Do you ever just wish life was…more British? You're not alone. Initially, I moved to the Pacific Northwest for a variety of reasons. Among them: the shitty weather, the high quality tea and baked goods and the fact that Portland is one of the top American cities that prizes (English) literature. Just kidding. I don't even know what that really means.
I've also had the luxury of having worked in Cambridge at a really corrupt summer camp, which somebody should probably pay me to write about. All I'll say here is that it's true: the food sucks and the guys are hot. In fact, they were so hot that I would make them pronounce "spoon" over and over and over again until the word transforms into an act.
But I digress.
Anyway, there are a number of local spots that can glide you across seas. For instance, did you know there's a costume-savvy Brit-style teahouse in Lake Oswego? Or that Horse Brass isn't Portland's only British-themed pub? Read on to find out what might just save you your entire month's rent on a one-way ticket to London.
Lady Di's British Tea Shop & Tea Room
430 2nd St., Lake Oswego, 503-635-7298, ladydibritishshop.com. Open Tuesday-Friday, 10 am-5 pm, Saturday 10 am-4 pm; Tea Room Open Tuesday-Saturday 11 am-3:30 am
Why celebrate your graduation or retirement party in a house? That's so 2016. Why don't you make things more glam and channel 1916. Lady Di's, elegantly planted in Lake Oswego like a diamond in a cuff bracelet, is as old-school England as you get if you aspire to become prim, proper or both.
This is your go-to for tea sandwiches, English scones with Devon Cream and Jam, portraits of the late Lady Di and select British candy bars. It's recommended that you call at least an hour beforehand if you're planning on dropping in with a small group (1-3), and it's encouraged that you dress up. If you have any other questions, just consider: What would Dame Maggie Smith do?
Horse Brass Pub
4534 SE Belmont St., 503-232-2202, horsebrass.com. 11 am-2:30 am daily.
Nobody knows if Horse Brass's most famous owner, Don Younger, won this bar in a poker game or bought it–but he woke up the morning after he first walked in with the deed scribbled in his pocket. Since then, this unreasonably legit British pub has been a focal starting point for many a' local craft brew–and even Stumptown.
As somebody who has gotten drunk in actual British pubs after many a hard day of being scammed—this is the real deal, ya'll. It's dimly lit, it's hella wooden, the ciders are dry and the beers are hearty, frothy and reminiscent of something Gimli would have sacrificed a blade for in the Lord of the Rings.
Moon & Sixpence Pub
2014 NE 42nd Ave., 503-288-7802. 3 pm-2:30 am daily.
Sixpence none the richer. Sorry, I've been waiting this entire time to make that joke. A guy I went on a date with like maybe three times started an argument with me once. He said Moon & Sixpence Pub was better than Horse Brass. He grew up in Portland; I did not. But I can confirm: they're both pretty awesome. Moon & Sixpence has more of a modern-British pub feel, so it doesn't quite feel right to call your beer an "ale." However, it is slightly less popular than Horse Brass, and in some ways, that makes it feel even more like the wayward drinking hole you may jaunt across on your way down one of Cambridge's many cobblestone side streets.
The Toffee Club
1006 SE Hawthorne Blvd., 971-254-9518, toffeeclubpdx.com. Open Monday-Thursday 11:30 am-12 am, Friday 11:30 am-2 am, Saturday 7 am-2 am, Sunday 8 am-12 am.
So, if Moon & Sixpence is the more modern British pub, The Toffee Club is the more modern British bar. It touts itself as an English football pub, but honestly, it looks a lot like the other slate and glass haunts you'll find yourself peering into around the inner Eastside–save for the beamed, wooden ceilings that look fire friendly. Still, looks are deceiving: The Toffee Club prioritizes savory English pies, bangers n' mash, fish and chips and even sticky toffee pudding. And people actually come here to watch sports. Side-note: the menu calls fries "chips," so you know you're in good hands.
Raven & Rose
1331 SW Broadway, 222-7673, ravenandrosepdx.com. 11:30 am-2 pm Monday-Friday, 5-10 pm Tuesday-Saturday, 10 am-2 pm Sunday (restaurant); 4-10 pm Tuesday-Wednesday, 4 pm-midnight Thursday-Friday, 5 pm-midnight Saturday.
