hereafter and Circa 33, you’ll find one of Portland’s new live music venues with a well-rated bar.
SE Hawthorne Blvd: An early hipster destination with plenty of places to eat, drink, and shop. Great street to find vintage clothing shops.
Gold Dust Meridian
3267 SE Hawthorne Blvd
A popular hangout with good drinks and a great place to people watch. Full disclosure: The few times I’ve been here, I’ve never felt so old and unhip.
5008 SE Hawthorne Blvd
Great and imaginative drinks with a relaxed vibe. How could you not love a place that has this on their menu: “We will never give you a hard time for what you like to drink, ‘cause hell, we all like weird shit.” There are several bars within a block of each other on this end of SW Hawthorne, so have fun!
SE Division St: This street used to be pretty sleepy with a few restaurants and bars. The last few years have brought big changes – most of it good, unless you are trying to find parking. If you are looking for a street that contains some of the best Portland has to offer, this is it, my friends.
Starting with the West end of the street, some notable places: Double Dragon (perhaps the best Bahn Mi in town); Bar Avignon; Salt and Straw ice cream (if deciding between Voodoo Donuts and Salt and Straw ice cream for your destination food “must-try” – pass on the first and go for the second. Voodoo is meh.)
More on Salt and Straw. If you haven’t heard of it, it’s a crazy sensation. Still a young company, they’ve been wildly popular and growing. Why do people stand in lines nearly a block long, even in the rain? I think it is the 17% butterfat. Or maybe the innovative flavors. Depending on the time of year, you might find flavors like bone marrow, turkey, squid ink, edible flowers, wasabi and green apple. But they also have flavors for the less adventurous. They use a lot of locally sourced ingredients and are quality all the way. http://saltandstraw.com/
Caution! Clowns ahead!
2432 SE 11th Ave
Just off of Division St, the Funhouse describes itself as “a modern cabaret of sorts.” On any given night you can listen to comedy, watch a burlesque show, improve, storytelling, and many more entertainment forms. I don’t know that the drinks are anything special, but the experience should be!
Whiskey Soda Lounge / Pok Pok
3131 SE Division St / 3226 SE Division ST
These two establishments are owned by Any Ricker and are just across the street from each other. Pok Pok should be a destination place for all Portland visitors. The food is amazing and they have that whole umami thing nailed down. But since we are talking cocktails here, I want to point out that you should really drink here. Bringing unexpected ingredients together, they create a whole new world for cocktail lovers. Tamarind in your whiskey sour? Yup. Maybe some salted plum in your vodka Collins. Sure! Best of all are their drinks using their in-house brand of drinking vinegars. Vinegar in your drink?! Try it – I’d be surprised if you weren’t won over.
While North Portland is developing along with the rest of the city, it still maintains much of its blue collar vibe. Grab the Yellow Max line headed in the direction of the Expo Center, or one of the many buses headed north, and check out my neighborhood! If you get off at the Kenton MAX stop, you can visit our own 37’ tall Paul Bunyan statue. Bars and restaurants await you in Kenton.
The Alibi Tiki Lounge
4024 N Interstate Ave
The Alibi is celebrating its 70th birthday and remains a popular Portland dive spot. Always a fun place to hang out and drink sweet, fruity drinks while waiting to sing Karaoke (or listen, in my case), the bar recently upped its game by bringing in a well-known rum aficionada who relies more on craft than on sugary additions. To get to the Alibi, hop on the Yellow Max headed towards the Expo Center. The bar is in between Max stops, so you can either get off at N Prescott St stop and walk back about 3 blocks, or get off at the Overlook Park stop (next to Kaiser Permanente) and continue walking in the same direction for about 3 blocks. Overlook Park is a simple park that offers a beautiful look at Portland and the Willamette river, so my recommendation is to take this stop and enjoy the sites.
Mississippi Ave: This stretch is about 6 blocks long and encompasses some more of the quirkiness that is Portland. From Sunlan Lighting to the Rebuilding Center to Mr. Green Beans, and the Meadow, you’ll get a peek at Portland’s DIY sensibility.
