Here is an abbrieviated version of our "must-see" attractions for Portland. If you are interested in buying the full Monk List for this city please CONTACT US for more information about our customized MONK POCKET GUIDE to this featured city. Enjoy!

301 SE Morrison Street

Ask a savvy stranger, "what’s the most happening late night place to eat in Portland?", and he or she will unequivocally answer, “Montage.” And that it is (mainly for lack of competition). On your first visit you will love it. It is set in a moody somewhat industrial locale that looks forlorn in a 40’s film noir way (which is a trite analogy, since as Gus Vant Sant well documents, this whole rainy town looks noirish most of the time). The scene inside Montage is in complete contrast to the empty and almost quiet street scene outside. You definitely feel like you are entering an oasis, a hidden club of hipsters. But because it’s Portland, because the town is fundamentally nice and egalitarian, there’s no bullshit attitude. Everyone is welcome to the party. And, let me tell you, every weekend night it feels like a party. The reasons are many--the space is large, the ceilings are high, the food prices are cheap, the clientele are mostly under 30, and many are tied into the burgeoning music scene. It’s on the second and third visits that the drawbacks of Montage become apparent. First, the menu never changes. And unless you like SPICY Southern/Cajun cuisine (minus some of the better New Orleans-style dishes), you are going to get bored with this food real fast. Secondly, the waiters regularly shout out orders of oyster shooters. At first this adds to the loud festive beer hall atmosphere, but on repeat visits it actually comes across as not only disturbing, but pretentious (a defect that always sticks out like a large facial birthmark in this occasionally dorky metropolis). Third, it’s dirty. The dark lighting covers up this fact, but an inspection of the kitchen, the floor, the cooks, the tables, the waiters will lead you to confirm our conclusion. Hey, there’s nothing wrong with “grunge”--it literally comes from Portland (as Kurt Cobain said in his seminal Monk Magazine interview), we’re just no longer willing to eat amidst it. Besides, we preferred the original and much more intimate Bistro Montage, where you could get Mac and Cheese for an astonishing $1.50, and where the non-descript thrown-together quality of the place made it feel like somebody’s storefront apartment. Still, Montage makes our list, because for late night dining, there is literally nothing this happening in the entire Northwest.

Lobby of the Candy Basket
1924 NE 181st Ave.

Over 2700 pounds of melted chocolate cascade down a sculpted marble and bronze structure. We found it a bit grotesque (Willie Wonka this is not), but beguiling nonetheless. Designed by Marc Accuardi of Old Town Pizza, and engineered by Dale Fuhr, this muddy waterfall felt more industrial than magical. Though in the way it artfully splatters against the marble wall on its 21-foot dark descent, one could call it rather abstract expressionist.

Near the NE corner of 5th and Washington

Officially known as "Kvinneakt," and unleashed to the world in 1977 by sculptor Norman Taylor, this is the best-looking girl in Portland. Her stunning eyes and voluptuous figure will tell you that. It's not surprising--given that "the cult of the stripper" seems to rule here--she is flashing us. What is surprising is that the U.S. Department of Transportation funded the project. Mention that next time you're arrested traveling nude on Tri-Met. Factoids: 1. this is the sculpture former Mayor Bud Clark exposed himself to for the "Expose Yourself to Art" poster several years back. 2. The bronze elk, just up from 4th and Main, ranks a close second in terms of aesthetic appeal, reflecting, like a lot of Portland public art, the literal nature of the area. 3. Portland is the only city in the U.S. with a flasher statue.

Corner of N.E. 85th and Sandy Blvd

The National Sanctuary of Our Sorrowful Mother. Father Cornelius Monlux and Right Reverend McMickle escorted us to what is probably the true spiritual highlight of Portland. From the actual grotto featuring a white marble replica of Michelangelo’s Pieta, to the wooded Sanctuary on top, this is a beautiful place to find peace, repose and maybe some action from one of the Servite monastics. Be sure you take the elevator to the top, where you can walk the stations of the cross, then look out to Mt. Saint Helens from the brown comfy chairs in The Marilyn Moyer Meditation Room, where you can drop water balloons on the congregation celebrating mass in the grotto below.

