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Any rudimentary search of “LGBTQ cities” in the U.S. will yield several results naming Portland as one of the friendliest, most progressive, and thriving destinations for would-be residents and visitors. The last decade delivered a renaissance in top-notch restaurants, cannabis, art and music, booze, and national attention—all occurring, in no small part, due to the many contributions of queer-identifying Oregonians working in every corner of the region's creative, civic, and corporate industries. This guide highlights some of the wonderful places you can catch a bite, find resources, or succumb to the senses while supporting queer entrepreneurs, establishments, and employees. Celebrate Pride Month and experience all the colors our Rose City has to offer with this guide at your fingertips.... more
The Alberta Street Pub is always populated with a consistent mix of queer and queer-adjacent folk who love good booze, food, and music, although not always in that order of priority. Reading through the "Commitment" statement on their website and the testimonies of gushing local supporters (including one from the Executive Director of the Q Center), it'd be easy to think you'd visited the landing page of a community nonprofit. But nope, at the end of the day, Alberta Street Pub is just that: a bar with a diverse roster of bands, DJ's, singer-songwriters, and a great patio.
Founded in the mid-1980s as a community-based resource, CAP has maintained and strengthened its reputation over the last three decades as a trusted provider of social services to those affected by the HIV epidemic in Oregon and Southwest Washington. From assistance in securing housing, employment services, or peer and culturally-specific support, the team at Cascade AIDS Project are dedicated to empowering all those who seek compassionate care.
The first thing you need to do is open Instagram and follow @cheeseandcrack (if you aren't already) for joyfully curated content, Dolly Parton fandom, and updates on their rotating specials of soft serve sundaes and ice cream cones. The second thing you need to do is prioritize a visit to this snack shop in SE PDX, where you can enjoy sammies and cheesy pastas, or one of their deceptively simple 'plates' of cured meats, baked breads and crackers, and a variety of cheeses, served with all the accompaniments one wants next to such items. Drinks options are also plentiful.
With a flagship store located in Portland, Citizen Ruth is a national retail brand that promotes the work of over 250 female, queer, and marginalized artists and makers from all over the world. Their website is a digital museum to the burgeoning field of camp-kitsch aesthetique products (see: endless varieties of RBG inspired tchotchkes) to fill those bachelorette party favor bags, exchange at Secret Santa office parties, or add to your endless collection of cheeky coffee mugs.
Unwind from this weary world and join your ever-expanding circle of acquaintances who swear by the restorative potential of isolation tanks. Float North is a proudly queer-owned practice in sensory deprivation treatment and self care, offering a combination of massage, float, and SomaWave modalities for those who find themselves "physically, mentally, and/or emotionally overloaded."
Get everything you need to "do weed" right at Jayne - the chic dispensary of both recreational and medical marijuana on NE MLK. Jayne prides itself on superior customer service and comfortable surroundings, as well as fighting stigma against cannabis use. The dispensary also puts its profits to work in the community at such organizations as Bradley Angle House, CAP, Sisters of the Road, and Transitions Project.
Nightingale is the thoughtful collaboration of chef Luna Contreras and bartender Chris Mateja, located in NE Portland and serving up seasonal Mexican street fare with delicious libations and friendly service. Luna identifies herself as a "proud transgender, BIPOC womxn," and a proud advocate for equality and human rights. Combined with her co-owner Chris, the two are modeling professionalism, ethics, and warm hospitality of a certain caliber desperately needed amidst the industry's local landscape.
Prism Health is the healthcare providing arm of Cascade AIDS Project, specializing in gender-affirming care for trans patients, primary care and behavioral health for LGBTQ+ individuals, HIV/STI testing via their Pivot walk-in clinic, and access to PrEP treatment. Their goal is to offer "comprehensive, compassionate and culturally affirming healthcare for everyone with the aim of addressing long-standing health disparities in the LGBTQ+ community."
Santé Bar wants to keep the imbibing queers of PDX classy, crafty, and cozy. This female and POC-owned cocktail bar is more intimate than some of its bigger, phallocentric peer establishments in the neighborhood; providing another Northwest watering hole for the city's clientele, their allies, and those who are downright thirsty. Casual atmosphere with drinks and small plates, live music, queer open mic nights, and show tune sing-alongs.
There's a reason XLB started off hot and never really let up: soft pillows of their namesake steamed dumpling, Xiao Long Bao, filled with homemade broth and aromatics, and no shortage of other equally delicious Chinese comfort food from the menu. With two locations (Williams and Slabtown), this restaurant's recipe has accrued a popular following of foodies, passers-by and the passing-through, families and locals. Testimony that good food, thoughtfully prepared, and served simply will always be a hit.