• Photo by Aaron Lee


The Woodsman Tavern never has a line, fools! "But... but..." you think, "I've been there for dinner, and of course it does!" Try getting your ass out of bed by 9:30 am on a weekend and stroll on down there. NO FREAKING LINE! Plus, their weekend brunch is scrum-diddly-umptious, carefully curated, and made all the better with excellent morning cocktails. The staff are unerringly attractive and consummate professionals, while the bar and surrounding booths and tables are soothing to all your morning troubles. Maybe I shouldn't be telling anyone this, but this place is a morning treasure, and delicious to boot. COURTNEY FERGUSON

The Woodsman Tavern, 4537 SE Division, woodsmantavern.com


True, there are tons of underrated carts in this city (lucky us), but if you're looking for top-notch Asian food, the new and so-far unsung Asian Station is hard to beat. The former proprietors of Eugene's very popular Drum Rong Thai cart, mama Aoo and daughter Fair moved to Portland a couple of months ago to find their fortune in our bustling food cart community. In a city teeming with "meh" Thai and Vietnamese food, Asian Station (unrelated to the SW 10th and Alder cart that closed) ups the bar with steaming hot, fresh-off-the-fire standards. Their Bangkok curry bowl ($6) features crispy strips of fried chicken that perfectly meld with Asian veggies and coconut milk, and while the pad thai ($5) is a touch sweet for my taste, it's still head-and-shoulders above the dry offerings I've had around town. Don't miss their yummy cashew stir fry ($6), and especially don't miss their exquisitely sauced pad see ew ($5), which is the best I've had in quite a while—cart or brick 'n' mortar. And the prices? Just as delicious. WM. STEVEN HUMPHREY

Asian Station, SW 2nd & Oak, Mon-Sat 11 am-6 pm


Mayor Charlie Hales' famously teensy staff means everyone in the office does a lot of work. But that's been especially true for longtime aide Josh Alpert. Alpert, for a spell last year, was Hales' liaison to all of the city's bureaus. And now he's a valued fixer—diving into subjects that are spread across bureau lines (like homelessness)—with a new title to match: director of strategic initiatives.

Alpert was a major part of the Right 2 Dream Too deal. He's working on short-term rental rules. He's advising on the street fee. He advised on West Hayden Island. He's also loved throughout city hall ("MVP" is tossed about)—even by those who've been occasionally displeased with Hales' approach to certain issues. Alpert says the praise is "humbling," but explains: "The key to this job is building strong relationships. While we may disagree on the direction or outcome of a particular issue, issues come and go." DENIS C. THERIAULT

Josh Alpert, Portland City Hall, Mayor Charlie Hales' director of strategic initiatives

  • Photo by Adam Wickham


If you've never been to Roe—Trent Pierce's dilly of a seafood restaurant tucked in the back of Block & Tackle—stop reading and book a table right now. Seriously. The food at Roe is exquisite; two prix fixe menus (either four courses, or the chef's tasting menu) are built around whatever's at the market. The cooking is exciting, inventive, and technically adventurous. Though you wouldn't know it from the low profile he keeps, Pierce is one of the best chefs in town. The wine pairings are also imaginative, the service refined and smooth. In all, it does what the best dining experiences should do: leave you feeling a little bit transformed. MJ SKEGG

Roe, 3113 SE Division, roe-pdx.com


Metropolis Cycle Repair doesn't have the unending selection of some of this city's bicycle warehouses, or the bargain-basement prices of a used-part clearinghouse. But it also doesn't have the impersonal, disinterested feel that too often marks the bike shop experience in Portland. Metropolis is a small shop, with a small staff who'll have your name down by the third visit or so, and who are more than happy to listen to you chatter inanely about biking (I do this all the time). Repairs are (generally) quick and fairly priced, advice is expert, and it's right on a major bike thoroughfare. DIRK VANDERHART

Metropolis Cycle Repair, 2249 N Williams, metropoliscycles.com

  • Photo by Aaron Lee


Chop Butchery & Charcuterie changed the way I feel about Italian meats, man. Raised on poor examples of colliding crap—over-salted salami bumping against wilting ham on a hard baguette—I never felt an Italian sandwich was worth my time, dollar, or heartburn. Then I met the Italian Stallion, a smoky, savory pile of house-made ham, salami, and mortadella on a hoagie with a good dose of peppers, mayo, lettuce, and all the right stuff for $8. This baby is my go-to pity-party and/or life-celebration sandwich. The porchetta sammie, served on Fridays and Saturdays, is also terribly delicious. And, unlike other sandwich shops where even asking for a different kind of mustard is verboten, Chop also lets you build your own, no questions asked. That's class. ANDREA DAMEWOODi

