Forget your pre-conceived notions of Thai food at the door — if you're looking for Pad Thai, you've come to the wrong place. That said, Pok Pok is serving up some of the best Asian cuisine in the Pacific Northwest, with plenty of surprises — and spice — in store. The Vietnamese Fish Sauce Wings are a must-order, and are joined on the menu by a number of sharing-style options, grilled specialties, and single plate meals. And don't forget the drinks, which are good enough on their own to warrant a sister bar across the street.
As you'd expect from a place with woodsman in the name, The Woodsman Tavern features a wood-filled interior that puts you in the mind of a hunting lodge. But the interior's not the draw here. Instead, it's the drink menu, which includes a short but solid selection of beer — several Belgians make the list, along with a couple cask ales — excellent craft cocktails, and a handful of wines by the glass. Feeling hungry? They also offer chilled and raw seafood, as well as excellent country hams.
Unless you're looking for the most utilitarian cut possible — in which case, you might want to just cut your hair yourself — odds are you like to feel well taken care of when you head out for a haircut. And that's exactly the feeling you'll get at HairM. This downtown spot offers a full range of cuts, colors, scalp renewal treatments, massages, hot towel shaves, face treatments, foot treatments, waxing, and everything in between, as well as complementary beverages — including beer and wine — and sports on the various TVs. Can't make it into town? There's a location in Beaverton, as well.
Going to the movies to watch new films is all well and good — except for, you know, the waiting in line, the high prices, the bad food, and the annoying people — but sometimes catching a classic is a lot more enjoyable. The Academy Theater is PDX's best place to do so. Opened in 1948, abandoned in the '70s, and fully restored in 2006, this classic, independent theater features a metallic, two-story dome in the lobby, and an excellent selection of snacks, including offerings from Flying Pie Pizzeria, Bipartisan Cafe and Miyamoto Sushi, as well as beer and wine. Oh, and if this all sounds good to you, stop by their Indiegogo page and pony up a few bucks to help them convert over to digital projection.
You don't have to love beer to have a good time at Apex, but if you don't at least like it, you probably shouldn't be there. This hop-heavy bar in southeast PDX offers up a full 50 taps of sudsy goodness, with a real-time digital tap listing display that keeps you up to date on prices, pour sizes, and more. The decor isn't fancy — it's basically just a block building with beer signs — but it does have a few pinball machines and a spacious patio, both of which go a long way when you're enjoying a fine refreshment.
For a company that's been in business since 1932, it's surprising that the Danner Union Way shop is only the shoemaker's second. Long known for its quality boots, this new lifestyle store displays Danner's footwear alongside select accessories and apparel from the likes of Topo Designs, Fairends, Taylor Stitch, and more. Beyond the items being stocked, the store hopes to inspire visitors to head outdoors, with features like a 10-foot living wall, a permanent mural, and a dressing room styled to look like a handcrafted wooden teardrop trailer.
What do you get when you blend a serious dedication to crafting cocktails with a Tiki theme? Something along the lines of Hale Pele. Opened last year in the same spot as former Tiki bar Thatch, Hale Pele approaches the theme with a reverence rarely seen, offering up a menu of 20 tropical drinks made using freshly-squeezed juices, top-shelf liquors, and locally-made B.G.Reynolds' Hand-Crafted Syrups, as well as a small selection of island-inspired small plates. With an interior featuring tiki statues, puffer fish, and similar decor, you know the place doesn't take itself too seriously, making it an ideal place to getaway from normal life for a while — which is exactly what a good tiki bar should be.
Founded in 1992, the Portland Farmers Market has grown over the years to become the go-to spot for fresh food. While the main market is located on the PSU campus, the market as a whole now encompasses six different sites supporting over 250 vendors. Available ware include everything from produce, meats, and prepared goods to chocolates, sandwiches, and even wine. No matter which market you visit, be sure to bring a reusable bag or two, and get there as early as possible for the best fruit and veggies available.
Going inside an elementary school has never been so much fun. McMenamins Kennedy School is a astoundingly odd hotel inside a renovated 1915 elementary school in Concordia. In addition to the 57 guest rooms — some housed in former classrooms, and others with an author's there — the building is also home to a restaurant, a movie theater housed in a former auditorium, a soaking pool, multiple bars — including one located in the old boiler room — and a fully-functional brewery. And happily for all you Brownsville Station aficionados, cigar smoking is allowed — but in the Detention Bar, not the boy's room.
Founded in 1997, Jackpot Records has been supplying the PDX area with fresh music for over 15 years. While both locations, one downtown and one on Hawthorne, offer a great selection, the former stands out in particular for its comfortable, roomy interior — something that's not exactly common with record shops. No matter which you visit, you'll find tons of vinyl, as well as CDs, books, and other fine media, and should you need more reasons to feel good than just buying from a local, independent shop, also know that it hosts free in-store performances, signings, meet-and-greets, and an annual film festival focused on music-related fare.
Skip the baked goods at the local coffee house and dig in to the goodness being served up at Bakeshop. Founded by James Beard award-winning author Kim Boyce, this intimate bakery offers always-fresh scones, cookies, cakes, pies, muffins, bars, and other edible delights from a menu that changes with the season to incorporate seasonal flavors and the freshest produce. No matter the time of year, you can always count on her Figgy Buckwheat Scones, Oatmeal Chocolate Cookies, and Coffee Cake Crumble — so worry not if you're not a fan of the current seasonal lineup. You'll find something that's far more than just worth eating.
If you're over the age of 30 and looking for toys in the Pacific Northwest, do yourself a favor, skip the local Toys r' Us, and head to Billy Galaxy. This tiny little downtown shop houses an insanely large selection of vintage and collectible toys, spanning several decades. Of particular note are the vintage Star Wars, He-Man, G.I. Joe, TMNT, Transformers, and Thundercats offerings, as well as the Atari 2600 games, and absolutely insane collection of Pez dispensers. Some of the items are a little expensive, but it's hard to put a price tag on nostalgia, especially when it has the ability to instantly turn your work space into the coolest around.