Barista (Northwest 23rd)
When we were in London, I loved the feeling I got when going on adventures through the rows of centuries old buildings. They loomed overhead while the sun peaked over their rooftops. Mixed in with all of the old there was plenty of new shops and restaurants you could visit too, nestled inside or between all of the rich historical buildings. I don’t get the same exact feeling in Portland, but deja vu strikes me from time to time around where we reside. We live in a historical district in Northwest Portland called the Alphabet District. There are streets and streets of brilliant old pre-war manors, houses and apartment buildings and in between are new businesses and shops that pop up all of the time. We were so excited to walk by the once empty shop space on Northwest 23rd and Kearny and see the windows plastered with Barista ‘coming soon’ posters this last Fall. We have been patrons of their other shop locations across town and we were thrilled to know there would be one within walking distance of our apartment. In fact one of the first coffee shops we featured on Endlessly Enraptured was Barista in the Pearl District. We also visited their location Downtown, which is a few blocks from my new job! Kismet perhaps?
There are many types of coffee shops in Portland. There are trendy, sleek and spartan shops who bring in DJ’s to spin at lunch hour. There are ones that roast and sell their own small batches of beans, ones that are a combo of coffee shop/cafe/restaurant/bike shop, and there are ones that are just a tiny cart on the side of the street. Something I love about the Barista is the type of design in their shops. It’s very classic, bold and timeless all together. It reminds me of the style of shops in London. Barista is one of my favorite not only because of their classic style, but only employee experienced, quality baristas who know their craft through and through. I’m not saying anything negative about any particular coffee shops, but I know I have never been disappointed by a Barista cup.
The 23rd location being brand new and right on one of the busiest strips in the city made it very popular, very quickly. We had to bide our time in finding the right moment to go in. We had walked passed it several times since it opening over a month ago and each time it was filled up. Since we like to go in, scope out the place, take photographs and try a couple different quadrants of a shop, it was better to wait until it was a little more mellow. When the moment arose, we took our chance and were not disappointed. The inside is gorgeous and bold in its design, while keeping it simple. Their unique lighting and leather booths bring a very homey vibe to the shop. I felt very welcome and calm so I ordered something comforting: a cappuccino, a cortado and a pain au chocolat. Even though a cortado is not on their menu, nor did they have the traditional glass to serve it, my barista was willing to pull it in one of their water glasses. We first sat at the bar next to the front windows that provided plenty of light to take a few photographs and people watch outside. Then when a couple moved out of the back booth we got cozy and had the opportunity to chat. Suffice to say, on a slow day, this Barista location is my kind of place. It almost made me feel like we were back in London again…