From the base of Tabor to the Central Eastside, Sunnyside and Buckman are two of the most popular Southeast neighborhoods—the ones newcomers dream of landing in. The two are basically merging, and would be indistinguishable were it not for that pesky Lone Fir Cemetery, whose denizens refuse to succumb to the new wave of restaurants and go-to clubs populating the area. As these neighborhoods' clout grows, it's only a matter of time before they team with Division and start a secessionist movement. Lord knows, they have enough restaurants and booze to sustain autonomy.
Fukami, 4246 SE Belmont St.
Century, 930 SE Sandy Blvd.
Belmont Collective, 2036 SE Belmont St.
Pips & Bounce, 833 SE Belmont St.
1300 SE Stark St,, 503-288-3895, revolutionhallpdx.com.
For years, the former Washington High School stood vacant, a weird shell of Portland past. Now, the 110-year-old building hosts Southeast's newest performance venue: Revolution Hall. From the cats behind Mississippi Studios, Rev Hall is a middle ground for bands too big for rooms like Mississippi, but too small to pack the Moda Center. If you're looking to see a big star in an intimate setting, or an up-and-comer ready to burst into the big houses, or just grab a drink at Marthas, this is your place. Its constantly expanding offerings now include hosting comedy headliners, rooftop yoga and, most recently, a full restaurant and bar.
215 SE 9th Ave., 503-239-8830, biwarestaurant.com. Dinner nightly.
Gabe Rosen's take on the Japanese-style izakaya tavern dresses up or down nicely: It's easy to stop in for a quick bowl of ramen or a late-night, secret-menu burger, or to luxuriate with a two-hour-plus evening of sashimi. $$-$$$$.
3520 NE 42nd Ave., 971-279-2759, darumapdx.com. Dinner nightly.
Daruma is the sushi bar in town that most approximates the sushi bars of Japan—an intimate space designed around the burnished-wood counter behind which Tony Chen shears salmon and albacore into plump, fresh cuts of nigiri and sashimi with grace and speed. $$-$$$.
1414 SE Morrison St., farmspiritpdx.com. Nine-course dinner, 7 pm Wednesday-Thursday; 12-course dinner, 7 pm Friday-Saturday.
Owner-chef Aaron Adams aspires for Farm Spirit to be the best vegan restaurant in the world. The modernist menu changes nightly to highlight locally sourced, vegan ingredients. $$$$.
4246 SE Belmont St., 971-279-2161, fukamipdx.com. Dinner Tuesday-Saturday.
Chef Cody Auger's prix-fixe reboot of already-esteemed sushi spot Hokusei lands somewhere between omakase and formal kaiseki, except with a fine attention to detail that makes it almost certainly the finest dedicated sushiya in town. Don't come here to fill your belly—that's not what nigiri is for. $$$$.
Meat Cheese Bread
1406 SE Stark St., 503-234-1700, meatcheesebread.com. Breakfast-dinner daily.
This punk-soundtracked Buckman sandwich shop offers pretty much what its name describes, but the simplicity is deceptive. The meat might be Nueske's bacon, and the cheese a Gjetost spread straight outta Norway, while the bread is airy Fleur De Lis. $.
1401 SE Morrison St., 503-234-2427, nostrana.com. Lunch and dinner Monday-Friday, dinner Saturday-Sunday.
A decade after arriving, Nostrana remains reliably excellent. Cathy Whims brings Northwest sensibilities to Italian cuisine, using local ingredients in worldly dishes that got Nostrana nominated for a James Beard Award six of the past seven years. $$$.
Pepper Box Cafe
932 SE Morrison St., 503-841-5004, pepperboxpdx.com. Breakfast and lunch daily.
This New Mexican spot serves the primo taco unlike any other in Portland, with spicy pastrami, pickled peppers, lightly fried white onions and scrambled eggs in a smoky chipotle cream sauce. Eat that. $.
