That Montavilla appears distinctly set apart from other eastside neighborhoods is both slightly bizarre and undeniably charming. Originally christened Mount Tabor Village, this enclave acquired its moniker from abbreviated signs on the streetcar. Today, Montavilla balances the best parts of its century-plus history—original Craftsman homes, massive old-growth trees and long-operating family businesses—with the energy of revitalization coming from young families and new local businesses. A stroll down Southeast Stark Street carries that nostalgic Anytown, U.S.A., vibe, complete with historic movie house and local hardware store. Except now, after that matinee, you can drink a really good beer.
Bipartisan Cafe, 7901 SE Stark St.
Beer Bunker, 7918 SE Stark St.
Maven Collective, 7819 SE Stark St.
Tub and Tan, 8028 SE Stark St.
8105 SE Stark St., 503-255-0049, roscoespdx.com.
Roscoe's co-owner Jeremy Lewis is the sort of dude who dresses up as a truly frightening SpongeBob Marley for Halloween—and Roscoe's is a reflection partly of his own personality, along with that of partner Quyen Li. This means Roscoe's is unlike any other beer bar in Portland: a low-down Montavilla dive stacked with knickknacks psychedelic or otherwise, a smoking porch with an on-off ventilation switch, a vast craft-beer menu outfitted with personal tasting notes, and goofball monthly "beer summits" that are almost never quite planned even a week in advance but are always packed with amazing brews when the day comes.
7901 SE Stark St., 503-253-1051, bipartisancafe.com. Breakfast-dinner daily.
Opened when Montavilla was just a scattering of restaurants on the edges of 82nd, the Bipartisan Cafe remains a neighborhood pillar built of delicate, flaky crust. Political memorabilia decorates the walls of the living room-style space, where it's easy to while away a day among the neighborhood regulars. Because if homemade pie doesn't bring people together, what will? $.
The Country Cat
7937 SE Stark St., 503-408-1414, thecountrycat.net. Breakfast-dinner daily.
Chef Adam Sappington's wood-paneled Montavilla diner is a monument to the great American meat coma. Everything after slaughter happens onsite—even the ketchup and the beef jerky in the Bloody Mary are homemade—and the portions are as Southern-inspired as the cooking. $$.
8029 SE Stark St., tanukipdx.com. Dinner Thursday-Saturday.
Tanuki is very clear about what it is not. It is not a sushi restaurant. It is not an establishment that welcomes children or large parties. What it is remains a mystery to passersby thanks to perpetually papered-over windows. But dare to venture inside and you will be rewarded with an ever-changing selection of Japanese small plates, an expertly curated sake selection, Japanese and Korean cult films, and pinball. $-$$.
Townshend's Tea House
7940 SE Stark St., 503-719-5226, townshendstea.com. Breakfast-dinner daily.
The people behind those squat bottles of Brew Dr. Kombucha you see at New Seasons have been slowly expanding, and this new Montavilla location is the latest branch of their leafy empire. Order the milk oolong: It tastes like fresh cream. $.
7918 SE Stark St., 503-254-8200, beerbunkerpdx.com.
While the Beer Bunker might not actually withstand a legitimate end-of-days scenario, at least you'd have plenty of good beer—in the form of two dozen taps and to-go bottles—board games and mini pizzas. If it's a pleasant-weather type of apocalypse as opposed to a nuclear winter, grab a seat at one of the picnic tables out back and await the hordes.
7915 SE Stark St., 503-841-5118, redwoodpdx.com. Dinner Tuesday, breakfast-dinner Wednesday-Sunday.
Under the helm of Chopped contestant Susie Blue, who formerly ran the kitchen at Scandinavian breakfast mecca Broder, it's no surprise that the food menu at Redwood is solid all the way around. But if you're looking for a well-made cocktail in Montavilla, Redwood is it. $-$$.
7819 SE Stark St., 971-279-5888, mavencollectivepdx.com.
For thrifters, antique hounds and aesthetes short on time and patience, Maven Collective does all the legwork, assembling a beautifully curated showroom of retro gems alongside locally made goods, botanicals and wearables. Whether you're on the hunt for that perfect rocking chair or tiny vessels for holding tiny plants, Maven Collective's aesthetic will make your life look like an Instagram feed.
7909 SE Stark St., 503-287-4242, unionrosepdx.com.
Demonstrating the inherent craftiness of the Portland community, everything in the colorful and all-sizes-friendly Union Rose boutique is crafted by local designers, from clothing and jewelry to body products and even nail polish.
7818 SE Stark St., 503-252-0500, academytheaterpdx.com.
Showing second-run movies and classic films, the historic Academy Theater also offers elevated fare like Flying Pie pizza, Miyamoto sushi and 10 craft brews. With full-priced tickets setting you back only $4, you can finally afford a night at the movies.
Milepost 5 Art Haus
850 NE 81st Ave., 503-252-0881, arthauspdx.org.
So you've moved to Portland to follow your artistic dreams? Good news: Portland fosters creativity like Chicago fosters political corruption. The Milepost 5 Art Haus is an artists' community with three separate galleries, a live performance space and ongoing projects, all of which are open to the public every day.
Northeast 82nd Avenue and Glisan Street, 503-823-7529.
At nearly 10 acres, this massive Montavilla green space includes everything your summer heart could desire, from picnic and play areas to sports fields—including the new Timbers-sponsored futsal field— and free outdoor movies. As a bonus, the adjacent Montavilla Community Center offers a wealth of activities for the entire family.
Tub and Tan
8028 SE Stark St., 503-257-8191, tubandtan.com. Noon-midnight daily.
The natural inclination upon first sight of Tub and Tan—from its frequently typo-laden digital scroll sign to the concept as a whole (hot tubs, by the hour?)—is to cringe. But once you've spent half the year or more in gray drizzle, you'd slap your sweet Aunt Mary for some UV rays and hot tub time. Plus, it's actually pretty baller inside; think fountains and disco lights.