Portland’s Chinatown isn’t an area that I visit very often. Last week I went on a random stroll to the waterfront and ended up in Chinatown and ran into the new Society Café and Lounge which is part of the new Society Hotel. It’s located on 3rd Ave in Chinatown, a few blocks away from the Chinese Garden and the Waterfront. Before the building was transformed into a hotel, this historic building was named the Mariners Building. It was built in 1881 and was a place for sailors to stay to help keep them away from bad influences as they docked in Portland, and by the 60’s and 70’s the building became a gathering place for the Chinese community. A few years ago I remember walking past this building when it was painted a pastel pink and mint green with palm trees on the outside -and of course I loved it. It was upsetting to see such a beautiful architectural building not being used, so when I found out they turned it into a hotel, while still using the original facade, I was ecstatic.
Because it was a Sunday afternoon the cafe was calm and mellow. If the cafe were busy, finding a place to sit wouldn’t be a big deal because there’s a great amount of seating with couches, booths and tables. The tables are small and intimate, only seating two people. The small tables might not be appealing to those with laptops and huge textbooks, but they’re perfect for a quick morning coffee with a friend. Overall, the total ambiance of the space was very Portland. Everything is new and modern, but you still get a touch of hipster with old school sophistication. It’s definitely going to be my new favorite place.
Other than the interior, I have to say that this place has the best matcha latte! It’s really hard to find really good matcha in Portland and I’m happy to say that I finally found my go-to place for it. I hope you stop by the really gorgeous space for a great cup of coffee and some quality time with friends! Hopefully my next visit is an overnight one in one of those rooms!
The Society Hotel
203 NW 3rd Ave, Portland, OR 97209