Temperate Rainforest A bright spot on an otherwise gray canvas.
We’re often told that focusing on the present is the enlightened way of living. While this may be true, I’m a staunch believer that retreating briefly into a fantasy can be both delightful and healthy. I hope that in reading these pages you’ll enjoy a fleeting moment of escape.
Where to Find Things Sailorâ€™s Grog
The Treasure Map
Gentlemen in the Garden
Paintings of Paradise
Sailorâ€™s Grog Building on a tradition of escapism, mythical recipes and flaming pineapples.
From the top, clockwise: velvet murals adorn the wall of the intimate Chieftainâ€™s Hut; a flaming Boo Loo; every nook of Hale Pele is committed to a tropical oasis. All photos by Ben Johnson.
The ever-present glowy haze. Photo by Ben Johnson.
Location: Hale Pele
I spoke with Hale Pele bartender Sierra Kirk about tiki history and culture. Elizabeth Stone Brown: How did you first get involved with tiki culture? Sierra Kirk: I have always been attracted to things that are on the fringe and things that are festive and theatrical. I think it’s part of growing up in New Orleans. I love bartending and cocktails and Tiki is an interesting subsector of the craft cocktail movement. What’s not to like? You’ve got the really elaborate and interesting cocktails, the super bright-eyed enthusiasts, and then the people who don’t know what’s going on and they come in and they are just blown away. ESB: Tiki drinks have the reputation of being super sweet and not of the highest quality. How are Hale Pele and other tiki bars trying to change that? SK: There is a whole craft-cocktail revival situation, and this is just a subsector of that. We use all fresh juices, we make all of our syrups, and we want all the drinks to be balanced. Despite all the bells and whistles, at the end of the day, we want to make a great cocktail. The decor is just a bonus! ESB: Many of the drinks that HP offers are based off original tiki recipes. Are there certain drinks that the team has totally reinvented? SK: Everything new is drawn from the past inspiring us or new products that we come across. We have drinks on the menu that we have created and classics that we have modernized. Sometimes we have to use different varieties of rums and syrups, so there are definitely some adjustments made for what is available. Over 90% of our drinks are based on classics. ESB: Are there any new drinks that have really stuck and were added to the menu? SK: The Sailor’s Grog is one of our original recipes. We also have a rotating seasonal specials menu that
is a mix of classics and new offerings. For example, I did Tiki Kon this year and The Secret of the Lost Lagoon was one of the drink specials. That’s been on since Tiki Kon. ESB: There’s a lot of debate around original tiki drink recipes and who should get credit for them. SK: Yeah, absolutely. Some of them definitely have very distinct provenance. You can say, “Okay, well this drink was invented here.” I believe the main one that is debated about is the Mai Tai. The recipe we use is Trader Vic’s, and it’s our common belief that he developed the drink. There’s a ton of debate, but there is just really no way to know. It’s one of those issues that’s been debated forever. ESB: Do people actually get heated about it? SK: I have never seen it at the bar, but you’ll definitely see it online. People theorizing and discussing who came up with which recipe originally. ESB: Your work is a place for your customers to escape. Where do you go to escape during the winter months? SK: I’m from the South. I’m from Pensacola, Florida, originally, and I grew up in Louisiana and New Orleans. New Orleans is just a place that people permanently escape to, and I fully embrace that. That’s one of the main attractions of Hale Pele.Personally, I love the gloom of the winter months. Since my husband and I have moved here, we have discovered a lot of cool things to do in the winter. We like to go to Astoria when it’s super stormy and stay at the Commodore. We go to Lake Quinault usually twice every winter. We love to go to Mount Rainier and go snowshoeing up at Paradise when there’s nobody around. So we do these things; they’re not necessarily tropical per se, but they are definitely our fun winter traditions.
From the top: the cozy Chieftainâ€™s Hut; the Blue Hawaii, a luminescent vodka-based drink. Photos by Will Malzahn.
Location: Hale Pele
Angel Food & Fun
Pambiche Ate-Oh-Ate The Rum Club
The Treasure Map If Hale Pele isn’t enough...
Angel Food & Fun doesn’t pull any punches; pull up a seat in this unassuming and low-key establishment for a bite of the best Yucatecan food in Portland.
The Alibi is half tiki lounge and half karaoke bar. You may be able to enjoy a temporary escape in a dark corner with a tropical drink, but odds are the sound of drunken, frenetic wailers will eventually bring you back to reality.
5135 NE 60th Ave
4024 N Interstate Ave
Pambiche serves delicious, traditional Cuban fare in a bright, upbeat environment. Their desserts alone make it worth the trip. 2811 NE Glisan St
Ate-Oh-Ate sees the guys behind Laurelhurst Market serving up solid Hawaiian fare in a casual environment. Their excellent happy hour includes Hawaiian shave ice, Spam musubi tempura and quite a few island cocktails. 2454 E Burnside St
Portland Mercado is the first public Latino market in Portland. Between the bar, the indoor market and a slew of food carts, it’s not hard to find something delicious. Try any of the salsas available at Kaah Market or the piping hot pupusas at 5 Volcanes.
Tiki connoisseurs know of Trader Vic’s as one of the pioneers of the movement. Much has changed since the opening of the original location in 1951, but the decor has stayed true. 1203 NW Glisan St
The Rum Club’s atmosphere is decidedly less tropical, but a large rum selection and extensive list of mixed drinks involving pineapple, passion fruit, cane syrup or Cachaça will satisfy any tropical cravings. 720 SE Sandy Blvd
7238 SE Foster Rd
A Sanctuary Tucked away in the lush hills of Washington Park, the Oregon Zoo hosts a variety of creatures. Ben Johnson documents these animals and their synthetic habitats.
