The Central Eastside Is Officially Portland’s Best Staycation Neighborhood

The area has become something of a miniature hotel hub.

Kex Hotel A remodeled hotel room at Kex. Photo courtesy of Kex.

Whether you’re a tourist or a local, an ideal Portland weekend in 2023 would probably include a visit to Gregory Gourdet’s restaurant Kann. You can also stay just blocks away, as the Central Eastside has become something of a miniature hotel hub.

There’s the Icelandic upscale hostel spinoff Kex Portland at Northeast Martin Luther King Jr. Boulevard and Couch Street, which first opened in 2019. Six blocks south and one block over, there’s Hotel Grand Stark (a name that also tells you its location), which has been around about as long as COVID-19 vaccinations (it opened in May 2021). And then there’s the OG boutique motor lodge Jupiter—recently renovated and reopened as Jupiter Original after serving as a homeless shelter during the pandemic—as well as its more upscale younger sibling Jupiter Next.

Jupiter Hotel Photo courtesy of Jupiter Original.
Jupiter Hotel Photo courtesy of Jupiter Original.

Between them, there are around a half-dozen drinking and dining options. Kex has both a classic hotel lobby bar in Pacific Standard as well as the rooftop Sunset Room, both from former Clyde Common mainstays Jeffrey Morgenthaler and Benjamin “Banjo” Amberg. The Grand Stark recently partnered with Olympia Provisions on Cafe Amari/Grand Amari (an all-day space that becomes a more elaborate Italian restaurant by night) and Little Bitter Bar (which has the sort of cocktails you’d expect from all those names).

Meanwhile, up East Burnside Street, Hey Love continues to thrive at Next, and you can still grab a drink or see a show at the Jupiter campus’s Doug Fir Lounge until at least Sept. 29 (the longtime music venue is moving to the former Le Bistro Montage building on Southeast Morrison Street; a new tenant has yet to be announced). All of which means that if you can’t get a reservation at Kann (spoiler alert: You probably Kann’t), there’s no need to stray far from your hotel.

See the rest of Willamette Week’s Best of Portland 2023 here!

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