8501 N Lombard St., 289-7285.
The sock hop/diner/thrift store/yarn shop/DVD store-hybrid business model never really took off, and for good reason, but that doesn’t stop the inscrutable downtown St. Johns institution, Pattie’s, from being a go-to stocking-stuffer destination. Where else can you order a burger and shop for doll heads, broaches and pomegranate-chocolate moisturizing foot cream while you wait?
Buy this: Used DVDs ($2), salt-and-pepper shakers ($6) and, of course, doll heads ($3).
The Lion’s Den Man’s Shop
8511 N Lombard St., 286-3514.
Walking through the doors at the Lion’s Den Man’s Shop (or “the Man’s Shop” for short) will almost certainly remind men of a certain age of uncomfortable back-to-school shopping experiences from their youth. That’s because the store’s folded fleeces, fedoras, slacks and endless racks of Pendleton button-up shirts feel more like your father’s taste in fashion than it does yours. But, damn it, every boy must become a man some day. Pearl-button shirts and Levi’s 501s don’t go out of style, making the Man’s Shop the perfect clothing destination for the reluctant adult male in your life. The surprisingly hip shoe selection is an added bonus.
Buy this: Pendleton wool shirts ($90-ish), sweet burgundy-colored Impulse kicks ($65), assorted flat caps and fedoras ($19.99-$39.99).
Vinyl Resting Place
8332 N Lombard St. 247-9573, vinylrestingplaceusa.com.
One of the brightest shining gems in Portland’s record-store crown, Vinyl Resting Place is a well-curated mom-and-pop store that lives up to its name. While not a great option for new releases—there’s a sort of laughable “alternative” section and usually some recent albums in the new-arrivals bin—VRP manages to cull an impressive and ever-changing selection of vintage vinyl from what we can only guess are the estate sales of rad old people. The folk, jazz and country sections are especially sweet, but rock-and-roll fans should be able to track down some classics, too.
Buy this: The Japanese version of the Bee Gees’ Odessa ($15), Sonny Clark’s Cool Struttin’ ($10) and a few sweet dollar records.
St. Johns Booksellers
8622 N Lombard St., 283-0032.
The St. Johns neighborhood is probably better known for bars and barbershops than it is for books, but this cute, family-run store has become something of an institution and a community meeting place in its six-year run. A reasonably priced and well-organized selection of mostly used titles keeps it from feeling too much like a thrift-store book section, but there’s definitely a bargain-hunting feel to the place. The local authors section and “Book Club Picks,” offered at a 20-percent discount, are especially nice touches. The fact that SJB bothers to carry zines and erotica titles is a testament to its community-mindedness. But the most adorable thing about St. Johns Booksellers has to be the tiny reading room and kids play space at the back of the store.
Buy this: The Comic Adventures of Felix the Cat ($6.50), Willy Vlautin’s Lean on Pete ($13.99), Ken Kesey’s The Further Inquiry ($9.99).
Panaderia and Tienda Santa Cruz
8630 N Lombard St., 289-2005.
Much more than a convenience store, Panaderia and Tienda Santa Cruz offers an elaborate selection of the kinds of stuff your local grocer never has a wide enough selection of: peppers. From canned jalapenos to exotic dried peppers, this is one spicy shop. Bottled hot sauces you’ve never heard of and a broad selection of Mexican candies help flesh out the store’s grocery shelves. Santa Cruz—which also serves as a bakery, a butcher shop and an excellent taqueria—also has a better selection of contemporary and classic Mexican music than most record stores. CDs literally cover the walls.
Buy this: Castillo hot sauce ($1.99) and a metal tortilla press ($8.49).
Held Vegan Belts
7232 N Burlington Ave., 683-2358, strongestbeltsintheworld.com.
This small shop just off the main strip in St. Johns is dedicated almost entirely to belts. You’ll find the odd wallet, spiked necklace or bike-chain belt buckle here (in fact, the place has kind of a Zumiez vibe), but mostly it’s a shop full of belts. Mind you, these are not just any belts! Held makes vegan belts because, quite frankly, normal belts are fucking disgusting. The shop’s mission statement reads: “To give people an alternative, which is better than pleather, so they will know they can live well without the hellishly antiquated and media-driven desire to drape human bodies in the corpses of non-human bodies.” Even if that radical doctrine just made you pee your pants, Held’s lifetime guarantee is pretty hard to beat.
Buy this: Belts ($30).