The need for strong, independent local journalism
is more urgent than ever. Please support the city we
love by joining Friends of Willamette Week.

Where to Drink This Week in Portland

Nalu makes its kava tea using real roots. “Squeezing the roots,” owner Holland Mulder says. “It’s a beautiful process.”

1. Nalu

722 N Sumner St., 503-519-3415, nalukava.com. 5-11 pm Thursday-Sunday.

Up a steep flight of stairs, reached through an alley behind North Portland’s Cherry Sprout Produce, you’ll find an intimate, homespun tea room. The interior sports a few tables and a canopied pillowed nook, but the second-story patio is the real draw. Nalu makes its kava tea using real roots. “Squeezing the roots,” owner Holland Mulder says. “It’s a beautiful process.” The kava tea is especially important to Mulder, and it’s the main drink she wanted to serve when she opened the small secret tea bar in March 2018.

2. Jackie’s

Jackie’s, 930 SE Sandy Blvd., jackiespdx.com. 4 pm-midnight Monday-Friday, 11 am-1 am Saturday, 11 am-midnight Sunday.

It’s easy to mistake Jackie’s for its predecessor Century Bar—all dolled up with a new paint job and potted plants—but for its chic veneer, Jackie’s is a sports bar at heart. Wide-screen TVs are just about anywhere you look, playing the game at a volume level such that your friends can talk trash but not have to scream in each other’s faces. The cocktail pitchers are technically the better deal per glass, but the signature house drinks are easier to switch between and worth the range. The gorgeous watermelon-hibiscus-lime agua fresca margarita was our favorite. We awarded the silver medal to the confectionary halva mule—the fruity, slightly bitter (and therefore gay icon) Ms. Pittman made due with the bronze.

3. Smith Teamaker

500 NW 23rd Ave.,503-206-745, smithtea.com. 9 am-6 pm daily.

Located on Northwest 23rd Avenue, the first-ever Smith Teamaker cafe is a quiet space on the busy boutique street. The cafe serves 30 kinds of hot tea, but the curious come in for colorful lattes and aromatic tea mocktails. The Golden Light Latte is a major favorite and can be served iced or hot. It’s made by pulling Smith Golden Light tea—with turmeric, sarsaparilla root, and black pepper—through an espresso (or “teapresso”) machine, then adding maple syrup and dousing the blend with oat milk. The result is a beautiful, complex, sweet and softly spiced drink that goes mind-bendingly well with one of the pastry case’s sea salt-sprinkled miso-peanut butter cookies.

4. Lolo Pass

1616 E Burnside St., 503-908-3074, lolopasspdx.com. Coffee 7 am-2 pm daily, cocktails 4-10 pm daily.

Lolo Pass’ open floor plan lobby is a fine place to start or end a night, but the hostel-like hotel’s main attraction is the fifth-floor rooftop, which features a fire pit, a communal guitar, its own bar and no shortage of socially distant seating arrangements. The vantage offers a unique view of downtown and the Central Eastside, with everything from Big Pink to Buckman Field visible on the scenic smorgasbord.

5. Portland Cà Phê

2815 SE Holgate Blvd., 503-841-5787, portlandcaphe.com. 8 am-3 pm daily.

If you follow the Portland food scene, you’ve surely seen what’s already become a signature snap of the Southeast Holgate coffee shop on your socials: Portland Cà Phê‘s perfect purple ube latte held aloft in front of a wall-sized map of Vietnam. The ube latte features a subtly sugary, bright purple ube root extract—it’s not nearly as sweet as the grape hue might lead you to think. Same goes for a rose matcha, which hits the right bitter green tea notes, but with a delicate floral finish. They both taste as good as they look.