1403 SE Belmont St., 971-544-7136, roostpdx.com. Dinner Tuesday-Friday, brunch
and dinner Saturday-Sunday.
Chef Megan Henzel prepares hearty American classics with just enough flourish to feel fancy. Roost skimps on neither portion size nor quality, and has one of the best price-to-quality drink lists we've seen at a sit-down spot in Portland. $$.
4246 SE Belmont St., 503-477-4805, slappycakes.com. Breakfast and lunch daily.
The concept's pretty simple: It's pancakes, done in the style of Korean barbecue. No wonder there are outposts in Singapore, Malaysia and beyond. Slappy Cakes has the best family-friendly brunch in Portland, a place where a squirt bottle of batter and the occasional wayward second-degree burn bring families together. $-$$.
829 SE César E. Chávez Blvd., 503-232-3424. Lunch and dinner Tuesday-Sunday.
There are a surprising number of Bosnian spots in Portland, but Two Brothers is the best. Though the cevapi—breakfast sausage-sized kebabs served on pita with chopped yellow onions and sour cream—are excellent, we were even more taken with the rich, tender beef in the goulash. $.
3356 SE Belmont St., 503-235-6041, aaltolounge.com.
Aalto has aged gracefully. When it opened around the turn of the millennium, it was the undisputed coolest of all eastside bars. The DJ still spins outlaw country and East Coast hip-hop—almost shoulder to shoulder with the bartender making your cocktails—and the happy-hour specials are still absurdly generous.
Cascade Brewing Barrel House
939 SE Belmont St., 503-265-8603, cascadebrewingbarrelhouse.com.
Cascade's sought-after sour beer—the strawberry and the blueberry and the cranberry and the snozzberry— ain't cheap, but it also never tastes like it should be. It's the beer equivalent of fine wine.
930 SE Sandy Blvd., centurybarpdx.com.
Century's unique wooden-bleacher seating, which is configured with both sides of the room facing drop-down screens, makes watching a big game feel like you're ringside for a prizefight—the energy exceeds that of any other sports bar we've visited. Already, Century has the vibe other would-be hip sports bars have failed to create. Ball out—there's a beautiful rooftop patio for cooling off after the buzzer.
2045 SE Belmont St., 503-232-3227.
It's best known for the mammoth nacho platter, but poke around this loungey Belmont bar and you'll see there's more going on. Climb the stairs tucked by the bar and you're in a slavish re-creation of a '70s coke lounge where all the drinks are stiff.
1400 SE Morrison St., 503-235-8150, crushbar.com.
Crush is a welcoming neighborhood gay bar for everyone. The bar is not populated by cool girls and boys trying to impress everyone with their boredom. If you're looking for a place to dance till you're naked or sing along with strangers, this is your spot.
Enso Urban Winery
1416 SE Stark St., 503-683-3676, ensowinery.com.
A wine bar that drops the pretension in favor of cozy vibes (think midcentury living-room furniture), stellar prices on wine by the glass, and serious summertime appeal (all hanging vines, picnic tables and canned sangria), Enso was unsurprisingly our pick for Bar of the Year in 2014.
1001 SE Morrison St., 503-239-7639, holocene.org.
Holocene hosts rock bands and private events, but its calling card is dance music. On those nights, you might find the dance floors filled, the disco ball casting beams of light across the floor, and a whole lot of purple light coming from an indeterminate source.
Horse Brass Pub
4534 SE Belmont St., 503-232-2202, horsebrass.com.
An authentic Brit pub founded by a legendary barkeep who never crossed the pond—Horse Brass is one of the nation's first beer bars. Nearly 70 taps pour a largely local selection that changes daily, with printed-out menus rife with crossed-off selections from the area's best breweries. The fish and chips—nuggets of thickly battered halibut with hand-cut fries—are the city's best.
The Liquor Store
3341 SE Belmont St., 503-754-7782, theliquorstorepdx.com.
Happy-hour regulars at this Belmont Street bar and club are drawn in for enlightened takes on bar-food staples, while the nightly invasion of dressed-to-impress concertgoers depends more on the venue's top-shelf sound system and eclectic booking. Many places sell liquor, after all, but leisure is only available for rent.