4057 N Mississippi Ave
Serving up great pre-prohibition era cocktails. This is a great place to get a sense of that Portland stereotype while enjoying an amazing drink or two. Whiskey fans will love this place. The food is pretty amazing, so make a meal of it! To get to the Interurban, catch the 4 bus (the bus system is great here, so don’t worry!) and get off at Mason street and walk back a ½ block.
More on Mississippi Ave: I’d also recommend that you take time to wander Mississippi Ave in order to soak in the Portland neighborhood vibe. Some places of note:
While a tad bit more difficult to get to on public transportation, NE Portland is well worth the effort. Find a place to visit and map it out on TRIMET’s trip planner (https://trimet.org/#/planner ). Busing is easy in Portland and is a good way to get around – especially if you’re visiting some of the fine drinking establishments! But uber and lyft are always an option.
NE Alberta St: you have to check out this street. Much like SE Division, Alberta offers some of the best food, drink, and shopping in town. Some notable places: Salt and Straw ice cream; Bollywood Theater (not a real theater, but some darn good Indian street food. ); the Grilled Cheese Grill (order from any number of ways to serve up a grilled cheese and then eat it in a converted school bus – how cool!).
Bye and Bye
1011 NE Alberta St
Great cocktails that pack a punch! And another place to get tasty vegan food. Excellent patio.
1203 NE Alberta
Taptails and hotdogs. What?! Cocktails on tap is like a dream come true. Moscow Mule, Margarita, Texas Tea, Old Fashioned, and Fernet all on tap. Do you see now why we love living in Portland? Although it could be all the rain that drives us to dream of taptails…
2338 NE Alberta St
They describe themselves as a taco lab, which is pretty apt because these are not the tacos you’re used to. Vegan, veggie, carnivore – they’ve got you covered. If you don’t mind the bacon, the Mac is my personal favorite: fried pickles, bacon, cheese crisp, cabbage slaw. At Cruzroom, you come for the food and stay for the drinks. And maybe the music. Or the lego competitions. Or the knit night. So since this is about cocktails, I have to mention the Cruzroom’s house infused liquors. Fig scotch, pineapple vodka, mango habanero bourbon, and my favorite, the BB King, which is a blackberry bourbon.
14 NE 28th Avenue
Cute. Really cute.
Contributor: Jenny Mundy is the Records Officer and Electronic Records Management Analyst for Multnomah County, in addition to being an avid gardener, vegan powerlifter, and cat fancier. Ask her for a long explanation of why americanos are way better than drip coffee.
118 NE Martin Luther King Jr Blvd
1205 SE Stark Ave
707 SE 12th Ave
Mudd Works Roastery’s Half Pint Cafe
537 SE Ash St Suite 108
555 NE Couch Street
125 NE Schuyler St.
Farther Afield but Worth the Trip
SE 32nd and Hawthorne Blvd
1300 SE Grand Ave
3430 SE Belmont
2223 NE Alberta
3917 NE Mississippi
Coming in early or sticking around after the conference? Coffee lovers might be interested in joining in on a more comprehensive tour.
PIONEERING EASTSIDE ROASTERS
On the east side of the Willamette River, nestled among converted warehouses and quirky neighborhoods, you’ll find the pioneering micro-roasters that sparked the third wave coffee revolution. This three-hour walking tour introduces you to award-winning baristas crafting some of the world’s finest coffee drinks. Taste top-notch espresso, cold brew variations and as an added bonus, one of the country’s finest and most innovative teamakers. We’ll stroll 1.5 miles on foot around one of Portland’s hippest emerging quadrants.
