See and Do

  • Cinema 21

    616 NW 21st Ave.
    Portland OR 97209

    Cinema 21 features primarily first runs of alternative and independent movies, and the rising cost of ticket prices at the major theaters has helped the theater gain in attendance, as has its reputation for landing high-profile local premieres. After showing movies continuously for 85 years, undergoing three name changes since 1926, Cinema 21 has established itself as Portland’s leading destination for art house and indie movies. 

  • The Freakybuttrue Peculiarium

    2234 NW Thurman Street
    Portland OR 97209

    If you've yet to visit this off-the-beaten-path museum of oddities, you might be wondering what exactly is the Peculiarium? Well, what isn't it? It's home to an alien autopsy exhibit, a 10-foot Bigfoot, a working theremin, and an ice cream bar where you can get sundaes topped with freeze-dried mealworms and stingerless scorpions. And if you're looking for fun, gag candy, you'll not be disappointed—the Peculiarium carries everything from Pop Rocks to candied blood to something called "Genuine Aeromatic Granules of Unicorn," or, more simply, sugar. There’s even tequila-flavored candies (that include the worm) for grown-ups and candy cigarettes for the kids. And if you think eating chocolate-covered insects sounds like a walk in park (because those are sold at the Peculiarium as well), then you can challenge yourself by picking up a pack of Blazin Novas, which look like lemon drops but taste a little spicier—they've been dusted with ghost chili powder. 

Eat and Drink

  • Ataula

    1818 NW 23rd Place
    Portland OR 97210

    A lot of restaurateurs have appropriated the Spanish concept of tapas, but residents of NW Portland just got themselves a bona fide tapas restaurant to frequent, complete with a cozy bar and several long tables that seat up to 60. According to co-owner Cristina Báez, Ataula (pronounced ah-TAU-luh) is the Catalan word that, when shouted, calls everyone to the table. (In Spain, she says, no one ever misses a meal.) But, the star of the show is her husband Jose Chesa, an award-winning chef who honed his skills by exploring the cosmopolitan cooking styles found in his native Barcelona, and augmented them with the disparate ingredients and techniques he found during weekend visits with his grandfather in the north and grandmother in the south. Expect paella (meaty and vegan), as well as salt cod croquettes, squid ink tempura, housemade ice creams, a selection of cavas, bold Spanish reds, a housemade sangria (made with sous-vide fruit in brandy), and Sunday Spanish brunches. Báez says there's also a late-night bar menu to round out the true tapas experience. 

  • Boke Bowl West

    1200 NW 18th Ave.
    Portland OR 97209

    Brannon Riceci and Patrick Fleming’s second noodle shop is in many ways just like their original eastside shop. In fact, the food menu (ramen, rice bowls, steamed buns and homemade Twinkies) is identical. But this 60-seater is, in a lot of ways, different too. Its digs are modern (it’s located on the ground floor of The Addy directly on the streetcar line); its bar is a full one (capped off by bottled and carbonated signature gin fizz and Bee’s Knees mixers); it has outdoor seating (enough for another 40 sun-seekers); and come December, it’ll offer weekend dim sum brunches.

  • Bamboo Sushi NW

    836 NW 23rd Ave.
    Portland OR 97210

    Bamboo Sushi's westside spot is, in many ways, like the one on the eastside. The menus are identical (although daily specials at each location are at the whims of those holding down the respective kitchens). That means you'll enjoy the same quality sashimi, rolls and bowls in a setting similar to the flagship location. However, the westside spot is twice as large—it seats 98, including outdoor seating for 16 along the street—and has a semi-private room up front that can accommodate fairly large parties. And in keeping with its sustainable mission, Bamboo Sushi will also be home to a bike corral, which will stretch the length of the business, replacing three parallel parking spaces on NW 23rd Avenue. 

  • Le Happy

    1011 NW 16th Ave.
    Portland OR 97209

    This dimly lit and lively crêperie is located in the shadow of the 405. It's been around for more than a decade and continues to draw Portlanders of all stripes—high school students, sixtysomethings on a date, families with young children. Owned by Portlander John Brodie, a painter and all-around promoter of the arts and the people who make them, Le Happy is a quiet, yet bustling place to pair a glass of French red, a craft brew, or a signature cocktail with a sweet or savory crêpe. Plus, Le Happy has a leisurely feel so it's a good place to play—literally, there are board games in the back. Just wander back, grab one and play while you wait for your food or finish your drinks. 

