Here we have the westside's response to the industrial eastside, built on the site of the 1905 Lewis and Clark Exposition. Constrained by the Willamette River to the north and Forest Park to the west, the Northwest Industrial District is part industrial park and part funky neighborhood—a mix of union workers, forklift operators, machine shops, urban hikers, million-dollar homes, and safety-oriented PTA members. And despite the number of loading bays and railroad tracks, there are still plenty of places to grab a bite and wet your whistle after a long day pushing pallets or papers. SAMI GASTON.
Eat: Ataula, 1818 NW 23rd Place.
Drink: McMenamins 23rd Avenue Bottle Shop, 2290 NW Thurman St.
Shop: Schoolhouse Electric & Supply Co., 2181 NW Nicolai St.
Go: Forest Park, various entrance points.
8031 NW Skyline Blvd., 503-286-4788, skytav.com.
In some ways, not much has changed at Skyline Tavern, our favorite bar of 2016. It's a decades-old, ramshackle hilltop roadhouse filled with wood grain, old beer signs and a pool table. In other ways, under the new ownership of Scott Ray Becker, this is a whole new place. The beers pouring out of the taps are Commons Urban Farmhouse or Pfriem Strong Dark. Skyline Tavern is a vacation—complete with a BYO burgers-friendly grill— that's somehow also just another Tuesday happy hour, a summer-camp cabin within city limits.
1818 NW 23rd Place, 503-894-8904, ataulapdx.com. Dinner Tuesday-Saturday.
While most modernist Spanish cuisine is showy about its tricks, Ataula's Jose Chesa uses slow-cooking sous vide to work subtle transformations on classic tapas. The texture of a decadent salmon-and-truffle montadito—which should accompany every meal here—approximates cloud more than anything found on land or at sea, with a honeyed sweetness that lingers long after the quick three bites it takes to eat it. $$-$$$.
The Clearing Cafe & Bakery
2772 NW Thurman St., 503-841-6240, theclearingcafe.com. Breakfast-late lunch daily.
Coming down from the Leif Erikson trail or a 9 am conference call? The Clearing Cafe serves Sterling Coffee Roasters coffee along with breakfast burritos and pastries that will give you the fuel needed to continue on your daily journey. Be sure to try the hemp milk cardamom latte. $.
Mole Prehispanic Cuisine
2671 NW Vaughn St., 503-875-9134. Lunch Monday-Friday.
The most impressive of chef Luis Ochoa's five stunning and labor-intensive Mexican moles is the mole negro, an ink-black sauce made with charred seeds and chilies then poured over beef brisket. Ochoa, whose cart was among our favorites of 2016, prepares the moles and meats separately so he can keep them vegan and gluten-free in consideration of his Portland clientele. $.
Clear Creek Distillery
2389 NW Wilson St., 503-248-9470, clearcreekdistillery.com.
For over three decades, the folks at Clear Creek have been producing prize-winning, fruit-based spirits from regional produce, like their famous pear brandy. Tour the facility for $5, and stroll past the stills where they produce brandy, grappa and whiskey, sampling up to five beverages onsite.
McMenamins 23rd Avenue Bottle Shop
2290 NW Thurman St., 971-202-7256, mcmenamins.com.
The shop doesn't charge corkage on its more than 800 bottles of beer and wine. The 16 taps host well-chosen guest beers alongside house brews, and every Thursday one of them sells for $10 a growler. Not only that, the bar serves a $5 cocktail of the day. It's a wonderland of comfortable cheapness where you can get whiskey, gin and rum to go.
Betsy & Iya
2403 NW Thurman St., 503-227-5482, betsyandiya.com.
Betsy & Iya makes slightly playful statement jewelry, definitely geometric with just enough edge that you won't look like your mom. These local designers are the folks who brought you the St. Johns, Fremont and Tilikum Crossing bridge cuff so you could sport an affinity for Portland on your wrist.
2774 NW Thurman St., neapolitanshop.com. Open Thursday-Sunday.
Boasting handmade shoes and sandals by Rachel Sees Snail Shoes, fetching cotton panties, and blue LePens, this storefront is also the gateway to artists' Thurman Street Studios. During retail hours, curious shoppers are invited to view the bright catacombs of ceramic and visual artists' work spaces.
Schoolhouse Electric & Supply Co.
Although it's slightly off the beaten path, Schoolhouse Electric's flagship store, showroom, warehouse, manufacturing facility and design headquarters is a feast for the eyes. Founder Brian Faherty and company craft industrialized, vintage-inspired light fixtures, linens, furniture for home and office, clocks, and everything in between. It's a must stop for appreciators of American craftsmanship and design.
Thurman Street Collective
2384 NW Thurman St., 971-803-7970, thurmancollective.com.
This dispensary is filled with so much local art you might think it's a gallery. But it has flower that runs about $15 a gram—popular strains include Obama Kush and Space Kase—in addition to light edibles and pre-roll holders carved from exotic woods by a neighborhood artist.
Retreat to nature without leaving the city limits. Forest Park is the largest urban forest in the nation, with miles and miles of trails for hiking, on-leash dog walking, cycling and horseback riding. So pack up the kiddos and a picnic, and enjoy a day hike on the Wildwood Trail while taking in the surrounding lush greenery.
2234 NW Thurman St., 503-227-3164, peculiarium.com. Closed Monday-Tuesday.
Held together with hot glue and chewing gum, this oddball sideshow is a like a B-movie back lot. Founded by a fake adventurer named Conrad Talmadge Elwood and with no stated or intended function, this museum of horror-movie tropes is the closest thing to a small, coastal town in a big city.
In multiple locations
Food Front Co-op, 2375 NW Thurman St.