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The Fair-Haired Dumbbell building in the Central Eastside neighborhood.

A guide to local favorites in the Central Eastside

The Fair-Haired Dumbbell building in the Central Eastside neighborhood.
  • By Jon Shadel
  • Photos by Leah Nash
Central Eastside
Portland, Ore.
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Portland’s DIY spirit comes to life in the industrial Central Eastside, a warehouse district where a new generation of craftspeople work in reclaimed ateliers and street artists color walls with murals. Grab a bike or set out on foot to explore this gritty artisan corridor, which encompasses small-batch distilleries, coffee roasters, a printing studio and designer-focused shops. The streetcar can take you across the Willamette River from downtown.

Meet Jon Shadel

JD Shadel is an independent writer and editor, who covers culture, travel, technology and LGBTQ+ life. Originally from Maryland and based in Portland, Oregon since 2013, Shadel frequently travels to report stories for national and niche media outlets. Wherever they go, they always bring a can of Old Bay Seasoning.

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Central Eastside

Cup & Bar
In a city dense with specialty cafes and chocolatiers, it makes sense that Trailhead Coffee and Ranger Chocolate would join forces to open Portland’s first tasting room dedicated to both. Here, you can pair a drinking-chocolate flight with single-origin espresso.
Cup & Bar, 118 N.E. Martin Luther King Jr. Blvd. Portland, Ore. 97232
11:11 Supply
At the east edge of the Burnside Bridge, a kaleidoscopic mural by Taiwanese American artist James Jean covers the exterior of the Fair-Haired Dumbbell building. Inside, you’ll find an equally unusual stationery store dedicated to the psychology of creativity.
11:11 Supply, 33 N.E. Martin Luther King Jr. Blvd. Portland, Ore. 97232
Distillery Row
Take a self-guided tour of a half-dozen distilleries — from New Deal’s vodkas to Vinn’s rice-based spirits — clustered in the Central Eastside. The proximity of the tasting rooms makes it easy to explore on foot without the need for a designated driver.
Distillery Row, 900 S.E. Salmon St. Portland, Ore. 97214
Independent Publishers Resource Center
Find your inner Sylvia Beach at this two-decade-old hub for self-publishing and independent literature. Visitors can attend readings and mingle with fellow zinesters at screen-printing, letterpress and risograph workshops.
Independent Publishers Resource Center, 318 S.E. Main St. No. 175. Portland, Ore. 97214
Coava Public Brew Bar & Roastery
What began as a dream in a barista’s garage now ranks among the top coffee purveyors in America. Stop by this industrial space for a complimentary cupping of their single-origin roasts.
Coava Public Brew Bar & Roastery, 1015 S.E. Main St. Portland, Ore. 97214
This beloved Tokyo ramen chain chose a warehouse in the Central Eastside for its first noodle shop outside Japan. The reason, supposedly, is Oregon’s soft water — perfect for the citrusy yuzu-shio broth, the house style.
Afuri, 923 S.E. Seventh Ave. Portland, Ore. 97214
Lovecraft Bar
If you’ve always dreamed of dancing to darkwave in a haunted house, then line up outside this queer-friendly goth bar, where Halloween is the mood every night. Named in honor of H.P. Lovecraft, the venue pays homage to macabre themes in pop culture.
Lovecraft Bar, 421 S.E. Grand Ave. Portland, Ore. 97214
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Jon Shadel
A blue-crab-loving Marylander, Jon packed a suitcase full of Old Bay Seasoning and began reporting from Portland’s many cafes in 2013. Turns out, the Pacific Northwest’s signature Dungeness crab tastes great with Old Bay, too.
Leah Nash
Leah is an editorial and commercial contributing photographer for The Washington Post based in Portland, Ore., and half of the photo duo <a href="">NashCO Photo</a>. She is darn proud to be from a place that is known for its parks, bridges, bike paths, liberal attitudes and eco-friendly vibes. Plus, you’ve got to cheer for any town that claims to have some of the most coffee shops, microbreweries and strip clubs per capita in the United States.