If you want Yorkshire pudding, this is where you go. If you don't know what it is, google it. And if you haven't guessed, the reason for this is because Raven & Rose ain't kitschy; it bougie. Architecturally, you also get what you pay for.
Raven & Rose is housed in the 1883 English Stick-style Ladd Carriage House, the kind of building that's so elegant in its Victorian swag that you almost feel like you're cool with photographing corpses and staying celibate. You know, whatever Victorians were into.
The Fish & Chip Shop
1218 N Killingsworth St., 232-3344, thefishandchipshop.com.
Known for its Doctor Who trivia nights, Doctor Who-themed menu and memorabilia, and a sectioned-off TARDIS Room, the Fish & Chip Shop plays a vital role as a British-inspired Portland dive eatery. It was opened by an actual Brit in 2008 who wanted fish and chips like the stuff he was used to in his native Southwest London. Will you like it? Who knows. Is it authentic? There's a very good chance.
The Frying Scotsman
SW 9th Avenue & Alder Street, 503-706-3841, thefryingscotsmanpdx.com
If you're serious about fish and chips—and if you're into The UK, and you really should be—this is the moneymaker. You get sizable planks of inviting cod, bathed in a light batter with a hint of vinegar ($8.50, with chips.) It was started by a Scotsman, trained at a chef school in Scotland (so he's legit), who always dreamed of running his own "chippy." Ain't that somethin?
Scottish Country Shop
3568 SE Powell Blvd., 503-238-2528, scottishcountryshop.com.
Want to buy a kilt? Need to stock up on Walker Shortbread? What about CDs chronicling world-famous bagpipers? C'mon. Haven't you always wondered what haggis tastes like? The Scottish Country Shop is so cluttered with Scot exports that you might think you're hanging in the prop department from Braveheart. (In all reality, it's a gift shop for Scottish culture.) Though this shop is probably intended for people who are too proud of their 6.25% Scottish heritage, you're probably 6.25 percent Scottish. At least.
English Garden Tea Cafe
11211 SE 82nd Ave., 503-342-6497, englishgardenteacafe.net.
If you've ever been to The U.K. and you've taken some bus tour to a remote sanctuary sewn into the quilted countryside, be it an old manor house from the fifteenth century, one of Jane Austen's residences or a royal garden—you're likely to find a small, pastel-planked teahouse hovering near the gift shop. This is the closest you'll get to that teashop, but it's v Portland. When you're ordering your tea sandwiches, you can mention your food allergies and people will listen.
Word to the wise: Order their Victorian Tea special. You'll receive tea, a cup of soup, a fruit parfait, and a 3-tier selection of sandwiches, scones and desserts for $20.
Joseph Wood Hill Park at Rocky Butte
NE Rocky Butte, 503-823-2525.
This park kind of looks like a miniature Great Wall of China, or the first layer of a Scottish castle,or maybe some ruins off the Ring of Kerry. Seriously, this dramatic viewpoint is where high schoolers film their best attempts at Game of Thrones for some video production class.
Secret Scottish Garden
11800 SW Military Lane. Open daily 8 am-5 pm.
Everybody loves secrets. I'm gay. See? That was fun. But this one is way more exciting: Portland has its own secret Scottish garden. It's located in Portland's wealthiest enclave of Elk Rock Garden where there's a lil' turn-of-the-20th-century patch o' green that some Scottish guy designed. It's like so serene and pretty; there are lily pads for days, and even a manor house that you know a few kids have cased in search of Narnia.
Related: In the Portland Area's Wealthiest Neighborhood Lies a Hidden, Public Scottish Garden As Large as the Japanese Garden
Longfellow's Books & Music
1401 SE Division St., 503-239-5222, longfellowspdx.com. Open afternoons Monday-Saturday 1:30 pm-5 pm.
So, there's nothing particularly English about Longfellow's, but if you're the type who prioritizes a secondhand vintage book, a cup of tingly tea and a cat (that may just be an Animagus) in your downtime, go here. There's also a massive Alice in Wonderland mural on the side of the building. Longfellow's is dusty in the most romantic way, and it's one of Portland's best collections of antiquarian and interesting secondhand books. In other words, it's great for a rainy day, and as we all know, there are many of those to look forward to as fall climbs aboard.