927 SE Morrison St., 503-231-1606, sassysbar.com. Lunch-late night daily.
Sassy's is one of the few strip bars in Portland where everything is good: The dancers are pro, the steak is decent, and the beer is tasty and cheap.
3326 SE Belmont St., hereafterpdx.com.
This is one of Portland's best vegan cocktail bars. Outside, the patio boasts fire pits and a projector screen for Blazers games. Inside, you'll find a Star Trek fan reading at the bar next to girls in leather leggings who spilled over from the Liquor Store's sweaty DJ night.
2036 SE Belmont St., 503-477-8953, belmontcollective.com.
Belmont Collective is decidedly lo-fi and takes the collectivist spirit seriously—it doesn't mark the growers, which come from all over. But if you ask about the high-CBD strain called Earl Blumenauer, the staff will show you a black-and-white photo of the garden. If you want to try some premium nano-batch flower, the shop sells many strains by the half-gram for $7.50.
F.H. Steinbart Co.
234 SE 12th Ave., 503-232-8793, fhsteinbart.com.
F.H. Steinbart is as much a historical landmark as a great inner-Southeast homebrew shop. Founded in 1918, Steinbart is fairly professionalized, supplying some of the top homebrewers in the state. Home to the famous Oregon Brew Crew, it hosts myriad homebrew events throughout the year.
4320 SE Belmont St., 503-234-4363, moviemadnessvideo.com.
Movie Madness might be the last great video store and museum of Hollywood memorabilia, a qualifier that belies the fact that it's long been one of the best video stores in the world. From indie rarities to out-of-print VHS horror, if you can watch it, it's here.
3300 SE Belmont St., 503-235-0078.
"A person's place for things" has something for almost any hard-to-shop-for person, whether they're into old antique typewriters, handcrafted jewelry, or just a nice card by a local artist. The boutique also smells really, really good thanks to sharing its space with St. Cupcake. Call it comfort shopping.
Grand Central Bowl
808 SE Morrison St., 503-236-2695, thegrandcentralbowl.com. Lunch-late night daily.
The heyday of eating shitty bar snacks while taking shots of well liquor in a seedy bowling alley is over, but Grand Central offers up a nice alternative with a jazzed-up menu of fancy kung pao and $13 burgers, cocktails, shiny new lanes and a great game room.
Lone Fir Cemetery
Southeast 26th Avenue between Stark and Morrison streets, 503-797-1709.
Lone Fir allows you to walk among the tombstones while taking in the city's history. Take tours from the Friends of Lone Fir, who guide history buffs between graves of dignitaries and abused immigrant workers. Those tours get haunted around Halloween, a rite of passage for the season.
Pips & Bounce
833 SE Belmont St., 503-928-4664, pipsandbounce.com.
You know what your average not-beer pong game of pingpong needed? Beer. Or, ideally, cocktails, which P&B serves inexpensively in an industrial mini-cacophony of pingpong balls ricocheting every which way off its 10 tables ($12 a table for 30 minutes). Book ahead ($39 an hour) and skip the usually modest wait.
Avalon Theatre and Wunderland
3451 SE Belmont St., 503-238-1617, wunderlandgames.com/avalontheatre.asp.
Don't let the carnival clowns in the front windows scare you. Get past them and you're in Portland's old-school arcade, where the sub-$3 admission gets you 5-cent plays on most games. Stop in to the attached Avalon Theatre for a flick when you've blown through your nickels.
In Multiple Locations:
The Growler Guys, 816 SE 8th Ave., No. 109.
Serra, 2519 SE Belmont St.
Smokehouse Tavern, 1401 SE Morrison St.
Stumptown Coffee Roasters, 3356 SE Belmont St.
Wolf & Bear's, 113 SE 28th Ave.