North Portland Patios
Whether boasting views of the St. Johns Bridge or fresh-baked biscotti, North Portland patios provide visitors with an experience that’s worth the trip. Care to take a stroll away from the patio to browse antiques? Or, what about indulging in the culinary delicacies of Arkansas? NoPo offers all of the above plus breakfast outdoors and picnic tables aplenty.
Looking for a patio in a different part of town? Check out our selection of patios in Northwest, Northeast, Southwest or Southeast Portland.
Cathedral Park Kitchen
This second-floor patio looms over a quiet warehouse parking lot at the edge of St. Johns. But, with a view of the St. Johns Bridge as the backdrop, the lot is not the view you're there to take in anyway. Still, even more than the view, you're there for the quality and integrity of the pre-Prohibition-era cocktails that are the Kitchen's bread and butter.
Forecast: A dozen tables seat approximately 35, but because the spot is still a somewhat out-of-the-way destination, finding one of those seats shouldn't prove too difficult.
SPF: Only two of the tables have umbrellas, but you're not sitting on the patio to avoid the sun. Rather, you're there to watch it set over the St. Johns Bridge.
Advisory: The patio is kid-friendly and dog-friendly, as long as the pups are leashed. Smoking is prohibited.
Barometer: The food menu is a mix of old-world and Pacific Northwest cuisines. Nosh on some lamb sliders, try the prawn puttanesca, or order up an omelet during a mellow Sunday brunch. And if you're looking for a good nightcap, you can’t go wrong with the Blood and Sand (Scotch, sweet vermouth, orange juice and Cherry Heering liqueur).
Cathedral Park Kitchen, 6635 N Baltimore Ave., 503.946.8426
Overlook, Overlook Village
From morning till night, DiPrima Dolci's paved patio is an enchanting summer hangout in Overlook. Walk through the pergola and immediately soak in the breathtaking, blooming garden, plus enjoy the colorful agrarian mural and soothing fountain that complete the picturesque setting. The family-owned and -operated Italian bakery predictably exudes the passion and warmth of Nona's infamous hugs.
Forecast: Lots of table sets can accommodate more than 30 people, meaning you'll most likely be able to find a seat during the daytime. Make a reservation to secure your spot on the patio for dinner, though (Thursday to Saturday only). The patio is also available to rent for parties.
Atmosphere: A welcoming place to relax with the morning paper over coffee, enjoy lunch with an old friend, or treat yourself to a hearty, home-cooked dinner. Perfect for families and group celebrations. Sitting among the flowers, herbs and vegetables is as peacefully pastoral as it gets in our urban space.
SPF: Sitting in the sun's crosshairs during most of the day, you'll be grateful for the umbrellas at most of the tables. All the flora ushers in the breeze during the evenings.
Barometer: Perhaps Portland's most genuine Italian bakery, DiPrima offers up a variety of panini, pastas and Neapolitan-style pizzas, as well as a thick-crust Sicilian pizza. But the best way to honor the country that gave us the aforementioned cuisine is to finish it all off with one of their countless desserts (try the cannoli), a shot of espresso, and decent and pleasant conversation.
DiPrima Dolci, 1936 N Killingsworth St., 503.283.5936
John Street Cafe
The patio at the John Street Cafe is an incredibly verdant oasis in St. Johns with picnic tables and bistro two-tops tucked amongst sweeping branches and climbing vines. With bright flowers and interesting art that will wake you up while waiting for your breakfast, it's the ideal place to start your day or take a break from an epic bike ride.
Forecast: With only a dozen or so tables to host the throngs of Portland breakfast lovers, expect a little wait. No reservations.
Atmosphere: The interior of the clean and modern breakfast cafe is comfortable but pretty nondescript, which is why the leafy patio is so popular during the summer. Like any good place devoted to the morning meal, it encourages lounging and offers delicious hangover remedies.
SPF: Lots of sun, but also plenty of shade in case you don't feel like sweating so early in the day.
Advisory: The space is dark on Mondays and Tuesdays.