Chop Butchery & Charcuterie, 735 NW 21st (inside City Market), chopbutchery.com

  • Photo by Aaron Lee


Oh sure, Portland's got some great dive bars, full of fun 'n' friendly dirtbags and the people who love them (waves at the Know and B-Side). But the Watertrough Saloon goes above and beyond in its divine dive-iness. It's old school... to the max. With zero frills, zero windows, and zero edible food, this den of alcohol has seemingly been in existence since the term "key party" entered the American lexicon. Throughout the long drinking day, a steady parade of pickled geezers, Barmuda Triangle wanderers, and neighborhood folks enter the wood-paneled bar that time forgot—no wonder, with the Watertrough's cheap drinks, cozy cave-like confines, bar games a'plenty, and friendly barstaff. This is a quintessential dive bar in a time when true dives are scarce west of 82nd. CF

Watertrough Saloon, 4815 SE Hawthorne


1856 is the best place to buy well-priced, interesting, and varied wines. I'd leave it at that, because that sums it up, but the editor says he wants more words. So... the wine guy, Adam, is super helpful and knowledgeable; he has a rotating list, and there's always something new to try, but Adam's also good at finding bargains of better-known stuff. There's a small, convivial bar, a smaller patio in the sun, six or so wines by the glass. No corkage fee if you want to open anything on the shelf. What else? There's usually a dog or two around, they have a fantastic beer selection, and you can bring your own vinyl to play. MJS

1856, 1465 NE Prescott, beerwinecider.tumblr.com


Sure, it's as easy as pumpkin pie these days to dash across the border and score a lid of weed [Fact-checking department: a "lid"? Is that what the kids are calling it these days?—Steve] in Vancouver, Washington. But what if your only mode of transportation is one of those idiotic tall bikes? Potheads don't know how to use the bus! And while you might come home with a nickel bag [Is that the correct term?—Steve] of Vancouver jazz tobacco [??—Steve], you could just as easily return with a stubborn case of genital warts! That's why smart druggies in the know still choose Portland's most underrated drug distribution system: a metal tin scrawled with the words, "Hey there's a whole buntch of dope in here." Often located on top of a trash bin on the corner of SW 3rd and Ash, this is Portland's sneakiest method of dealing danky ganja nuggets [I have no idea what I'm talking about. Fix this, please!—Steve]. Simply open the top, take out all the marijuana you need, and deposit your money inside. Apparently it works on the "honor system." The beauty of this "Hey there's a whole buntch of dope in here" tin is that the fuzz [This is street code for "policemen," I'm somewhat certain.—Steve] think it's a big joke... like, no one would ever be stupid enough to actually do it! Yeah, these pusher men [Fact check this term, please.—Steve] are stupid, all right. Stupid like a FOX! WSH

"Hey there's a whole buntch of dope in here" tin, occasionally located at SW 3rd & Ash


While Portland's craft-beer scene is nothing if not robust, traditional German-style beers are few and far between—even Widmer takes some healthy licenses with their ubiquitous version of the Bavarian hefeweizen. Luckily, we've got the truly outstanding Occidental Brewing to make fresh, note-perfect iterations of the best German styles. Their hefe and kölsch are crisp, supple, and splendid, and their seasonal dunkelweizen is filled with gentle clove and caramel apple notes; it's simply the best in the style you'll find outside of the import aisle, not to mention infinitely fresher. When you see an Occidental tap handle behind the bar, you know there's no point in ordering anything else. NED LANNAMANN

Occidental Brewing, 6635 N Baltimore, occidentalbrewing.com

  • Photo by Adam Wickham


Corporate mall hovels like GameStop are dead-set on sucking dry your wallet and your soul—but hidden away in deep Southeast Portland, sharing a parking lot with an all-but-forgotten 7-Eleven, is the fantastic Video Game Wizards. An indie shop that stocks everything—from the latest titles for Xbox and PlayStation, to Dreamcast discs needing a good home, to well-loved cartridges that'll make you run home and plug in your dusty old NES or Genesis—Video Game Wizards' selection is vast, their prices are cheap, and their staff is super friendly. And if you ever feel like putting down the controller, they have shelves and shelves of used DVDs and Blu-rays. ERIK HENRIKSEN