While often overlooked for bolder attractions, the Aviary is a lush sanctuary saturated with tropical plants and the birds that nest among them.
Location: Oregon Zoo
At a certain moment in time, artificial water features glisten from brief rays of sun.
Location: Oregon Zoo
Gentlemen in the Garden Photography: Will Malzahn Art Direction + Style: Anna Greer and Elizabeth Stone Brown
Coat: Assembly New York; pants: I Love Ugly; shoes: G-Star RAW Portland.
Top and bottoms: Brady Lange.
Left shirt: vintage; right shirt: Brady Lange.
Left model: shirt: Topman; pants: I Love Ugly; shoes: G-Star RAW Portland. Right model: sweatshirt: ASOS; pants: ASOS; shoes: G-Star RAW Portland.
G-Star RAW Portland 1132 SW Stark St, #104 Portland, OR 97205
Rather than suffer through some lonely Dickensian winter in bed, get up and get out to these Portland dance nights, where the tropical beats match the balmy temperatures. Words by Mitch Lillie
Global Bass Tropitaal Crossing the Tropic of Cancer in the 18th century, British sailors would be ducked—plunged into the sea three times—and shaved as a rite of passage. They were setting out to colonize and plunder many of the world’s warm and wonderful zones, places like India, Jamaica and Nigeria. You won’t get ducked or shaved at dj Anjali and the Incredible Kid’s dance monthly Tropitaal, but you might get dipped, swirled or jacked—dance is the currency here, and has been for years. On New Year’s Eve of the new millennium—a solid five years before the swaggering superstar Diplo began dropping his jet-setting mixtapes—Gitanjali Hursh and Stephen Strausbaugh trademarked their bhangra style, northern India’s driving fusion of folk and pop. Mixed in was global bass, a catchall genre for whatever makes local dancehalls around the world tick. The duo took the decks together and the night spread a tropical dance virus, spawning the South Asian–focused Andaz party in 2002 and eventually Tropitaal in 2013. Tropitaal spawned from Strausbaugh’s longstanding passion for Latin American dance
Location: The Goodfoot
music, pulsing, off-kilter styles like reggaeton, tribal guarachero and funk carioca, which eventually spread into Hursh crates. If these genres sound, well, foreign to you, fret not: the duo has fifteen years of experience moving feet on dancefloors to obscure rhythms. A recent visit featured a sample of a woman wailing in Spanish over a beat so far removed from rush-hour pop radio you’d have called your mechanic. But that didn’t stop the multitude of dancers from getting down, in whatever way they know how. In fact, some of them may have taken cues from the DJ, quite literally: Hursh teaches bhangra and Bollywood dance courses every week. Amazingly, Tropitaal and Hursh’s dance classes are just two ways they spread the warm love around Portland: They also host shows on KBOO and XRAY FM, orchestrate the Bollywood Horror Halloween celebration, now in its 13th year, and continue to promote the bhangra-specific Andaz. Above it all, Hursh and Strausbaugh’s newest and greatest creation, Tropitaal, is reliably raucous no matter what time of year.
That page: The entire bar becomes a dance floor at Tropitaal; this page: dj Anjali working the crowd. All photos by Anna Greer.
Amid the din of Chinatown’s hip-hop and house music is the sound of Mexico, especially bassbeefed versions of cumbia folk music. Originating in Colombia, cumbia has traveled Latin America and picked up a bit from each locality, transforming into a global and extremely popular genre—at least south of the border. DJs Michael Bruce and Coast2C—aka Sofía Acosta—are trying to change that in Portland by bringing warmth to the spaces between Portland’s busiest clubs. At the Rose Bar and Valentines—the shadowy bars Gran Ritmos usually hosts in—there is little to do but dance and that’s exactly how they like it. And while the venue may change as Gran Ritmos seeks higher aims, these Mexico City–vetted DJs will continue to bring the heat.
Though there may be no label more Portlandsounding than Bed of Roses, that crew, including Gumar and DJ Daniela Karina, is responsible for keeping Portland warm through the winter with a little tropical fruitiness. Their weird debut was in the middle of January in 2014 along inner NE Alberta. There’s nothing particularly tropical about the music, which ranges from techno to house to R&B, but the theme is all flowery shirts and flamingoes: Hawaiian ham and cheese, with the talent to back it up. Featuring appearances from man-boy band IBQT, Chanticleer Trü of neo-soul band Magic Mouth and a host of DJs from the likes of Dropping Gems and Mood Hut, Club Tropicana stays weird and wonderful all year long.
WHAT’S A ZINE? /'zēn/ZEEN: An independently published booklet, usually reproduced via photocopier and folded and stapled. Zines represent a rebellion from mainstream publishing. Portland has one of the strongest zine scenes because of its progressive spirit and DIY ethos.
WHAT’S A PORTLAND? Portland is a friendly city filled with interesting, creative people who made this zine just for you. It’s a place for anyone who likes anything: From craft beer to homemade bitters, dormant volcanoes to 500+ food carts, Portland has it all.
CHECK OUT OTHER TITLES IN THE PORTLAND ZINES SERIES! Zines in this series include Get Out, Portland Pizza Guide, 34 Things to Do in the Rain, Stand Here and Look Up, Riding in the Rain, An Octicorn’s Guide to Portland, Maximum Portland, P is for Portland, Portland People: A User’s Guide to Life and Style and more.
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