Fridays @ 10:00 AM, $40
Meet at Portland Roasting, 340 SE 7th Ave
Plan on about 3.0 hours
A STREETCAR NAMED DELICIOUS
A rich variety of renowned cafes and pioneering micro-roasters can be found in each of Portland’s diverse neighborhoods, but there’s no better way to explore the delicious coffee scene than by jumping on the streetcar. On this three-hour walking tour, you’ll sip your way through Portland’s coffee scene in Downtown, the Pearl District and the Central Eastside. You’ll visit five micro-roasters and cafes, experiencing a brew methods demonstration, tasting the city’s finest espresso and finishing with a cupping, the industry standard for coffee tasting. There’s no better way to experience the diversity of Portland’s café culture.
Sundays @ 10:00 AM, $40
Meet at Cup & Bar, 118 NE MLK Jr Blvd
Plan on about 3.0 hours
Note: The tour’s ending point is approximately 1.25 miles from start – use of Streetcar, Taxi or Uber is encouraged.
Contributed by: LauraDenise White, Consulting Archivist for the Digital Manuscripts Collection at the Genealogical Forum of Oregon
One of the greatest things about the Portland metro area, especially central downtown, is the accessibility of everything from over a dozen places to get a quick breakfast scone, coffee, or tea before jumping on a bus or Max train at the Portland Transit Mall for your morning commute, to food carts, Powell’s City of Books, countless tucked away brew pubs, three movie theaters (Fox Tower 10, Living Room Theaters, and Pioneer Place, two local farmers markets (one Wednesday, the other on Saturdays), the Oregon Historical Society with the Portland Art Museum across the street, slow and fast sushi joints, and skyscraper rooftop restaurant lounges, not to mention the west side river plaza, all within a seven block radius. (See below for a full list of Portland’s downtown hot spots.)
(Fun fact. Did you know that Portland city blocks are half the size of typical city blocks? This means that in New York, for example, 10 blocks would be a full mile hike, but 10 blocks in downtown Portland equals just a half mile, accomplishable in 10-15 minutes, depending on your walking pace ambitions.)
As the SAA Hosting Committee, we know how intimidating a new and strange city can be, especially if you’re trying to find parking while tentatively navigating the confusion of one-way streets in a foreign downtown metro area. So if you’re trying to decide whether to take advantage of one of the SAA conference block of rooms at the downtown Hilton Hotel, we’re happy to proclaim that Portland is easily the best no-car-needed city you’ll ever find, especially if you’re staying in the heart of downtown.
Let’s walk through what a typical day might look like for an SAA Annual Meeting attendee, let’s call her Midge, staying at Portland’s downtown Hilton. Let’s say Midge wakes up Wednesday morning to the beautiful view outside her Hilton hotel window overlooking the pink and orange sky fading gently behind the stark steel blue edges of the majestic Mount Hood as it stands at attention over the sleepy city of Portland with the Willamette’s hushed current reflecting the sky’s colorful ode to the first lights of the new day. Not bad, really. Midge has done quite well for herself it would seem.
Let’s then say that Midge has until 11 o’clock this unrealistically gorgeous morning before her first scheduled SAA conference meeting of the day. Given her overabundance of free time, she finds herself heading out from her downtown Hilton hotel room on SW 6th Avenue (between SW Taylor and SW Salmon) at 8 a.m., and makes her way two blocks west, just past the downtown Portland Transit Mall, to pick up a coffee at City Coffee (corner of SW 4th and SW Salmon). She then continues another four blocks west past the World Trade Center to the waterfront park trail, which she then leisurely follows south for three blocks before turning east again to emerge back onto the now somewhat busier city streets.
Finding herself now on SW Jefferson, she meanders farther east again, aiming for the Wednesday morning farmers’ market (open 10am to 2pm) she read about on the SAA Hosting Committee’s blog. On the way, she notes the ridiculously close and convenient location of the Oregon Historical Society (on the corner of SW Jefferson and SW Park Ave*) where the SAA social scheduled for Thursday evening would be held. After picking up some fruits and a mini packet of Mio’s Delectables at the farmers’ market, Midge walks north along the length of the park blocks, past the Arlene Schnitzer Concert Hall, then the Barlow Artisanal Bar, and Regal Cinemas Fox Tower 10 on the edge of Director Park.
