Jason Lytle doesn't live here anymore. The Grandaddy frontman moved from Montana to Portland in 2013, landing in the Cully neighborhood. But after three years, he decided to do reverse the tide of northward migration and move back to where he made his name in the indie rock scene: Modesto, Calif.
While he was here, Lytle preferred—like a lot of Portlanders—to keep his favorite bars, shops and outdoor haunts a secret, in hopes that the rest of the population would never find them. But now that he's gone, hey, what the hell?
"One might notice all of these places exist mostly in the Northeast. I was a bit of a homebody while I was here," he says. "But while I wasn't working on my album, or traveling, or hiding out, these were some of the places I enjoyed."
Fantastic synth shop on Mississippi that is fully "hands on" and brimming with so many synths and sound-makers and gadgetry. Almost overwhelming, but very cool.
I'm not much of a shopper, but I really like this store. I would have no problem spending a $500 gift certificate in short time. Store items and subject matter are all right up my alley.
So many good Vietnamese places on Sandy, but this place made my favorite pho—usually with a Corona just to help fix my head, and because Mexican beer with pho is wrong.
I was happy to have this as my local bike shop and stoked to have befriended one of the owners, Kirk Bernhardt, who is the maestro mechanic of the shop and matches my grumpiness and healthy-but-broken sense of humor pretty well.
Khunamokwst Skate Park
Nearly impossible to pronounce, but so fun to ride. I've dedicated a better part of 40 years of my life to skateboarding and am heading into the twilight years, but skate spots like this are my favorite—small, flowing, weird and low-key.
As far as "dark bars with an accepting vibe and a beckoning warm blanket of liquid calming agent" go, I could only hope I end up somewhere someday that has a bar similar to the Spare Room. I won't abuse it. But I'll be relieved to know it's there.
Cape Horn Trail (Wash.)
I could get to the trailhead from my house in 24 minutes. It's a 6.5-mile loop that somehow packs in incredible views of the Gorge, a massive waterfall, a very impressive boulder field, a quiet country lane, lots of elevation gain and loss, and almost no people if you go on a weekday before noon. I used to refrain from telling anyone about it, because it was my favorite trail running area and I don't like to see people when I'm out on a trail. Well, I'm gone now, so have at it!