1624 NW Glisan

Former longshoreman's meeting hall turned into a McMenamin cinema-pub. When it first opened the men’s room had 15 urinals and 12 stalls, and the women’s room had one toilet. That was quickly rectified, though the original light fixtures from the longshoremen days remain. Movies are a buck. You can buy pizza, popcorn and other food in lobby. And the big kicker--Beer! In any other city, the combination of booze and cinema would be a recipe for riot. In laid back Portland, it works fine. Not surprisingly, the concept is being duplicated all over town. As in the McMenamin's Bagdad Theater and Pub (3710 SE Hawthorne Blvd. 503-230-0895), a restored Moorish wonder in Near Southeast. It's the Hollywood Theatre’s twin cousin, with the same concept, same ownership as Mission Pub but in a far more ornate setting. Every other row of seats has been stripped away allowing for plenty of leg room and a place to set your pizza and beer. The program consists of second run features and the occasional indie or art house flick. Given the South East crowd, there's plenty of interactivity between floor and the silver screen.

701 SW 10th Ave

A Portland institution, and without question the great book-related success story in this town, with its astounding selection (over 1 million volumes--soon to expand again), world-class author series (The Monks have read here), and funky downscale charm. It says a lot about Portland that the place one is most likely to run into a friend or compelling member of the opposite sex is perusing the aisles at Powell's.

707 SE 12th Ave.

A very clever coffeehouse, featuring mystery tables, classical music (a welcome departure), innovative beverage and dessert names (try a cup of Cafe Borgia with a slice of Dancing Wu Li Cake) and an “underwater” bathroom shrine to the late Erik Satie. Set in an out-of-the-way mansion on a residential block, Rimsky prides itself on no promotion and no advertising, and the steady crowds during its rather limited hours (6-12 weeknights, 6-1 weekends) indicates the strategy is working. However, beware the snooty help, which borders on snide.


You want fun? This, folks, is fun. In fact, it’s owned and operated by the Universal Church O’ Fun, home of the Tunnel People. Their motto-- “eat, fuck, tunnel.” Let the good-natured Pastor Barron lead you through his backyard Amusement Park, featuring The Stupefying Double-wide Stairway to the Upthere™, the vaunted Mystery Hedge (for Passing of the Water rites) and, of course, The “World Famous” Woodstock Mystery Hole™, where “the more you dig, the more tunnel you find.” The delightful Pastor Barron is squarely in the Northwest tradition of friendly goofballs. And the Woodstock Mystery Hole is without question the greatest underground landmark in all of Portland. On his magical mystery hole tour Barron leads you down into a big dark well, pointing out strange “scientific” phenomenon along the way--including the fact that as we descend, the ladder gets smaller. Deep down inside, as one is filled with the Enchanting Vapors of Encouragement™, the gentle Pastor intones that “the hole was always here, I just had to remove the dirt”--a patently obvious truism that still has the ring of genius. Inscribed on the walls in strange hieroglyphics is the hidden history of P-Town: the story of Tom Peterson, the truth about Tonya Harding, even the preordained arrival of The Monks. The gospel (or “hot dogma”) of this church is Fun (“Have Fun, Make Fun, Be Fun”). The whimsical Pastor, who moonlights as a popular substitute teacher, has even written a booklet entitled The Way of Fun, which he offers free to all who enter his sanctuary. But The Universal Church O’ Fun is by no means a mockery of organized religion. As Barron carefully notes, “when I was young and foolish, I made fun of religion, and I realized that that’s not right at all. So I decided to make a religion of fun. I was looking for a force that would unite people, instead of being divisive. It seemed to me that fun is that unifying force.” Amen. As The Way of Fun explains, “Before you can even begin to understand the blessings of Fun, you must have some.”

Stark’s Vacuum Cleaner Sales and Service
107 NE Grand, Portland

This one-of-a-kind museum inside a vacuum cleaner store showcases 86 rare suction devices including the Electro-Sweep, Cinderella, and The Haley’s Comet, which comes with a little jingle under its lid--“The Age of Space, the Rocket Race, push-button leisure day. Be the first to clean your jet-set home the Haley’s comet way."

Front and Taylor

24-inch Mill Ends Park sits on the median strip at Front Avenue and Taylor Street. It got its start as a hole for a utility pole, but local journalist Dick Fagan got tired of seeing the empty hole below his office window and planted flowers in it instead. It is the alleged home to leprechaun Patrick O’Toole and the site of many weddings.