Video Game Wizards, 9712 SE Foster, facebook.com/vgworegon

  • Photo by Adam Wickham


From phone-talkers to stroller brigades, finding a Portland coffee shop where you can just sit down, caffeinate, and work is becoming increasingly difficult. But at the bright, welcoming Oui Presse, it's easy: You've got your standard coffee offerings, true, but you've also got fantastic soups and snacks—all fresh and baked in the kitchen right behind the counter—with the coffee cake, chocolate chip cookies, and PB&J being particular highlights. Oui also offers a fantastic selection of new magazines, which means you're only a New Yorker away from leaning back and procrastinating all that stupid work. EH

Oui Presse, 1740 SE Hawthorne, oui-presse.com


There's a lot of noise about Portland boutiques because there's a lot to make noise about. But one place that (intentionally?) slides right under the hype radar? Odessa. It precedes many of the Frances Mays and Yo Vintages of the city, but even if you're clued in, you won't hear much from Odessa about their rotating collections of Isabel Marant, Pamela Love, and Sofie D'Hoore—in other words, some of the best lines in the world. Other than an Instagram account (half of which is about cats, not that I'm complaining) and a rarely updated website, the only ways to hear about Odessa are word-of-mouth or stumbling in. Let it never be forgotten! MARJORIE SKINNER

Odessa, 410 SW 13th, odessaportland.com

  • Photo by Aaron Lee


There's no mayo, no cream cheese, and nothing deep-fried on chef Yuki Yamada's menu at Daruma, and that's just the way it should be. This 25-seat Tokyo-style counter draws its fair share of crowds. Wait times can be long, but it's worth it to watch Yamada run a big-ass knife through a fresh salmon—there's no better way to work up an appetite for nigiri. On a recent visit, a raw scallop tinged with ponzu sauce practically melted in my mouth, while fresh sea eel over rice went from salty, to sweet, then back to salty in two chews. Save your hunger for after 9 pm if you can, and order the omakase menu, which gives the chef free rein to play the hits. AD

Daruma, 3520 NE 42nd, darumapdx.com


You probably don't know his name, but Dan Halsted is one of the major reasons the Hollywood Theatre has gone from being "that place on Sandy" to being one of the country's best—and best-loved—movie theaters. As head programmer at the nonprofit theater, Halsted books many of the Hollywood's unique and popular screenings, featuring everything from edgy first-run releases to ancient, 35mm kung fu flicks. "I try to always look at programming from an audience's perspective," Halsted says. "What I, as a cinephile—with a wider variety of tastes than a lot of people might think—would love to see onscreen." As the Hollywood's wide-ranging offerings attest, Halsted's tastes frequently align with Portlanders'—and, at other times, help shape them. "We have so many great theaters in town, but I really try to fill voids that other venues aren't filling," Halsted says. "Movies that are overlooked, forgotten, haven't played in a long time, or wouldn't get a chance to screen at all." EH

Hollywood Theatre, 4122 NE Sandy, hollywoodtheatre.org


Powell's gets all the credit, and Reading Frenzy gets all the street cred—but let's not forget about the many other bookstores that make up Portland's literary ecosystem, including gems like Annie Bloom's, Broadway Books, Mother Foucault's, and the adorable Green Bean Books (for the kiddos). We particularly like Bingo Used Books, which boasts upward of 75,000 books onsite (with that many again available online). The store's a browser's paradise—it has everything, including cool old hardcovers and great nonfiction and reference sections—but it's less ideal if you're looking for anything specific, since the shelves are organized by section but not necessarily by author. Bonus points for having one of the best sections ever: "Religion, Philosophy, Metaphysics, and Horses." ALISON HALLETT

Bingo Used Books, 3366 SE Powell, bingousedbooks.com


There are a lot of places in Portland one can injure one's head: low-hanging tree branches, walking underneath street signs while texting, bicycling on E Burnside during rush hour... but one of the most underrated places to incur head trauma—especially for children—is the much-beloved Keller Fountain Park. Inspired by the many waterfalls that line the Columbia River Gorge, Keller Fountain holds 75,000 gallons of water that tumble off of a series of square platforms—specifically designed to stop idiots from falling too far. However (in my opinion, and I have absolutely ZERO data to back this up) it's a terrific place for already partially brain-dead kids to finish the job while frolicking in the water and cracking their noggins on one of its many hard steel corners. (Just try to keep your blood out of the water, okay? It's gross.) WSH

Keller Fountain Park, SW 3rd and Clay; OHSU Head Trauma Unit, 3181 SW Sam Jackson Park

