Tea Bar

The Tea Bar is one of my favorite places to hang out as and is also one of the few places in Portland to get yummy matcha.  When I was in school in Corvallis, I would drive back home to Portland during my days off to study or catch up with friends, and I always made it a point to go to the Tea Bar.  I love this place so much that it is where I meet clients for freelance work. Below are a few of the many times that I've been there (checking in on Instagram is a must, obviously). 

Until a few weeks ago, the Tea Bar only had one location on NE Killingsworth, near the Alberta District. But recently they expanded and opened a new location on SE Division St., which made me the happiest person. When I found out they were opening a new space on Division I knew my visits were going to be more frequent because it was on my way to and from work. Unlike the first location, my drive to the Tea Bar on Division would only be 15 minutes instead of 25 minutes. The new location is also near some of my other favorite spots such as Salt & Straw, Petite Provence and St. Honore. Unfortunately, the company that I work for moved their office to Lake Oswego, so my trips had to wait until a free weekend came along.

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Another thing I love about the Tea Bar is their branding; it’s so simple and lets the tea and their space speak for itself. Like the first location, the space is as minimal as it can be - white walls, concrete flooring, light wood countertops, wickerwork chairs and some greenery for accents. What makes this location better than the original is that it’s much larger; it seems almost double than the original. The whole storefront is counter and bar seating with a few tables on either ends of the cafe. My favorite part of this new space is the floor to ceiling windows that exposes the whole café to those passing by. The natural light gives the space a cheerful mood.

Sometimes minimal spaces can feel cold and unwelcoming, but the Tea Bar does a great job of warming up the space with greenery. There are beautiful white flower arrangements on the countertops and little succulents on the tables that give the space life. The lightly colored tabletops and wicker chairs also help warm up the space by adding color and texture. Minimal spaces can also give a manufactured vibe, making the space feel impersonal because they tend to look so similar to each other. So in choosing wood textures for both their cafes, it gave it a special touch.

Other than the space, the Tea Bar is the best place for tea. I can only think of other place in the city with really good matcha. I love their matcha, whether it’s iced, as a latte or a milk tea. And if you’re a tea enthusiast they have a wide variety of teas ranging from greens, blacks, herbals, whites, oolongs, pu’ers and mat´es. Other than tea they also serve other types of drinks like steamers, lemonades and mimosas. This is a great place for everyone because there is so much variety!

The main reason I love the Tea Bar is that it’s an Instagram “hotspot” for creatives like bloggers and designers. The pretty drinks and minimal design of the space makes it perfect to style photos. If it weren’t for bloggers that I follow, I don’t think I would have known that this place exists because I rarely branch out from my regular hotspots. I feel like the Tea Bar has brought a lot of creatives together and with this new location the creative community will continue to grow. Also, being in a beautiful space helps influence my creativity. Everytime I visit the Tea Bar I feel at home because the environment and space matches my aesthetic so well.

So if you’re ever around the Alberta or Richmond neighborhoods I definitely recommend that you stop by and try a drink. It’s a casual place to catch up with friends and unlike coffee shops it’s not as loud, perfect for reading that book you’ve always wanted read.

teabarpdx.com | 4330 SE Division St | 1615 NE Killingsworth St

Society Cafe

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

(503) 445-0444