Portland’s Brewery Blocks

We left the central part of Portland’s Downtown. It was still too early to search for dinner and we just had our “unhappy hour” meal. Originally, I thought we’d walk around Powell’s City of Books for a while. As we circled around the block for parking, we came across the Brewery Blocks.

The Brewery Blocks are on the southern edge of the the ever-gentrified Pearl District. It’s a five-block section of the Pearl District which used to be the Blitz-Weinhard Brewery. The stores are mostly higher-end retail such as Whole Foods Market and Anthropologie. Even though, we weren’t likely to buy anything in the stores, we still decided to explore some of these funky shops.

We did venture into Anthropologie. It always feels like an upscale Urban Outfitters when I walk into Anthropologie. We didn’t really find much in there. Two stores really got our interest, though.

West Elm is a stylish, high-quality furnishing store. There was a lot of furniture, which wasn’t exorbitantly priced, but it would still make your wallet a lot lighter. It’s a part of the Williams-Sonoma/Pottery Barn family of stores, so you’d expect a certain price tag to be attached to it. One of the displays near the entrance was how to create your own indoor garden of succulents (cactii and friends) which made for interesting perusal. My wife didn’t want to buy any since she had managed to kill an aloe vera plant in our care. Then there alphabet art scattered throughout the store. It must be the trend to decorate one’s place with one’s own initials these days. If you are looking to find your initials in as many different font styles possible, then West Elm may just be your answer.

Another store we really enjoyed (and actually bought stuff) was Storables. The Storables store is not actually part of the Brewery Blocks, but it is right across the street from one of the Blocks where you can find a Chase Bank branch. It doesn’t look like much of a store from the outside; however, we loved how it was a home organization store with everything. Most places you go into, there’s a small section of shelving and a small section of bathroom organizers and so on. It was a simple, no nonsense warehouse of home organization goodness. We bought a nice Umbra behind-the-door clothing hangar and a kitchen sink pad amongst our purchases. Wifey kept asking why we don’t have this kind of store in Vancouver as we made our way through the aisles. Good question. Hey Storables! Open a store in Vancouver, BC.

We had only put about an hour in the meter thinking it would be enough, but it wasn’t. So we went back to the car. The rain really started to pick up again and it wasn’t so fun to walk around in this weather. So we didn’t linger any more in the Brewery Blocks. However, the Brewery Blocks and the rest of the Pearl District would be a great place to explore if the weather was better.

I have one lingering question, though. Is there no longer an operating brewery in the Brewery Blocks? That’s quite a shame if that’s true. At least Portland has no shortage of microbreweries in town.

P.S. As I’m typing this, I realize I did visit the Brewery Blocks 3 years ago when I first visited Portland. We had dinner at Henry’s 12th Street Tavern. It was a great place for steak. Yum yum. We had stumbled across it when we were stranded by a streetcar going out of service.

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