Let’s say that after her full morning of exploring the blocks around her hotel, Midge takes a right at the northeastern corner of Director Park, and walks east on SW Yamhill for just one more block until she finally finds herself at the Pioneer Courthouse Square Max stop, part of the Portland Transit Mall. She also notes at this point that her hotel room is situated one block south of the eastbound Max stop. If it were any closer, she’d feel downright lazy.
With service every 10 minutes, she remembers she can take either the blue or the red lines for an 11-minute ride to the front door of the Convention Center, or she can take either the green or the yellow lines from across SW 6th Ave on the northeastern side of the Pioneer Square’s block to reach the same front door of the Convention Center in just under 15 minutes. Validating one of her $5 All-Day Trimet passes (these are available in packets at the Visitor Information Center in the middle of Pioneer Courthouse Square, and are good for all buses, trolleys, and Max trains in Portland) at one of the metal machines at the stop, our lovely Midge then hops on the next available train and settles in to enjoy her ride over the Willamette river.
Later that evening, let’s say Midge and a few of her colleagues grab a table for sushi at Shigezo (calling ahead to reserve a table for larger groups is advisable, but not absolutely necessary as a rule) on the west side of SW Salmon and SW Park, after which they stop at Departure Restaurant and Lounge to sip cocktails from the rooftop of The Nines Hotel on SW Morrison and SW 6th while watching the sunset over the West Hills.
Here’s a complete list of hot spots downtown we recommend you take advantage of while staying at the downtown Hilton.
Try the Imperial for a sit-down gourmet brunch, and the Penny Diner next door for a quick lunch sandwich to go. Located at SW Broadway and SW Stark.
If you’re looking for a healthy but light breakfast or snack, this is a crazily great place to grab a smoothie or one of their famous acai bowels.
Located on the corner of SW 5th Ave and SW Taylor, this lunch spot is complete with eclectic salads, bowls, sides, and shares.
Whether you have an hour to sit and mull over your tacos and burrito bowl, or just a few minutes before the Max train or bus across the river, this is the perfect lunch spot, located on the corner of SW 5th Ave and SW Taylor, just across the street from Veggie Grill.
By the slice pizza! Located on SW Taylor just west of SW 5th Ave.
Located along SW 5th and SW 6th Avenues. The rest of Portland is at your fingertips, literally right outside the downtown Hilton’s front door for heading to any of the SAA Repository Tours in NW or NE Portland, and one block east on SW 5th for any tours in SE Portland, like the Genealogical Forum of Oregon’s Manuscripts Collection, just a 10 minute bus ride on the #4 heading to Division Street.
Take a journey back to the 1920’s at this glittering corner bar, across the street from the Arlene Schnitzer Hall.
With over 100 beers to choose from, and just a block and a half from your room at the downtown Hilton.
Steak, seafood, wines and beers in an upscale but relaxed atmosphere. Located on the corner of SW 10th Ave and SW Adler Street, just six blocks from the downtown Hilton.
Family owned Lebanese cuisine, with wonderful outdoor seating. Located on SW Morrison, just west of SW 10th Ave.
The best Vietnamese in the city, located on SW 2nd Ave just north of SW Taylor Street. This one’s counter service, so it can be a few minutes’ wait, unless you want to order food to-go on the north side of the bar in the middle of the restaurant where you can have a beer or cocktail while you wait.
Nothing’s more fun than a sushi train, great when you need a quick lunch or dinner. Located at SW 6th and SW Washington.
*SW Park Ave is synonymous with SW 8th Ave, and in the same vein of rational thinking, SW Broadway is synonymous with SW 7th Ave
Contributor: Mary Hansen
If you are gluten free, you have come to the right city. There are 5 different dedicated gluten free bakeries in town and that it just the beginning. Most restaurants either have a dedicated GF menu or indicate how you can modify a dish to make it GF. There is also a refreshing understanding of not just gluten free food needs, but all kinds of food allergies and sensitivities.
Some of the cafés and restaurants listed below are near the Oregon Convention Center, but others are in neighborhoods you might want to explore while you are visiting Portland.
