Sunday, November 11, 2018

Portland Cafe Guide: Southwest


As soon as I started typing up my first post on Portland’s many wonderful cafes, I knew it wouldn’t be my last. It took me over a year to visit all the cafes on that first post, and I knew I had barely scratched the surface. Most of the additional cafes on this list have actually only opened in the time between my last post and now, so I’ve had a lot of catching up to do. I realize this is still not a complete list of all Portland cafes, so I will have to provide a disclaimer again that these are just the ones I find worth mentioning. Onward…

As a recap: 

I compiled this list based on a few factors: 
1) lattes
2) seating
3) atmosphere
4) decor. 

I am also dividing these posts into 4, because there are almost 90 cafes I am documenting and that’s too much for any one post. To break it down, I am focusing on one quadrant of the city at a time. I used to post them in order of favorites, but my tastes are fickle and new cafes are always popping up, so they are in alphabetical order instead. 


Southwest Portland

The Southwest (SW) in this case means downtown Portland. There is a entire residential area in the city that is within the SW quadrant, but there's are not any notable cafes there. All of these are exclusively in downtown and walking distance from each other. 

A large and intricately decorated café in downtown Portland. Great drinks, lots of seating made from pipes and grinds, making you feel like you are inside an old-fashioned clock.

Barista downtown
A small Barista outpost on SW 2nd Avenue with 180 degree marble bar counter seating.

Brass Bar by Barista
Barista's experimental liquor-coffee bar at the Pine Street Market features  Spanish coffees, and White Russians. I settled for the milder pear brandy butter latte, which had pear-infused brandy, butter, condensed milk, and cinnamon. 

Café Ponte
Quaint little café by the river in downtown. 

Café Umbria - downtown
Beautiful new branch of café Umbria is exquisitely designed. Too bad I don't like their coffee more. 

Case Study downtown
Always busy Case Study is a landmark at the 10th Street MAX Station Downtown. Great for working solo and for meetings. 

Coava - downtown
My favorite new branch of Coava with two floors and abundant seating. If I'm in downtown, this is where I tend to set up meetings. 

A small and simple outpost for Courier Roasters, which does have excellent coffee. A popular recommendation in most Japanese travel guides, this place is constantly filled with tourists. 

Chinatown doesn't have a lot going on these days, but Floyd's in a gem in a coal mine. This inconspicuous cafe has a great vibe, ample seating, and pretty darn good lattes. 

Good Coffee downtown
A staple of the East side, Good Coffee finally opens a branch in SW, in the swanky lobby of the Woodlark Hotel. I always wondered why more hotel lobby's didn't have cafes. It seems like a great built-in audience of hotel guests. 

Heart in downtown (old location - now NEVER)
Heart definitely won't disappoint even the biggest coffee snob. The images here are taken from the location on SW 12th in downtown, though I most often go to their Eastside shop. The atmosphere is always very conducive to working. 

Heart in downtown (new location)

Heart in downtown moved one block away to a much large and more atmospheric place. Definitely feels more like a office lobby or coworking space than a cafe, but clearly its the place to get work done around here. 

In J
This small cafe on the PSU campus serves a decent matcha latte.

Beautiful little "kiosk" in a park serving  all plant-based drinks with handcrafted speciality. 

Never's new foray into downtown is a huge success. Opening in the old Heart location, they offer more seating than SE and a few unique drink options, such as the Lime Cherry Matcha and Yuzu Salt Honey latte.

Vegan cafes in at the OHSU waterfront.

Public Domain
One of my other go-to spots in downtown off Broadway. They use Loretta Jean's caramel sauce so their caramel lattes are extra good. 

Ristretto in downtown
Fantastic Ristretto outpost within an office lobby with a very chic vibe.

A much needed addition to often-forgotten Skidmore Fountain area. This cafe may look small and sweet, but boasts ample seating upstairs and downstairs. Great work or meeting vibe and I enjoyed my Maple Cinnamon Latte. 

Tiny coffee stand with no seating, but still a popular place among morning commuters. 

Stumptown at Ace Hotel
The most iconic Stumptown location in the lobby of the Ace Hotel, frequently photographed by travel magazines worldwide. 

Upper Left downtown

Upper Left from the eastside also cashes in on the downtown foot traffic and built-in audience of condo residents with its newest location inside an office and residential building near Pioneer Square. 

Water Ave in downtown
Tiny outpost of Water Ave Coffee with room for about two seats. Good if you are craving Water Ave Coffee downtown, otherwise head to SouthEast for their original location. 

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