Portland’s Six Most Distinctive Head Shops

When it comes to serving as embassies for cannabis culture, they can’t match the city’s best head shops.

(Henry Cromett)

Most modern dispensaries now stock a wide range of paraphernalia, sure. But when it comes to serving as embassies for cannabis culture, they can't match the city's best head shops, which allow leisurely conversations and careful shopping in a way that's impossible at a store where you know there are other people waiting patiently in a room with magazines.

Portland lost an icon last month, as the Third Eye Shoppe shuttered on Southeast Hawthorne Boulevard,  but there are still some good ones around town, including these six favorites.

82nd Ave. Tobacco and Pipe

400 SE 82nd Ave., 503-255-9987, 82ave.com. 9 am-9 pm Monday-Saturday, 11 am-7 pm Sunday.

With the exception of a stack of Stoner magazines near the door, not a single trace of the counterculture associated with cannabis prior to legalization is on display at 82nd Ave. Tobacco and Pipe. In its place is a wide spread of pipes for tobacco—actual tobacco, without the wink and nod—and cannabis, all housed in shimmering glass cases with rugged wood embellishments that a boat-owning cigar aficionado would probably appreciate. Bongs take up the vast majority of display space, with prices ranging from $19.99 for handheld rigs to $900 for a massive piece from HBG. The wall of miscellaneous connectors and tubing is the largest we've found, but the real treat here is the outdoor "cigar jungle." Outfitted with a canopy, a carefully groomed lawn and a gas grill, this would easily be the best smoking lounge in town if the OLCC would allow it.

House of Pipes

925 NE Broadway, 503-281-1618; 7035 SE 82nd Ave., 971-407-3386, houseofpipes.com. 9 am-11 pm Monday-Sunday.

House of Pipes is, first and foremost, a bong store. Not one of the many customers who rolled through the Northeast Broadway location on our visit did so much as glance at the cases to the left while he or she quickly copped cigarettes and exited, which is a shame considering how diverse this shop's selection of glassware is. Mainstays like Roor and Stax are spurned in favor of slightly more local offerings from names like Black Market, Killa, Glass Stone and AMG. Most offerings favored function over form and landed in the $100 to $300 range, though a few curios could be found, like a hand-engraved, double-layer pipe from Liberty 503 that carried a $2,000 price tag.

Mary Jane's House of Glass

1425 NW 23rd Ave., 503-841-5751; 5425 NE 33rd Ave., 971-279-5050;3619 SE Division St., 503-206-5726, maryjaneshouseofglass.net. 10 am-11 pm Monday-Sunday.

This local chain of glassware stores might be the closest analog you'll find to Ye Olde Bong Shoppe in the college town where you spent the better part of your 20s, but that's certainly not to its discredit. A recent visit to the Northwest 23rd Avenue location found the store buzzing with customers interested in each of those items, much to the amusement of a pair of nurses from the Legacy Good Samaritan hospital up the road who know Mary Jane's simply as the place with the cheapest bottled drinks on the block. Sure, $1.09 for a can of Bob Marley's Mellow Mood tea is a steal, but it's either the bargain case of under-$20 pipes or the vast assortment of handheld dab devices from Hitman Dabuccino that serve as the strongest attractions for pedestrians and serious customers alike. Mary Jane's Southeast Division Street location is next to Brothers Cannabis (page 25), marking the quadrant's nexus of Classic Canna.

NVS Glassworks

8745 SW Beaverton Hillsdale Highway, 503-208-2235, 11 am-10 pm Monday-Saturday, 11 am-9 pm Sunday; 5210 SE Woodstock Blvd., No. 102, 503-954-2741, 10 am-10 pm Monday-Saturday, 11 am-9 pm Sunday, nvsglassworks.com.

NVS owner Josh Bergman knew exactly what he wanted from the get-go—a clean and sophisticated shop offering high-end glassware for cannabis users of all stripes. You won't find T-shirts or kratom anywhere in his store, opened across the road from Jesuit High School in 2010. What you will find is an expert-level selection of pipes from regional brands that Bergman is often the exclusive local purveyor of, with Toro, Sovereignty and Sheldon Black being the biggest names folks from as far as Eugene and Tacoma have made the trek for. The newest location, which opened in January next to Ate-Oh-Ate on the newly developed eastern edge of Woodstock, is even swankier, with librarian ladders sliding along unvarnished wood display shelves that run the length of both sides of the space. The minimally decorated shop is what the weapon-selection scene in The Matrix would look like if Neo were a stoner.

Mellow Mood Pipe & Tobacco

4119 SE Hawthorne Blvd., 503-235-7473, 10 am-11 pm Monday-Sunday; 1503 SW Broadway, 503-227-5099, 10 am-10 pm Monday-Sunday, mellowmood.com.

The goofy branding and preference of this seminational chain of head shops for collegiate locales belies Mellow Mood's almost gallerylike curation of glassware that ranges from awe-inspiring to arcane. As such, the area nearest the entrance of the Southeast Hawthorne Boulevard location comprises case after case of carefully designed pieces from renowned blowers like Munky, Darby and Buck, ranging from small $2,000 hand pieces adorned with elves and mushrooms to massive Alien-themed pieces that don't even have a price tag. Beyond the fantasia of pipes too pricey to ever smoke out of is a quality selection of midrange glassware from known brands like MAV, Zob and Goo Roo, as well as an attractive spread of silicone bongs for the klutzes who are terrified by the idea of spending a grand on a piece of glass they'll use for daily intoxication.

Nomad Crossing

3969 SE Hawthorne Blvd., 503-239-8009, facebook.com/nomadcrossing. 10:30 am-9:30 pm Monday-Saturday, 11 am-8:30 pm Sunday.

Now that Third Eye Shoppe is just a hazy memory, it's up to Nomad Crossing to keep the hippie flames of Old Portland burning bright. With racks of tie-dyed T-shirts hanging from the ceiling and enough Nag Champa to make a Radio Cab driver blush, this modest head shop is indeed alive and well with purpose despite the "peace, love and phat glass" vibes trending downward. Regardless, you can't hate on the prices of the shop's glass, which is the principal tenet of how its cases are organized as you make your way through the store. The $50 bong case is another selling point.


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