With local institutions setting a foundation for this neighborhood’s resurgence, Portland’s Division and Clinton streets are lively places to gather with friends and make new ones. Saddle up and pedal down to this bike-friendly area, where they live life in the slow lane.
Whether it’s for their mimosa brunch or late night plates, local eats and delectable drinks are on the menu at the Night Light Lounge. Their generous happy hours and spacious, all-season patio attract plenty of chatty, friendly Portlanders who are happy to share their favorite local secrets. No doubt one is nearby art-house Clinton Street Theater, another neighborhood haunt that has been showing cult classic The Rocky Horror Picture Show every Saturday night since 1978, reportedly the longest run in the world.
An entire bar devoted to the mildly psychoactive (and totally legal) root drink from the South Pacific, Bula Kava House can help ease any nerves. Served in coconut cup shells, the drink’s mood-altering effect can be be euphoric, but it’s also consumed for relaxation. But to truly unwind, treat yourself the Scandinavian way with a relaxing steam at Löyly Sauna, which offers wet and dry saunas and full-body Swedish massages. The sparse, clean setting has a certain Zen to it, even if it’s European in its influence, and their packages bundle bodywork, steam treatments, facials and more.
Division Street is known to draw crowds, and when you see one, we recommend going with the flow (because they’re probably on to something good). On sunny days — or any day that’s not raining, really — the picnic tables outside Apex fill with people watchers and pint lovers. Home to a rotating menu of great beers from around the world and the Pacific Northwest, as well as an excellent pinball arcade, it’s lovely place for people-watching. Likewise, the lines at Salt & Straw shouldn’t scare you away; they move quickly to accommodate the ever-advancing throngs of ice cream fans who delight in their innovative flavors like honey balsamic strawberry with cracked pepper. There’s less traffic at the Southeast Wine Collective, but no shortage of taste. This beautiful urban winery and shared tasting room for a number of urban wineries hosts supper clubs, visiting winemakers and DJ nights.
Fun and games
The area’s largest annual event, the Division Street Fair, held each August, pulls together sidewalk sales, artisan booths, live music and a parade together in a family-friendly event that lasts all day. But Landmark Saloon keeps the fun going all season long, with an outside space that includes a fire pit, corn hole courts and a food cart. The authentic country bar also hosts live music most nights, getting everyone inside and out to do some toe-tapping.