Destinations: When in Portland

By Advocate.com Editors

Originally published on Advocate.com June 09 2008 12:00 AM ET

America's stealth
hot spot, Portland, Ore., has been transformed from a
sleepy industrial city into a hub for musicians, artists and
foodies seeking refuge from the stress of the East
Coast and the high prices of California. Modest Mouse,
the Dandy Warhols, the Decemberists and Pink Martini
all call Portland home, as do filmmakers Todd Haynes and Gus
Van Sant.

Though the town
is laid-back, the food scene is world-class and music
venues like the Doug Fir Lounge and the Crystal Ballroom
pack them in nightly. It's a town of readers, writers,
Green anarchists, bike fanatics, queers and devout
organic enthusiasts.

Gentrification
made a mini SoHo of Pearl District, and rising rents
pushed the gay bar stalwarts like Eagle and Silverado from
Stark Street into funky Old Town, but the bars are
still vital. Nature is omnipresent in Oregon. The city
is bursting with trees; 30 minutes in any direction
and you're in the woods.

STREET GUIDE

THE DRINK

The
Silverado 318 S.W. Third Ave.; (503) 224-4493
Silveradopdx.com
The move to Third Avenue did the place good; the
go-go boys came along for the ride and the patrons are
appreciative. Wee-hours good times and a friendly,
drunken crowd lead to a bustling sidewalk sale as the
after-parties get sorted out.

Red Cap Garage,
Boxxes and the Brig 1035 S.W. Stark St.; (503) 226-4171
Boxxes.com
Interconnected bars offer one-stop shopping:
twink go-go boys in Boxxes, dirty smokers in Red Cap,
and late-night clubbing at the Brig. Good-natured,
sauced-up fun reigns in this trampy labyrinth, especially
during Tuesday night drink specials.

THE GROOVE

Crush
1400 S.E. Morrison St.; (503) 235-8150
CrushBar.com
The Thursday Queer Bait party at this
bar-restaurant-club brings the lesbians and
alterna-gays together. Wild performances from drag queens,
kings and rappers and plenty of frisky fellas in the crowd
make this one fun night.

Eagle Pdx
Underground 27 N.W. 6th Ave.; (503) 241-0105
PortlandEagle.com
The monthly Blow Pony party adds a giddy shot in
the arm of gender-blurrers, glamazons and club folk to
the ass-grabbing lumberjack Eagle crowd. Sleazy and
friendly, this twink-free zone is where the daddies
are.

THE BED

Ace Hotel
1022 S.W. Stark St.; (503) 228-2277
AceHotel.com/Portland
The Ace's 1912 building had fallen into decay
before an inspired restoration. The wooden hallways
are pure 1920s, but the rooms and stairways are
decorated with murals or with collages of handbills from
local rock shows. Many rooms come with turntables (and
records!) and you can buy guitar strings at the front
desk.

Jupiter
Hotel 800 E. Burnside St.; (877) 800-0004
JupiterHotel.com
A dirty rock-and-roll '60s motel converted into
a clean rock-and-roll hotel, the Jupiter is the nerve
center of the late-night hard-rocking music scene.
Bands, music lovers, and male groupies stream through the
on-site restaurant, bar and music venue at all hours.

THE BITE

Toro Bravo
120 N.E. Russell St.; (503) 281-4464
ToroBravopdx.com
The long wait is more than worth it for the
tapas menu bursting with intense, rapturous flavors. A
hot spot, Toro Bravo is excellent for a group, so you
can share the most dishes possible. If there are just two
of you, try sitting at the bar to jump ahead of the line.

Le Pigeon
738 E. Burnside St.; (503) 546-8796
LePigeon.com
Trucker cap-wearing enfant terrible chef Gabriel
Rucker concocts ingenious dishes built around
improbable meats like pig ear, sweetbreads and yes,
pigeon.

THE ART

Quality
Pictures 916 N.W. Hoyt St.; (503) 227-5060
Qpca.com
Much of the local art scene is long on
enthusiasm but short on polish. Not so here. Located
in Pearl District, Quality Pictures presents
cutting-edge group exhibitions featuring the best artists
from Portland and beyond.

THE THREADS

Upper
Playground 23 N.W. Fifth Ave.; (503) 548-4835
Fifty24pdx.com
An edgy selection of art books complements the
art on clothes and walls -- and it doesn't hurt that
the place is frequented by hot skaters and boarders in
search of the fresh tees and hoodies.

Further Reading

Fugitives and Refugees: A Walk in Portland, Oregon
by Chuck Palahniuk The gay author
("Fight Club," "Choke") takes readers on a wayward
journey through his hometown.

Sidebar: A Portland Pint
There are 32 microbreweries within Portland's
city limits -- more than in any other city in the
world -- and most have brewpubs on the premises.

Rogue Ales'
Portland Pub (1339 N.W. Flanders; 503-222-5910) serves up
the zingy Juniper Pale Ale, the creamy Morimato Soba
and the decadent Chocolate Stout.

Amnesia Brewing
(832 N. Beech St.; 503-281-7708) offers a traditional
outdoor German-style beer garden popular with foodie and gay
crowds.

McMenamins makes
fine beers, but its real innovation is combining two of
America's favorite pastimes -- drinking beer and watching
movies -- at eight theater-pub locations around the
city. The Mission Theater (1624 N.W. Glisan;
503-223-4527) and Baghdad Theater and Pub (3702 S.E.
Hawthorne Blvd.; 503-236-9234) have the most diverse crowd
and are very friendly.