Following our 24 Hour Guides to Berlin, Williamsburg, Toronto and Vancouver, we present our latest installment, this time taking place in Portland's West End.
Sandwiched between Portland’s much-publicized Pearl District and its standard downtown city center sits the West End, a zone of several city blocks that is home to a collection of some of the Rose City’s most interesting and exciting offerings. With seedier times behind it, this burgeoning neighborhood is evolving into a beautiful blend of classic time-honored institutions and the pioneering new guard of Portland food, drink, fashion, and retail. Everyone mentioned here is within easy walking distance and one can make quick work of exploring the area by hopping from one point to the next, while also discovering everything in between.
Hotel: Ace Hotel 1022 SW Stark Street Portland, OR 97205
Since opening its doors in 2007, Ace Hotel Portland has been a linchpin in the neighborhood as a place to meet and gather for both out-of-town visitors and locals alike. The lobby and mezzanine are open to the public, acting as an organic intermediate space between a Stumptown Coffee Roasters café and restaurant/bar Clyde Common, and with coffee or cocktail in hand you just may happen upon an informal live acoustic set staged on the lobby table. The environment is all-inclusive so just sit, relax and enjoy.
Breakfast: Blue Star Donut 1237 SW Washington Street Portland, OR 97205
The beauty of a Blue Star donut is that its novelty has less to do with being covered in breakfast cereal and so much more to do with flavor. Located at the very edge of the West End, Blue Star Donuts makes everything from scratch daily and in limited quantities. Go early because they sell quickly.
Shopping: The Good Mod 1313 West Burnside Street Portland, OR 97209
Founded in 2006 by Spencer Staley, The Good Mod is part-modern furniture showroom and part-multi-purpose design studio focused on design, build and restoration work. It resides on the fourth floor of an old downtown warehouse where sunlight floods an expansive open floor plan and leaves you to browse the likes of Paul McCobb, Florence Knoll, and plenty of Eames.
Denim shopping: Self Edge 1022 West Burnside Street Portland, OR 97209
In a town already brimming with cuffed jeans and flannel, Self Edge garners special distinction by offering the highest quality in men’s denim and casual shirting from brands that you would be hard pressed to find anywhere else. Seek out Tyler, the shop’s manager, to learn why the store prides itself on carrying brands like The Flat Head and Iron Heart and how there’s real value in well-crafted garments.
Women's Shopping: West End Select Shop 927 SW Oak Street Portland, OR 97205
West End Select Shop, a womenswear boutique celebrating emerging designers from around the globe, is one of the newest additions to the area and a refreshing reflection of owner Andi Bakos’ experience in styling and trend research. Though primarily stocked with women’s labels, the shop carries a small but bold selection of Cav Empt.
Lunch: Nong's Khao Mong Gai 1003 SW Alder Street Portland, OR 97205
Nong Poonsukwattana’s original cart opened in 2009 and maintains its success on simplicity and consistency. She serves Khao Man Gai: perfectly poached chicken, rice cooked in the broth, an incredibly satisfying fermented soybean sauce, and a warm soup. Look for a hunter orange beanie, listen for some fast talk, and you’ll soon find Nong slinging the very best of the lunch rush.
Books and Magazines: Publication Studio 717 SW Ankeny Street Portland, OR 97205
Discreetly situated on an almost hidden stretch of SW Ankeny Street lives Publication Studio. Founded in 2009 by Patricia No and Antonia Pinter, Publication Studio is a fantastically small publishing house, bookstore, and arts and literature lab all wrapped into one. It produces books on demand with various artists and writers and fills its shelves with a first-rate selection of original works.
Also check out: Powell’s City of Books
Leisure: Rich's Cigar Store 820 SW Alder Street Portland, OR 97205
With over 100 years of business in its books, Rich’s Cigar Store is a classic Portland mainstay long regarded for its vast selection of cigars and smoking tobacco. The shop also boasts an inventory of over 2,500 periodicals so it’s safe to say that Rich’s will have what you’re looking to read.
Coffee: Heart Coffee Roaster West 537 SW 12th Avenue Portland, OR 97205
Heart West is an airy café with its white walls and floor-to-ceiling glass, offering clean and uncomplicated cups of uncompromisingly delicious coffee. Be it espresso or pour-over, good coffee requires a bit of time and deliberation so sink into the modern décor and let Miles Davis wash over you while you wait.
Also check out: Courier Coffee
Outdoor goods: Poler Store 413 SW 10th Avenue Portland, OR 97205
Poler Stuff’s flagship store, Poler Portland, affords the “camp vibes” purveyor ample space to do everything from lounging about in a “Napsack” (a wearable sleeping bag) to hosting art shows and release parties for their latest and greatest collaborations. Lori Damiano’s in-store mural is sure to impress with its abundance of inspiration as will the number of goods you will discover you just can’t do without.
Also check out: Danner Boots
Afternoon Pick-Me-Up: Måurice 921 SW Oak Street Portland, OR 97205
Måurice, a quiet pastry luncheonette, is the perfect stop for a light lunch or afternoon fika (Swedish for a coffee break with a small bite or two). Kristen D. Murray’s dreamy café is exceedingly satisfying in both its quaint charm and flawlessly executed selection of savory and sweet. Having already received plenty of accolades in only its first year, Måurice is without a doubt a must-see, -have, -do.
Dinner: Santeria 703 SW Ankeny Street Portland, OR 97205
Santeria lies just steps away from Publication Studio and serves up some of the neighborhood’s tastiest tacos and burritos with enough heat to keep you honest. The extensive menu also offers drink specials throughout the week, some of them flaming, and if you’re feeling adventurous after a beverage or two, then pay a visit to the bathroom in the back which is shared with Portland’s oldest strip club.
Bar: Pepe Le Moko 407 SW Tenth Avenue Portland, OR 97205
Go subterranean and retreat to the dark confines of Pepe Le Moko, Ace Hotel Portland’s new basement bar. There you will find a few booths to cozy up in and a list full of cocktails long cast aside but now seemingly saved by bar manager Jeffrey Morgenthaler. Order straight from the menu and have the best Amaretto Sour you will ever find or sip a Grasshopper, a blended milkshake of crème de menthe, vanilla ice cream, and Fernet.
Written by Toby Lemon for Highsnobiety.com