The Central Eastside Industrial District of Portland looks pretty- well- industrial. And that’s because it is. This working area of Portland -not too far from paint stores, grain mills, train tracks and the famous Ross Island Cement Company – also offers a unique night on the town. With tucked away bars, restaurants and even salsa dancing, this little known hot spot is sure to surprise even the locals.
Start with happy hour at the Maiden in the Mist, whose motto is “Your neighborhood gathering spot on the Industrial Cuff”. Try the Baked Brie with apples, roasted garlic and a baguette or the Crispy Tempeh Strips fried in sesame oil with banana sauce. Dinner options include Seitan Kabobs-marinated, grilled and served with orzo and sautéed spinach or the Maid’s Chicken Sandwich-grilled chicken breast, mozzarella, tomato, onion & basil on Campagnola.
For an extra special treat, Thursday is Mystic Night at the Maiden where you can have your palm read or your fortune told. If you’re a skeptic, you can just sit down and have a fantastic cocktail and meal. Other evenings have fun special events too, like frequent Flamenco Nights or the series of writer events on the first Monday of each month.
After you have a clear vision of your future, head a couple blocks southwest to the corner of SE Belmont and Grand, where a tiny slice of Havana waits underground. In the basement of The Grand- a Karaoke bar- is Andrea’s Cha-Cha Club where on Thursday evenings Cubeano, a ten-piece band, plays live Cuban music. In the Cuban tradition, the band doesn’t start until ten o’clock-ish but there is Salsa music with a DJ before and after the live music. Need a little guidance before hitting the dance floor? Check into the Salsa lessons available before dancing on Thursdays, Fridays and Saturdays.
Afterward, head to nearby Le Bistro Montage located under the Morrison Bridge. Montage is a funky Cajun restaurant serving dinner until 2 a.m. weekdays and 4 a.m. on Fridays and Saturdays. If you worked up an appetite with all that dancing or singing- or even if you didn’t- you may have to try the Alligator Jambalaya (yes alligator!). Or the Frog Leg Appetizer, or possibly one of the more tame and famously humongous Macaronis. Deserts are a rich treat too, with Bananas Foster Bread Pudding, or a Chocolate Pot Du Crème.
If you stay in the Industrial District until Montage’s 4am weekend closing- which is surprisingly easy to do- you can say good morning to the delivery truck drivers on their way to start the day before you head home to sleep at last.
What & Where:
Maiden in the Mist (639 SE Morrison Street 503-232-5553)
Andre’s Cha Cha Club (832 SE Grand Ave 503- 230-1166)
Le Bistro Montage (301 SE Morrison 503-234-1324)