  • Photo by Katie Summer


IKEA?? Really? While it may be true that having the money to buy a brand-new couch anywhere else seems as likely as a vacation home in Bora Bora, Portland's too full of gorgeous spots like Alder & Co. to mindlessly march toward a big-box monolith every time you hear the words "throw pillow." Stacked with wondrously selected small goods for the home like linens, dishware, cleaning tools, candles, paper goods, and books sourced from around the world, Alder exemplifies the power of a well-chosen detail to elevate a room. (Even if some of the larger items in said room came in a Swedish cardboard box.) MS

Alder & Co., 616 SW 12th, alderandcoshop.com

  • Photo by Katie Summer


Good music comes from the underground. And while you can find world-class touring acts and hot buzz bands in the town's chicest clubs, you'll need to find the raw, the ripe, the unwashed (and sometimes the unready) at the Firkin Tavern, which, while not literally underground, is a terrific neighborhood bar with great beer and totally decent dirt-cheap pizza. The Firkin's steadily gained a rep as the place to see Portland's up-and-comers before the hipsterati gets wind of 'em—and without a cover charge to boot! The only trouble is that neighbors have just inflicted a truly regrettable 10 pm curfew on the place, an absolute travesty in a city that prides itself on culture. So go early, rock out, and pray those asshole neighbors either go deaf or get their priorities straight. NL

Firkin Tavern, 1937 SE 11th, thefirkintavern.com


In point of fact they're hardly underrated—Hand2Mouth Theatre has been creating challenging, innovative original work in Portland for well over a decade now, and anyone who pays attention to the local theater scene knows it. But we're singling them out here because they inspire us: It's hard as hell to sustain creative relationships over the long term, particularly when those relationships require the sort of high-wire risk-taking that is Hand2Mouth's bread and butter. They make work on their own terms, and that's worth applauding. AH

Hand2Mouth Theatre, 210 SE Madison, hand2mouththeatre.org

  • Photo by Aaron Lee


Most weekend mornings, I cook for myself. But if I'm too hungover to get it together, it's off to the Cameo Coffee Shop. There may be a small coop with chickens out front, but there is no farm-to-table preciousness in this pink dining room, packed with tchotchkes and photos (spotted on a recent visit: a snap of disgraced former Oregon Congressman David Wu alongside a headshot of a bygone Miss Oregon USA). We're talking legit diner flapjacks, crispy hash browns, and griddled bacon. But what seals the deal for me are the sassy Korean ladies who own the place. They put kimchee bulgogi omelets, mung bean pancakes, and spicy seafood soups onto that breakfast menu—and that spice and umami are just the right flavors to bust me out of any post-party fog. AD

Cameo Coffee Shop, 8111 NE Sandy

  • Photo by Adam Wickham


St. Johns, at the very tip of North Portland, is changing something fierce. Twee cafés have spread into the working-class blocks outside Lombard, next to stalwart dive bars. But it still has the Willamette lapping at its shores, and that means you can still get away from it all—and maybe ponder a time when things were simpler. Down a small road from the Portway Tavern, trails lead quietly to riverbanks, railroad tracks, blackberry bushes, and the withered bones of an old creosote concern. Picnic at your leisure. But don't dip even a toe into the water. It's not called the St. Johns Superfund site for nothing. DCT

St. Johns Superfund site, follow the path from the corner of N Willamette & Edgewater


I've tried shoe repair places all over the city, from storied one-man operations to boutique-y spots that took weeks to deliver. I ended up at Lloyd Center's Shoe Stop one day because they were the only place open on a Sunday, and I've never gone anywhere else since. Owner Joel Starr (whose son Kurt works with him) got his start repairing shoes in the '80s, and has always followed the "instant" philosophy of shoe repair. When I ask why other places take so long, he guesses it's something to do with tradition, but admits he doesn't know since, "It doesn't take that long!" The work is solid, the pricing reasonable, and the speed amazing. I usually bring in six or eight pairs at a time, and guess what he says: "Is four o'clock okay?" MS

Shoe Stop, 1007 Lloyd Center

  • Photo by Adam Wickham


Okay, so Bart's Barber Shop isn't technically an underdog. It's got stellar Yelp reviews and earned a nod as one of the country's best "classic" barbershops from Men's Journal. Still, the tiny, old-school shop's failure to land a top spot in this year's survey suggests Portlanders may be swayed by the theatrics of some slick chains. Don't be distracted. The eponymous Bart—that's Bart Garmon—claims his SE Morrison storefront is the longest continually operating barber space in the city. You won't get a beer in the chair (though you might win a raffled guitar), but you'll be more than sated by friendly conversation, a painstaking expert cut, and the complete absence of artifice. (Call ahead. They can fill up.) DVH