Back to Eden – Great for vegans and they have wonderful doughnuts and vegan sausage & biscuits
New Cascadia Traditional Bakery – Bagels that make you wonder if they are indeed GF and delightful cupcakes
Petunia’s Pies & Pastries – Get a cocktail and a GF sweet treat or maybe something savory
Gluten Free GEM Bakery – Wonderful pastries that you can find in coffee shops and stores all over town
Some of my favorite restaurants in great neighborhoods – fun and filling!
Verde Cocina – multiple locations, GF kitchen, great breakfast, lunch and dinner and happy hour (with a good selection of tequila); locally sourced meat and the best vegetables I have ever eaten outside of my own kitchen
Pastini – multiple locations, knowledgeable staff regarding what can be modified and a phenomenal GF tiramisu
Mississippi Pizza – one location with a dedicated GF oven and amazing toppings and you get to explore Mississippi Ave
Cultured Caveman – Several carts around town as well as a restaurant, grain free, paleo-friendly and wonderful with modifications for those with dietary restrictions.
Jade Bistro & Patisserie – One location but worth the drive/ride to Sellwood; Vietnamese and Thai cuisine with lots of GF options. Start with dessert – try the sesame ball with caramel sauce
Hawthorne Fish House/Corbett Fish House – two locations in town with rice flour based fried fish, GF beers, desserts and even fried cheese curds
Andina – Upscale and definitely a treat with a separate GF menu, happy hour and small plates
Contributed by Gwen Amsbury and Amber D’Ambrosio
What’s Portland without its beer? Well known as a hub of micro-breweries and craft beers, Portland is home to numerous pubs and breweries where you can enjoy a nice beverage… or two. Contributors Gwen Amsbury and Amber D’Ambrosio set out on an adventure to visit several. Here are some of their favorites.
Commons occupies a sizable warehouse space with exposed brewing equipment and offers counter service. The focus is on the beer, but light fare is available for purchase along with a limited brunch menu for the weekend. In the name of research, we sampled a range of their beers, pictured below. They have flights of four available for $10. We chose their flagship ale (Urban Farmhouse Ale) along with the Citrus Myrtle (a sour ale that tasted like the popular Fun Dip candy of the 90s), the Tea Room (a light, fruity, and flavorful saison made with green teas), and the Mr. Irrelevant (a standard IPA, not too hoppy). We highly recommend the Citrus Myrtle and the Tea Room as perfect beers for summer. Typically they have 12 beers on tap with a guest cider to make it a baker’s dozen.
This is actually one of four Rogue locations in Portland. Be prepared for extensive beer and food menus, including the Independent 19 (a menu of 19 guest beers from independent breweries). It’s a large space with table service. This is where we ate during our research pub crawl. I had a burger and fries, and I cannot recommend the accompanying wasabi mayo strongly enough. It had the perfect combination of wasabi kick and flavor to complement both my burger and the fries. We selected a flight of 4 for $8 to accompany our lunch, and I also ordered the Rogue brewed root beer because I’m always curious about independently brewed root beers. The root beer resembled an old mug root beer that was less sweet with more of a flavorful bite. In our flight we had the Green Dragon Belgian Rose (guest beer that was smooth and rich), the Marionberry Braggot (in honor of Oregon’s famous berry and much more like a mead than we expected – heavy, sweet, and strong when we were expecting light and fruity), the American Amber (a solid amber ale, nothing special), and the Hot Tub Scholarship Lager (chosen for the name…a very mild lager). If none of that sounds appealing, there were pages of options. Pages.
