NE Portland: Where PBR & Pinot Noir Share the Fridge

Ah, Northeast Portland. Land of artisanal everything (cheese, pickles, tacos, and beer!), vintage clothing stores to get your planet-friendly recycled clothing fix, and enough beards to make a Viking jealous. But beneath the surface of all things ‘Portlandia’, lies a neighborhood teaming with creativity, a burgeoning food scene, and a surprising amount of affordability.

NE PDX is the juxtaposition of the inconic “Portland Four Square” as the backdrop for a fixie bike with a basket overflowing with local farmer’s market produce. Here, you’ll find dive bars serving PBR alongside trendy gastropubs boasting Pinot Noir pairings. Don’t worry, though, there’s plenty of good old-fashioned fun in places like the Alberta Street Pub,  happy hour dinners at Dekum Triangle’s neighborhood gathering spot Breakside Brewery, or getting your spin on at the new disco roller skating rink in the old Lloyd Center Marshall’s Department store (yes, the ice skating rink is still there too!).

And speaking of the Lloyd District.  There are big plans for a revamp of this southernmost pocket of inner NE Portland that include an exciting reimagining of the old Lloyd Center Mall Space and surrounding neighborhood.  Field Operations, the firm that designed the High Line, the wildly popular park built on an old elevated train line in Manhattan, will design the open spaces at the new Lloyd Center. About 20% of the site is designated as greenspace which will remove the “go-around” necessity created by the concrete barrier of the old mall structure.  Instead of focusing ‘in’ as the old mall did, the new plan creates an outward-facing and interactive neighborhood space.  Maybe the best news yet is that Portland baseball fans still might have a chance at realizing the dream of a Major League Baseball team and stadium in Portland.  While the Lloyd District master plan doesn’t currently include a baseball stadium, it doesn’t rule it out either (If you build it, they will come…).

And Did we mention the food? From Alberta Street’s long-standing favorite La Bonita serving up some damn fine Tacos al Pastor, to Cason’s Fine Meats where you can bring home something delicious to grill for your summer backyard BBQ hang, to Bamboo Sushi & Zilla Sake for some of the best sushi in town, and inspired local restaurants with menus that change seasonally (DameExpatriate & OX  are some notable standouts), there’s something to tantalize every taste bud.

So, if you’re looking for a place with a pulse, where you can catch a live band playing in a neighborhood hangout one night and spend the next morning choosing from more brunch spots than a human has the right to walk to (and run into 12 of your favorite friends and neighbors on the way), then Northeast Portland might just be your perfect match. Just be warned – you might develop an uncontrollable urge to lose your car, make a lot of art, and (of course) become mildly surprised by nothing, not even that guy in a kilt on a double-decker, 2-story bicycle.