By Britany Robinson
It's no secret that writers spend a lot of time with cups. Caffeine is necessary to the writing process—as is booze, for most of us. And while you could prepare your joe or keep whiskey at home, many writers like to be surrounded by fellow humans while they dream up new worlds or dissect their own.
Portland obviously has countless options for such places, where one can write with the help of coffee, alcohol or food. But certain details in space and experience can make or break your flow. With so many people working on their New Year's resolutions by finally starting that novel, we asked a few published Portland writers for their favorite spots to work so you can loiter there, too.
7530 N Willamette Blvd., 503-935-4312, cathedralcoffee.com.
Cathedral Coffee offers high ceilings and space for the mind to wander. There's a corner of bookshelves and wing chairs to seek inspiration. Authors Tracy Manaster and Mo Daviau meet here weekly for writing sessions.
"Between the abundance of [electrical] outlets, chairs that feel good on the butt, and extensive selection of fresh baked goods—I go for quiche—Cathedral is as comfy as it gets," Daviau says.
Manaster appreciates "the ideal quirk-to-quiet ratio for powering through drafts."
Taste on 23rd
2285 NW Johnson St., 503-477-7238, tasteon23rd.com.
Debby Dodds, whose work appears in The Sun magazine and The New York Times best-selling anthology My Little Red Book, looks for quiet places where she can write with a glass of wine. That place is often Taste on 23rd.
There's a dimly lit, third-date vibe at this cozy wine bar in the heart of Nob Hill. If you bring your laptop, come with the confidence to let it glow among intimate conversations. However, the frills aren't so formal that working is unacceptable. For writers looking for budget vino, glasses are $2 off from 4 to 6 pm.
1339 NE Fremont St., 503-284-9455, caffedestino.com.
Most Portland establishments land on kitschy clutter or Kinfolk stark. Caffe Destino resides smack in the middle with comforting carelessness, focusing on friendly service and plenty of space to socialize or work.
"There aren't rows of facial-haired creatives staring with laser focus at their screens like you find in some cafes," says Karen Karbo, author of the Kick Ass Women series. That leaves room for you to be just that person.
1625 SE Bybee Blvd., 503-232-0000, kahveology.com.
The folding chairs will make your back hurt just looking at them, but tables against the wall offer comfy booth seating for writers working at Kahveology in Sellwood. "The space is unpretentious and relaxing," says Kate Gray, author of Carry the Sky. "It's never too loud or crowded. I can sink into a story without espresso machines screaming too close."
Rain or Shine Coffee House
5941 SE Division St., 503-946-8081, rainorshinepdx.com.
This corner shop at Division and 60th buzzes with conversation between neighborhood regulars. The high tops by the window offer enough space to spread out, without feeling obligated to invite seat-seekers to join you. It's perfect if you find inspiration through eavesdropping and people-watching.
"I wrote my last book at Rain or Shine Coffee House," says Bill Cameron, a critically acclaimed mystery novelist. "I've always felt at home there, as well as very productive. And the writer's fuel is superb!" Seeking some outdoor inspiration after caffeinating? Mount Tabor is just up the street.
939 NW 10th Ave., 503-208-3113, lovejoybakers.com.
Chris Guillebeau, author of Born for This, is a trusted expert on remote working. Lovejoy Bakers in the Pearl District is his go-to breakfast spot, where he tackles the first tasks of the day. "It gets busy during the day," Guillebeau says, "but the early-morning hours are usually quiet."
Lovejoy's expansive patio is a nice outdoor option—you can thank Portland for the clouds that prevent sun glare on your laptop.