Wednesday, February 24, 2010

Member of the Press

Want to know what's really going on in Portland? Then get out of downtown and, in the name of all that is holy, eschew the Pearl District. Head out into the neighborhoods and walk the streets around Alberta, Multnomah, Montavilla, Hawthorne, Mississippi or Division to get a curbside view of where real Portlanders eat, shop and live.

The corner of 26th and Clinton, just south of Division and east of a hot little restaurant row near 21st (Vindalho, Nuestra Cocina, Bar Avignon), has been a microcosm of eastside life for at least a quarter century. The Clinton St. Theater on the corner has been showing the Rocky Horror picture show every Saturday night since 1978 and rolls out a roster of indie releases and classics. The retro-cool darkness of Dots Cafe, the homey pizzas and pastas of SubRosa and the brews at Clinton Street Brewing will give you some of the flavor of the corner, but for an all-day metric on street activity you can't beat The Press Club.

Open every day, neighbors gather for their cup o' joe and gossip in the morning, then wander home to let the lunch crowd take over for crepes and sandwiches named after literary types (an Ellison or a Palaniuk, anyone?). At night it turns into a DJ inferno-cum-movie house with alternating evenings of music and classic movies fueled by wine, beer and house cocktails.

The crepes, gorgeously folded envelopes that I'd love to find in my mailbox any day, are more than decent, though don't rise to the imaginative levels found at some local carts. But the quiet sense of being in a real place with real people makes this member of the fourth estate a special spot to spend an hour or two.

Details: The Press Club, 2621 SE Clinton St. Phone 503-233-5656.


Anonymous said...

Well put, madame. I work at a hotel, and I'm sick of sending my guests to the pearl. Unfortunately, that seems like the only place they want to go. Then again, I hate to risk the authenticity of a wonderful place like the press or the Clinton St. Theater to sacrifice it to tourism. boo.

Wonderful recommendations here. Thank you!

Kathleen Bauer said...

It's like confining your view of San Francisco to Fisherman's Wharf, or of Seattle to Pike Street Market. You miss so much! Thanks for understanding…