Portland's Southeastern neighborhoods are perhaps best thought of as quiet, dubious, fitful sidekicks to the frankly Snoopy-ish flights of fancy continually reinventing the northeastern boundary of Foster Road. Although Woodstock is the only commercial district lying anywhere near Reed College, there's no part of the city less redolent of college towns, though a whiff of professorial housing does linger. In the mind's eye, this area seems one large, shambling, pleasantly austere, history-steeped edifice teeming with over-polished curios and darkened recesses dissuading further investigation. You would want to live there, but it's a strange place to visit.

WW PICKS

Arleta Library Bakery Cafe, 5513 SE 72nd Ave.

New Seasons Rooftop Bar, 4500 SE Woodstock Blvd.

Red Fox Vintage, 4528 SE Woodstock Blvd.

Eastmoreland Golf Course, 2425 SE Bybee Blvd.

MUST

Lutz Tavern

4639 SE Woodstock Blvd., 503-774-0353. Breakfast-late daily.

Lutz – photo by Ro Tam
Lutz – photo by Ro Tam

Enduring for half a century as an unreconstructed dive prior to its 2010 buyout, the Lutz made a chance decision to offer $1 cans of PBR in the late '90s that was credited by The New York Times and Washington Post with introducing the award-winning beer to Generation Hipster. Ditching all but the essentials, the Lutz's new ownership transformed it into a taproom that brings a childlike enthusiasm to adult pleasures—booze slushies with a real kick, corn dogs as big as your arm, and a smoking patio built like a batting cage. The inevitable effect, for better or worse, imagines a world in which hipsters never even existed.

EAT

Arleta Library Bakery Cafe

5513 SE 72nd Ave., 503-774-4470, arletalibrary.com. Breakfast and lunch daily.

While never much of a library, the Arleta Cafe earned a certain measure of cultural permanence when Diners, Drive-Ins and Dives' Guy Fieri stopped by to marvel at its trademark sweet potato biscuits with rosemary-sausage gravy. Following the Food Network imprimatur and owner Sarah Iannarone's ill-starred mayoral candidacy, a steady string of curious interlopers have joined die-hard regulars amid the morning crush. $.

El Gallo Taqueria

4422 SE Woodstock Blvd., 503-481-7537, elgallopdx.com. Lunch and dinner Tuesday-Saturday.

After five years as Woodstock's most beloved food cart (and one of the city's most environmentally progressive), El Gallo finally moved from taco truck to storefront. The reclaimed-timber interiors are still constantly overrun by throngs clamoring for locally sourced Mexican street food. $.

Otto's Sausage Kitchen

4138 SE Woodstock Blvd., 503-771-6714, ottossausage.com. Breakfast-early dinner Monday-Saturday, lunch-early dinner Sunday.

The third-generation sausage maker is the place where we learned hot dogs could transcend the grim world of Costco parking lots and Hebrew National to become something greater: the platonic ideal of sausage, alder smoke, healthy snap and meat free of filler. $.

DRINK

Double Mountain Taproom

4336 SE Woodstock Blvd., doublemountainbrewery.com.

(Thomas Teal)
(Thomas Teal)

Set to open by the time this publishes, Hood River's Double Mountain will be the newest craft brewer to bring a palatial megapub to Portland—complete with space for hundreds, taps showcasing 20 of it brews, plus guests, jazzed up pub food and a sound system pumping old vinyl hand-picked by barkeeps-to-be.

New Seasons Rooftop Bar

4500 SE Woodstock Blvd., 503-771-9663, newseasonsmarket.com/our-stores/woodstock.

The latest outpost of the local upscale grocery chain arrived boasting both a ramen bar and an actual bar—an expansive rooftop tavern with fire pit and sizable umbrellas for drinking through all types of weather. Though the two-drink maximum and indoor play area may not encourage extended binges, patrons can always take their fill at a growler station and continue at home.

Old Gilbert Road Tavern

5501 SE 72nd Ave., oldgilbertroad.com.

On a recent night, the cook making the chili dog special seemed to know everyone's name. He was playing good cop for the gruff bartender, who stared at newcomers like they were made of farts, but served decent beer like Pfriem and the new grapefruit gose from Ecliptic.

SHOP

Pace Setter Athletic

4203 SE Woodstock Blvd., 503-777-3214, pacesetterathletic.com.

Specializing in running and walking footwear, Pace Setter Athletic has maintained brisk sales for decades by focusing on patient and knowledgeable customer service. Clerks quiz patrons about their routines, analyze worn sneakers and demand they test new purchases to better study their gait.

Red Fox Vintage

4528 SE Woodstock Blvd., 971-302-7065, redfoxvintage.com.

(Emily Joan Greene)
(Emily Joan Greene)

A labyrinthine thrifter's paradise, Red Fox Vintage houses a dizzying array of apparel for every conceivable age, size, style, and gender alongside houseware, furniture, objets d'art, and time-swept bric-a-brac. Leavening the diligently curated collections with a welcome note of whimsy, the shop owners have even rented out the premises for private masquerades themed after the partygoers' decade of choice.

GO

Crystal Springs Rhododendron Gardens

5801 SE 28th Ave., 503-771-8386, crystalspringsgarden.org.

Built around an abandoned outdoor stage on 5 acres originally cultivated by early Portland Mayor William S. Ladd, the Crystal Springs gardens now encompass more than 2,500 rhododendrons and azaleas, at least 94 distinct species of bird, and an immersive sylvan maze revealing unexpected bridges and waterfalls.

Douglas F. Cooley Memorial Art Gallery

Reed College, 3203 SE Woodstock Blvd., 503-771-1112, reed.edu/gallery. Closed Mondays.

The Cooley Gallery displays a breadth of works that supplements Reed College's humanities programs. It enlightens the surrounding community through shows held in conjunction with local institutions and rotating exhibitions of globally renowned artists.

Eastmoreland Golf Course

2425 SE Bybee Blvd., 503-775-2900, eastmorelandgolfcourse.com.

(Henry Cromett)
(Henry Cromett)

The city-owned Eastmoreland Golf Course is not only open for inexpensive rounds and range buckets, but is home to a pleasant, no-frills bar and grill. Take your Hennessey out to the driving range in a plastic cup, and bet the next $4.50 bucket on who can hit the ball the farthest.

Mt. Scott Community Center

5530 SE Harold St., 503-823-2223.

The jewel in the crown of Southeast Portland parks, the Mt. Scott Community Center contains a gymnasium, basketball and badminton courts, and a roller rink dating from the 1950s, but its signature attraction remains the indoor lap pool and aquatic park featuring splash-worthy amusements from "lazy river" to towering water slide.

In multiple locations:

The Joinery, 4804 SE Woodstock Blvd.