Bart's Barber Shop, 518 SE Morrison, 233-8603

  • Photo by Katie Summer


It was one of Bon Appétit's best new restaurants a few years ago, but has Luce been forgotten or fallen out of fashion? Maybe the lust for unfussy, high-quality cooking was just a fad? The food is almost unbelievably straightforward (but then, most real Italian food is)—and at Luce it's about execution and quality of ingredients, which they've totally mastered. The bread, pickled veg, house-made pasta, caramelized meats, and grilled fish are all simply prepared, but taste stupidly good. What else do you want: affordability? A cute dining room? An all-Italian wine list? A lack of hipster vibe? They've got it covered. MJS

Luce, 2140 E Burnside, luceportland.com


You've ridden by this treasure dozens of times without registering it. That ends today. It's not much to look at, but if you're pedaling west on N Ainsworth near Peninsula Park, there'll be a driveway off to your right that's so choice for the casual jump enthusiast. This driveway gives way to the curb not in the straight, matter-of-fact manner of most. Instead, it swoops up gracefully, exultantly, a miniature launch ramp to add some sweet altitude to your stolid commute. Hit it right, and you can pop over a bed of succulents and correct in time to avoid the tall wooden fence. Hit it wrong, and you're killing succulents and/or injuring yourself. Bike jumps are awesome; not easy. (Also: This is someone's home. Don't mess it up.) DVH

N Ainsworth, east of Peninsula Park


The Eolian Empire label went undercover for a few years, but the heavy music collective has awoken from its slumber, and it's been roaring in its rebirth ever since. Resurrected by Josh Hughes and Seth Montfort of the band Rabbits, who took the reins from Under Mountains' Daniel Abell, Eolian's been ground zero for Portland's recent explosion of heavy music, redefining metal, punk, psych, noise, and progressive rock with a series of records that aren't easily categorized. If you like it local, loud, and lumberingly heavy, Eolian Empire has something that'll expand your mind, then crush your skull. NL

Eolian Empire, eolianempire.com

  • Photo by Adam Wickham


Indulging a morning coffee addiction on a budget usually means walking into Safeway and settling for cheap, sour, acidic grounds like your grandmother might have brewed because she didn't know better. (Or, shiver, sucking it up and paying up to $12 a pound for burnt Starbucks beans. Yuck.) Thank the caffeine gods, then, for Affogato, a tiny little gelato shop. Yes, Affogato makes some delicious gelato. But I pilgrimage weekly for something else: marvelous pounds of coffee beans curated and roasted by Equator Coffee Co., a roaster out of Eugene. Milder and chocolaty Latin American beans share shelf space with fruity, piquant African beans, and each sack is only $9. Sometimes they'll have fresh blueberry muffins for sale, made with duck eggs from a neighborhood farm. And in the summer, they're open until 11 pm. DCT

Affogato, 8712 N Lombard


Okay, maybe it wasn't designed by a fancy engineer like the St. Johns Bridge, and it's not beautiful and elegant like the new Tilikum Crossing, and probably no one has any tattoos of it, but you know what? The goddamn Burnside Bridge gets the job done. Does it move cars from one side of the river to the other? Yes, it does—and it's pleasant to walk and bike across, too, albeit occasionally covered in poop of questionable provenance. There's a sidewalk and a bike lane—I'm looking at you, Hawthorne Bridge; I don't like you. And I have never once worried that I'm going to get raped and murdered while climbing its stairs (hello, east side of the Morrison Bridge). It's just a solid, stalwart, gets-'er-done bridge, and we salute it. AH

Burnside Bridge, you know where it fucking is

  • Photo by Aaron Lee


Cassidy Jewelry has a ton of things going for it. The charming Hawthorne shop sells earrings, necklaces, and rings that are beautiful, storied, and most delightfully... very affordable. And they've added a small, cute collection of clothes. But the best shop feature? The store dog! This beast of a lovebug is named Sancho and the rescued blue-nose pitbull stands guard over the valuable jewels... okay, actually he does a lot of sleeping near his owner Sarah Sellin-Eiler, the proprietor of this delightful store. Sancho is kinda like a (pit)bull in a china shop, but 10 times as adorable. Go to Cassidy for the wearable lovelies, stay to pet this gentle giant. If you're lucky maybe Sancho's gal pal, people-lover Bailey, also will be there to greet you! CF

Shop dog Sancho, Cassidy Jewelry, 3562 SE Hawthorne, cassidypdx.com