  • M Bar

    417 NW 21st Ave.
    Portland OR 97209

    If you were to dream up the ideal model for a neighborhood drinkery, your mind would paint a picture that closely resembles Jeremy Campbell's M Bar. It's candlelit, it's got a carefully selected wine and beer list, and it's open till 2:30 a.m. every day of the year—making it a favorite spot for service industry vets. But, it's remained a neighborhood go-to mostly because, as bartender Anna Klement says, "Somebody will always need a drink." Yet more than anything, it's a great place to meet people (you'll find they're probably just neighbors you haven't met yet) in an environment that's safe and comforting. In fact, it would be uncommon not to be drawn into the room's conversation. The reserve wine list includes several bottles of very distinguished Champagnes, reds and whites, but if that weren't enough, M Bar's draft Guinness might be the best you've ever had. Klement explains that because the line that runs from the keg to the tap is the shortest—and therefore, the cleanest—in the city, M Bar pours a Guinness with a dark body and creamy head that’s probably the best in town.

  • Paymaster Lounge

    1020 NW 17th Ave.
    Portland OR 97209

    Perched just outside the Pearl District's western edge, Sepal Meacham and Josh Johnson's neighborhood bar is an oasis for those simply looking to unwind with some friends over a strong drink and game of pinball. "We’re really just a neighborhood bar that serves better than average comfort food and mixes straightforward drinks with fresh ingredients,” Meacham says. The 45-seat space is friendly, relaxing and casual—you order what you need from the bar and the staff then delivers it to your table. The menu's comprised mainly of salads, cheese fries, hot dogs, a very tasty cheeseburger, a few Mexican-inspired plates, and a couple of bowls of gluten-free chilis. The bar has eight drafts—including at least one cider—most of which are brewed regionally by small-scale microbreweries, except the tap dedicated to Minnesota's Hamm's—both Meacham and Johnson are native Midwesterners, if you couldn't guess by the numerous light-up signs advertising old school domestic beers. If the lounge's four pinball machines don't thrill you, you can always challenge friends to a game of Ms. Pac-Man, or you can take it out back to the covered patio and hustle them on the pool table. Happy hour runs daily from 2 to 6 p.m. and the lounge stays open late—all the way until 2:30 a.m.

  • Serratto Restaurant and Bar

    2112 NW Kearney St.
    Portland OR 97209

    In its 30 years, Serratto has changed names and hands a couple of times, but in the last decade, under the guidance of owners Julie and Alex Bond, it has, without a doubt, settled into being a quintessential neighborhood corner spot for singles, families and weekday regulars. Because the space is enormous (it seats 120, and that’s not counting summertime sidewalk seating or the 200-person banquet space), Serratto allows the Bonds and their longtime executive chef Tony Meyers to create an Italian- and Mediterranean-inspired menu that is both casual and inventive. Weekly and seasonal specials can include entrées like rabbit ravioli and squid-ink fettuccine, but the menu’s anchored by the kitchen’s fresh-cut pastas, brick oven pizzas, large selection of wines, and possibly the best happy hour cheeseburger (paired with hand-cut pomme frites) you’ll find on either side of the river.

  • The Triple Lindy

    1000 NW 17th Ave.
    Portland OR 97209

    The corner bar by Mike Miller and Cap Meyers (the man who brought North Portland the restaurant Pause) is a 50-seat space where locals can belly up with wines and beers by the glass and classic cocktails (like whiskey-based Sazeracs and Brown Derbies) while noshing on eats like wontons, flat iron steaks, something the pair are calling “Sunday Sauce” (a tomato sauce slow cooked with meatballs, Italian sausage and braised pork served over rigatoni), and a pretty mean, classic cheeseburger served with house-cut French fries. Expect the bar’s TV to screen games played by Oregon teams, and, if you’re looking to keep the party going after you’ve gone, The Triple Lindy sells bottles and cans of beer to go.

Shop

  • Betsy & Iya

    2403 NW Thurman St.
    Portland OR 97210

    Betsy & Iya has made a name for itself nationally with its popular jewelry selection. The Portland-based company's central location in Northwest offers many of its signature jewelry pieces along with a selection of clothes and other accessories. Will Cervarich, husband of Betsy Cross, who designs the jewelry, says that the shop is a reflection of his wife’s stylistic tastes. “She has hand-selected everything in the shop, so it all stems from her sense of fashion and what’s beautiful or striking in some way,” he says. As for the jewelry, which is made in the NW Thurman location, Cevarich describes Betsy & Iya’s wares as “fashion forward, affordable… It’s a play of perpendicularity, so all of the jewelry is bold, but you might find intricate or smaller pieces to it.” 

Important Links

Northwest District Neighborhood Association
Coalition Office: NWNW
Nob Hill Business Association
Neighborhood Map
Capital Improvement Projects
Crime Stats
Parks
Schools
Zoning Designations