This is a smaller space than Rogue or Commons, but they do have patio seating available as well and all with table service. If you have never had sour beer then you need to visit Cascade Brewing. This pub crawl was my first experience with sour beers. I’m hooked. They don’t do flights, but they do offer 2 ounce glasses priced out on the menu, so we went with our traditional 4. We selected the Apricot (so wonderfully sour that you will feel it), the Honey Ginger Lime (the sweetest of our selection with an amazing flavor and less bite), Elderberry (sour and full of flavor but not as sour as the apricot), and the Cherry Bourbonic (this is one of their vintage selections, aged in a bourbon barrel for a year, 12.9%, dark and wonderful and not at all medicinal in flavor). The menu is primarily sour beers, but they do have a couple of standards like the Portland Ale and the Cascade IPA. There’s a light fare menu that includes sandwiches and salads and a dessert menu. I took the Dark Chocolate Bourbon Balls home with me…each bite burned with bourbon. I know Cascade Brewing is going to be a new favorite of mine…much thanks to Gwen for introducing me to it.
(winery and taproom)
A classy close-in option with a solid selection of guest taps, as well as draft beer and cider (they also offer flights of wine if that’s more your thing). They have a full dinner menu, but their happy hour choices are great including an amazing, full-size veggie burger with fries for $10.
Boasting a large selection of local beers, this is a great place to come if you want to taste what a number of northwest breweries have to offer all in one place. The Row has a food menu that is as extensive as their beer selection. Enjoy their comfortable patio or stay inside and catch the band or musician playing that night.
Delicious Irish fare in addition to their line of Irish beers. If you’re craving shepherd’s pie, this is the place to find it. The Irish nachos are also a must for anyone not too worried about their cholesterol. Several of the lighter fare options are vegetarian. Traditional live music can be expected Thursday through Saturday evenings. They also feature sports on the big screens: Portland teams as well as sports popular in Europe like soccer and rugby. There is also a cigar lounge in the basement. In my experience as someone sensitive to cigarette and cigar smoke, the cigar lounge doesn’t affect the upstairs dining space.
Reasonably priced food, beer, and cocktails. The space has some of the feel of a traditional English pub, but with the type of diverse beer and food menu characteristic of American gastropubs. The assortment of reasonably-priced cocktails (and food!) brought a colleague and I here during a previous conference, and we were not disappointed. They also offer a range of wine and liquor options. Be prepared for sports on the big screens, but you can easily ignore them by snagging one of the high-backed wooden booths.
Tugboat’s website is . . . a little odd, but their taproom and beer are amazing. With a relaxed atmosphere and a good selection of snacks, this is a great low-key spot downtown. Fun fact: Tugboat claims to be downtown Portland’s oldest micro-brewery.
With an impressive selection of beers on draft, and the added bonus that you can visit their website to see what percentage of each draft remains, Bailey’s is a popular spot for happy hour and beyond. While the tap room does not offer food, you are free to bring in outside food, and with Santeria right across the street, that is a huge plus.
Lucky Lab – dog friendly brew pub with a covered patio.
Pints Brewing Company – has ten beers on tap with a full lunch/dinner menu and daily specials.
Fat Head’s Brewery – wide selection of craft beers and a solid happy hour.
Deschutes Brewery Portland Public House – “The brew pub’s 26 taps feature Deschutes mainstays plus a selection of seasonal and experimental beers developed and brewed on site exclusively for the Portland pub by our brewers.” (from the website) – I’ve been to the Deschutes main brew pub in Bend, OR, and I was impressed by both their beer and their food. I have no reason to suspect their Portland pub will be any different.
Migration Brewing – relaxed, community minded brew pub with a ton of outdoor seating and garage doors that are raised on nice days to let in a lot of light and fresh air. Although I’ve never personally had it, I’ve been told their mac & cheese is the best!
Amber D’Ambrosio is Processing Archivist & Records Manager at Willamette University, a small, urban liberal arts college in Salem, Oregon, where she manages the collections and wrangles ArchivesSpace and Archivematica. In her spare time she discovers that she loves sour beers, writes, reads about early modern London, hikes, travels, and obsessively visits the Oregon Coast.
Gwen Amsbury is an Archives and Records Management Specialist at the City of Portland Archives and Records Center. Currently Gwen is serving as Secretary and Membership Coordinator for Northwest Archivists, Inc. She spends her spare time reading, metalworking, and searching for abandoned amusement parks.