If Saturday Night Live’s Stefon were in Portland, he would likely be found wandering the industrial area of Inner SE Portland, home to PDX’s fabulous queer nightclub scene. We can just hear him now, “Portland’s hottest club is Blow Pony!”
The clubspace duo Branx/Rotture, home to Blow Pony and other essential queer events, is located in the edgy waterfront area alongside such luminaries as Water Ave Coffee, Bunk Bar, Produce Row Café and the endless vintage of City Liquidators. And, despite Stefon’s recommendations, there really are attractions for families and visitors, like OMSI and the Portland Opera.
The queerness in these Fabulous ‘Hoods doesn’t start and stop with Blow Pony, though. Stop in at Crush for great wine, a diverse crowd and loads of entertainment. And, Starky’s is a Portland landmark—don’t miss the great burgers! The Clinton Street Theatre is home to many queer and queer-friendly events-plus it is the local venue for Rocky Horror Picture Show.
Heading east from the waterfront, you amble through many cool Portland neighborhoods, like Buckman, Ladd’s Addition, Belmont and, of course, Hawthorne. But, stop first at Rejuvenation Hardware to take in the home design porn and vintage finds, refurbished perfectly just for you. Want to do it yourself? Stop in one of the many vintage and antique stores in the area and get started on your dream project (Nearby Hippo Hardware is a longtime Portland institution).
The Buckman neighborhood is full of funky flair, and Ladd’s Addition will ensnare you with its eclectic street design. Nearby Laurelhurst is upscale without pretension, with lovely Laurelhurst Park in the middle of it all. Hawthorne has long been one of the main eastside districts, combining youthful progressive culture and commercial boutiques, including a Powell’s Books outpost and the venerable Bagdad Theatre. The housing in these neighborhoods includes some of the best Craftsmans in all of PDX, as well as bungalows, cottages, small Victorians, and plenty of small apartment buildings.
There is so much in the area to write about! No one summary could contain it all. There are also the hot restaurants on Division, like Pok Pok, and Cartopia, the center of the food cart universe at 12th and Burnside. The People’s Food Co-op, Pix Patisserie dessert shop, the award-winning Laurelhust Market, Music Millenium. We could go on and on. What are your neighborhood favorites?