I've been spending a fair bit of time at 12th & Hawthorne recently: Somewhat-new bar the High Dive has become my new go-to for drinks after comedy shows at Helium, thanks to super nice bartenders, plenty of seats, and good cocktails (except for the one that features Fireball Whiskey; that one tastes like bad candy). The bar lacks a kitchen, so—LOOPHOLE!—patrons are allowed to bring in food from Cartopia next door. This is a nice feature. They've got some decent, conversation-piece art on the walls, too: a show called "Infamous Portland" features portraits of notable Portlanders including Bill Walton, Tonya Harding, and Tom Peterson. (Tom Peterson is not dead, in case you were wondering. He does have Parkinson's, and he and Gloria live in Happy Valley. I know this because... conversation-piece art.)
Just across Hawthorne on 12th, cart-turned-restaurant Lardo opened a storefront a couple weeks ago, and MAN does it highlight how much the previous owners—Johnny B's Diner—were not trying very hard to make money. The patio's been packed every time I've been by recently; a new, giant patio is pretty irresistible this time of year, as the High Dive has also discovered. Here's Lardo's sandwich-based menu, including cocktails. I'm sure at some point I will get sick of Portland's fancy-sandwich trend, but—wait, no, that's a crazy sentence. Sandwiches are forever.