Barometer: If it's early, shoot for the pancakes, especially the massive filbert and black currant pancake. If you're looking for lunch, you can't go wrong with the blackened snapper salad (snapper over romaine lettuce with jasmine rice, black olives, red pepper, red onion, and parmesan, tossed with lemon juice and olive oil). And while you're at it, why not treat yourself to a wholesome cup of cocoa?
John Street Cafe, 8338 N Lombard St., 503.247.1066
The Fixin’ To
Not sure you'll get away on a summer vacation this year? After your south-of-the-border visit to Autentica, consider the oh-so-exotic Arkansas (seriously), which has found its way to St. Johns at The Fixin' To. The patio's decor is decidedly shabby chic with corrugated tin walls and distressed doors as a backdrop. There are also heat lamps and strings of lights that encourage the raucous fun to last well into the wee hours.
Forecast: Space abounds around the crunchy gravel patio. Picnic tables and continuous wrap-around benches against the walls welcome large parties. But like any good party, you don't want to sit in one place for too long, and you'll have plenty room to move about.
Atmosphere: A perfectly curated hipster-homage to blue-collar living, thanks to owners who actually grew up in the South. Tongue-in-cheek theme nights (Video DJ Thursdays, Soft Rock Saturdays) and a fun-loving crew ensure a really good time.
Advisory: Smoking is permitted. Also, you must order from the bar.
SPF: Something for everyone: covered, shaded or downright sunburn-inducing. At least there's no humidity.
Barometer: PBR tallboys—is there anything else?! Well, The Fixin' To does pair beers with shots and shake a mean hair of the dog: The Hungover Helper is comprised of vodka, muddled lemons and limes, and Emergen-C with a cranberry float. Once your belly's settled, have some Frito Pie or order up the St. John's Chili Bucket (vegan, veggie or beef chili poured over jalapeño corn pudding).
The Fixin’ To, 8218 N Lombard St., 503.477.4995
The Hop & Vine
Overlook, Overlook Village
When the sun is out, this expansive backyard patio is like a magnet for Overlook's residents and has enough gravitational charm to pull in visitors in search of good food and strong drinks from the city's other neighborhoods.
Forecast: The patio seats about 100, so it's rare that you'll ever have to wait. However, if you do sit outside, keep in mind that you must order your drinks and food at the bar inside.
SPF: There are no porticos to protect patio loungers from the rain, but when it's sunny, there are shady places to sit, chiefly the tables beneath the old cherry tree.
Advisory: Smoking is permitted but is relegated to one section. Pets are not allowed, but children are until 6 p.m. And while the cherry tree out back provides plenty of shade, be warned that you might get plunked by the occasional falling fruit.
Barometer: If you like spicy food, you've probably already bitten into the specialty farm-fresh burger—a Tapatío-infused patty sauced with a cayenne aioli and topped with bacon, a fried egg, and a melted slice of cumin-studded Dutch gouda. Wash it down with one of eight rotating draft craft beers, a wine cocktail, or the Sweet and Savory (rosemary-infused vodka and lemon juice).
The Hop & Vine, 1914 N Killingsworth St., 503.954.3322
Find more NN recommended patios in Northwest, Northeast, Southwest or Southeast Portland.
Contributions by Chad Walsh, Eve Connell, Liz Hummer, Éva Pelczer, and Chris Young.
Portland OR 97203
Portland Monthly Senior Editor Bart Blasengame grew up in Arkansas—as he told Eater PDX, “at one time or another, [both he and cook Grant Miller] lived in actual trailer parks”—so don’t call him a hipster imposter hopping on the blue collar trend with his new Southern-style bar in St. Johns. Along with his wife, Marli, her cousin, and fellow southern boy Miller running the kitchen, The Fixin’ To hopes to stay true to the distinct St. Johns character while enticing neighbors from all over Portland to make the trek northward. Mason jars, Frito Pie, picnic tables in the courtyard, even a vintage painting bedecked mantle over the fireplace—it has all the fixins to become a favorite Portland hang out. Liz Hummer, 3/4/10