One day we'll be able to stroll up to a bar, buy a dab or bong rip or Volcano-produced vapor bag, consume it right there or take it back to our table with friends, and laugh about how people used to be so scared of legal cannabis.
Today is not yet that day. Until then, places like NW Cannabis Club (1195 SE Powell Blvd., 2 pm-midnight daily) will do just fine. NWCC is located in a former strip club-turned-nightclub next to a 24-hour coffee shop, and its Seattle owners are proud to share the success of their NW Cannabis Market with Portlanders. "Our goal is to normalize access and not treat cannabis users like criminals," says Aiden Powell, a NWCC manager who moved from Seattle. "This is something we're proud of and helps fill a need we helped preserve in Seattle."
NWCC has everything you'd expect in a lounge—leather chairs and couches, mounted TVs, a small stage and a massive bar upstairs—along with a basement being remodeled with more tables and seating for private events. There are board games, at least one Sega Genesis emulator (Altered Beast, bitches) running on the PlayStation 3, and 50 mbps Wi-Fi that should keep everyone but the most dedicated PC gamers satisfied.
Like the World Famous Cannabis Cafe and the Other Spot before it, NWCC doesn't sell cannabis onsite. Like WFCC, there are sealed snacks and soda available for purchase. Like TOS, members are free to bring or order food. Like both places, alcohol is prohibited.
On our first visit, we were greeted by the butler-polite J.T., who checked our IDs and explained the daily and monthly membership pricing, reminding us that they did not sell cannabis, and leading our party to a MacGyver'ed bar either left over from the previous nightclub or grabbed at a closing sale. While functional, it stands out like a relic in a space designed to be experienced in low light. The bar stools look new, and the plethora of options available at the bar made me forget how much the white shelf and marble bar clashed. Dab rigs were ready with hot e-nails or torches to light, bongs were within an arm's reach, and a Volcano vaporizer loomed on the other side. Pre-rolls from local dispensaries were also available, and flower with paper were available to use on a joint roller.
The bud/dab tender was especially proud of the Sacred Extracts rosin made from the Fresh Connection flower, though he was more hands-off during the dabbing process than expected—unlike the full service of Steve Shumate at WFCC, these guys scraped the dabs and handed me the stick. The low bar height and rig-mouthpiece angle made dabbing on my own slightly awkward, though this should only be an issue for novices or those like me used to more hand-holding and a custom-height dab bar. The building's former occupants were nice enough to leave intact a corner stage, where Powell says they plan to host events like Cottonmouth Comedy Night.
NWCC offers three entry-fee options: six months for $150 plus $1 per day, one month for $20 plus $5 daily, or $10 for one day. It's free for new visitors. Parking is next to nonexistent, so plan to park south across Powell Boulevard or take transit. Actually, given the dab situation, plan on transit.