The pride of Southeast Portland is a gigantic volcano that towers over the town ready to blow at any moment. No, that's not right. Mt. Tabor Park is a sprawling nature space for sports, hiking and just kind of sitting and watching the sunset, clandestine beer in hand. But while the park is the focal point and takes up most of the space, there's also a neighborhood rife with great restaurants, intimate bars and winding streets dotted with old homes that looks so far removed from Portland, you'd swear you took a left turn into a small mountain town.
Coquine, 6839 SE Belmont St.
Sapphire Hotel, 5008 SE Hawthorne Blvd.
Portland Nursery and Garden Center, 5050 SE Stark St.
Taborspace, 5441 SE Belmont St.
Mt. Tabor Park
Southeast 60th Avenue and Salmon Street.
The eastside's answer to Washington Park is a big-ass volcanic cinder cone that has acres of hiking and biking trails, tennis courts, two reservoirs, a playground, horseshoe pits and one of the best dog parks in the city. More importantly, there's simply no better vantage point in Portland with panoramic views of the downtown skyline and West Hills.
6031 SE Belmont St., 503-222-6014, cheese-bar.com. Lunch-late night Tuesday-Sunday.
Sometimes, a bar is exactly what its name implies—200-plus cheeses, cut to order, and a great selection of beer, cider and wine. You can take it with you, but we recommend sitting in and talking with the fromage-obsessed staff. $.
6839 SE Belmont St., 503-384-2483, coquinepdx.com. Dinner Wednesday-Sunday,
breakfast and lunch daily.
High up in the tree-canopied, winding streets of Tabor, this bistro may as well be up in the French countryside near where chef Katy Millard learned to cook from Michelin-starred chefs. The dinner menu is a tour of light flavors that ranges far from French fare, and a heartening number of the appetizers are inexpensive, encouraging sampling. $$-$$$.
Stark Street Station
6049 SE Stark St. 503-805-2835. Breakfast-early evening daily.
This little shop on the hill is your standard-issue cafe (with booze), but the pie might be the best-kept secret in Southeast Portland. Huge slices of strawberry-rhubarb and handmade pot pies (specifically) continue to fly under the radar. Hey, more pie for us! $.
5051 SE Hawthorne Blvd., 971-279-5530, taborbread.com. Breakfast-early dinner Tuesday-Sunday.
Using house-milled local grains, this bakery and cafe is relatively new, but it seems like those loaves and pastries are the stuff of a lifetime of tutelage at a wood-fired hearth. Sunday sourdough pizza night is well worth discovering. $.
Caldera Public House
6031 SE Stark St., 503-233-8242, calderapublichouse.com.
Caldera is a true public house of the most English order: lamp-lit, dark, and packing couches and antique books amid lampshades that make it seem like you're drinking in some sophisto's parlor rather than a house at the corner of a harrowing intersection. Must be the encyclopedias.
5008 SE Division St., 503-546-9973, northbarpdx.com.
Lorded over by a brightly lit plastic deer, North has become the de facto local bar for the growing South Tabor sprawl, a place where Monday night trivia is fueled by $1 Hamm's and house-infused cocktails. Sometimes, the best theme for a bar in an increasingly complicated culture is "bar."
5008 SE Hawthorne Blvd., 503-232-6333, thesapphirehotel.com.
One of the neighborhood's best date spots—deep-red walls, peacock feathers, candles, and a mantra of "eat drink kiss" will do that—Sapphire's Prohibition-era cocktails are mixed with goodness like the scotch-sherry-coconut Parekeet Petey, which tastes like a scotchy tiki drink. Get some bacon-wrapped dates. Get a nice cocktail. Get some bread pudding, Then, for God's sake, get laid.
5325 E Burnside St., 503-208-3544, tabortavern.com.
Tabor Tavern filled a need in the area for a middle-ground pub, residing between bistro and gastropub thanks to surprisingly delicious Brit-style fish and chips and a great selection of beer.
6000 SE Stark St., 503-235-5610, sequelapparel.com. Closed Sunday.
Sequel is the best kind of resale shop because none of its stuff actually looks used. Men's and women's clothing is in top-notch shape, from shoes and jewelry to jeans that have that worn look that can only come from, you know, wearing them.
Mt. Tabor Art Walk
mttaborartwalk.com. Every May.
Portland is an artist's hub, and nature is a pretty solid inspiration. So when the artists residing on Mount Tabor open their homes for the annual art walk, you're not just getting a glimpse of handmade jewelry, mosaics, paintings and photography. You're doubling down and getting a tour of the area's magnificent old houses.
5441 SE Belmont St., 503-238-3904, taborspace.org.
Inside of a century-old former Presbyterian church lies a beautiful event and community space that functions as part sanctuary for study, meditation, and peace and quiet, and part ultra-affordable work, wedding and group meeting venue. Taborspace has even thrown in a cafe—inside a stained-glass-illuminated bell tower, naturally— for good measure.
In multiple locations:
Mi Mero Mole, 5026 SE Division St.