I was a little bummed when Red Cap—the queer bar across the street from the Ace/Clyde Common—went out of business, and I didn't blink an eye when Aura slipped permanently into my well of unconsciousness. Now that both are gone, it's been officially revealed (-ish) what will be taking its place: Union Way is set to be a compound of shopping, eating and drinking that will either certify the West End of downtown's crushing dominance or be the breaking point at which it becomes clear that this city can't support our own grand ambition. Either way, this description is pretty exciting:
Portland calls for a new kind of shopping experience. Its climate and culture lead us to an urban indoor/outdoor space for eating, drinking, and shopping. Union Way finds its origins in the streets and alleyways of Europe, Asia, and the Middle East, and serves as a counterpoint to the typical urban retail block or the suburban festival marketplace. The public promenade draws people through the building, which is bookended by Powell’s Books, a major retail destination and The Ace Hotel, an iconic contemporary hotel. Union Way houses a collection of carefully curated shops and restaurants providing an authentic and unique shopping experience while adding energy and momentum to the West End neighborhood. Since the Alley is a private walkway through the block, new types of ways to eat, drink and shop will emerge and end in an exciting symbiosis between merchants and their customers.
The photos published in the Daily Journal of Commerce help paint a picture of what the finalized space will look like and at least one of the restaurants involved, Micah Camden's Boxer Ramen, has been confirmed. As for retail, the unconfirmed rumor has it that Steven Alan is coming to town, but I'll believe it when I see it (or when they respond to my emails, which they so far have not). Another clue: Steven Alan is one of only 11 things that Union Way "likes" on Facebook. Yep. If that indicates what I think it does you might also want to keep an eye on Bridgeport vegan restaurant Morso and San Francisco clothing store Self Edge, since everything else on their "like" list already exists in the surrounding neighborhood.
- That indoor fleamarket feeling.