Welcome to the inaugural Spirit of Place. For my first “episode” I’m taking you to one my favorite places. No, it’s not Powell’s, but is on my list of places to go. I’m taking you to one of my favorite eating and drinking establishments in North Portland, The Hop & Vine.
The day I came here was a typical rainy Portland afternoon. My plans for the day had fallen through and I wanted to go somewhere to write. I got to thinking about this project and wondered what the spirits here would be like, if they would talk and what stories they would tell. So, I pointed my car to North Portland for a bite to eat and a glass of wine and a conversation.
The spirits at The Hop & Vine aren’t very forthcoming with information or making their presence known. Typically spirits in “haunted” places are usually a bit more forceful and insist on letting me know they are there and whether they like me or not. The spirits at Hop & Vine, however, are a lot like the clientele: laid back, relaxed and passionate about their libations, and are slow to open up.
I connected the spirits after my first glass of wine and lunch. I can’t do anything when my blood sugar is low and I didn’t want to go into the place with my metaphysical guns blazing. I never do that anyway, but you get the point. The spirits here made me work to connect with them as I sent my feelers into the dark corners of the bar. When I finally connected and proved I wasn’t there to exploit or kick them out, I told them I was there to hear their stories and just talk.
Their presence is felt more at night when the windows are steamy and people can’t feel them moving through the building. They are attracted to the building by the energy from the spa next door and come to The Hop & Vine for the ambiance. Having worked in a spa briefly, I can tell you spirits are attracted to the healing energies.
This is their story: We are the people of the land. The people who lived here before you did. We are the people who worked and tilled the soil and died here making Portland what is today. We like the energy here and we like to sit at the bar and trick the bartender dears into making drinks no one ordered. We are the working class, the blue collars and we enjoy the bar for its music, ambiance and tattoos. We stay in the back in the employee only area in the morning and early afternoon and come out at night. Sometimes we sit in the patio area when it’s sunny.
Are you first natives? No, we are the settlers of Portland. The dockworkers, the mill workers, the people who needed to relax and decompress after work. This is where we came to be with our working families. We don’t like it when people are constantly on their phones, and if you notice, the people here don’t do that. Bring your friends, eat, relax and boast. Use this place like your working class neighborhood bar but with a better tap list and better food. Unpretentious. That is what we are and that is what we try to make this place.
Come here to hatch plans and write and be creative but don’t take up too much space. This is not your personal office, it is a place for you and your friends and the people you love. We are the protectors of this business and this building and want to keep it prosperous for as long as we can. Thank you for talking to us. Not many can see/hear/or feel us and we are glad you took the time to seek us out. Come back often and hatch more plans.
I wrote this piece and let it sit for a few weeks and recently returned to Hop & Vine for date night with my husband. We sat outside in the back and I said hello to the spirits. While we were there, I looked around and noticed, that except for the guy who brought his laptop into the bar to show pictures to his friends, no one was on their phones. People talked, laughed, ate and enjoyed each others company without posting pictures of their food and drinks on Facebook. I encourage you to come here for a date night or after work drink with people you want to laugh and talk to and leave your phones in the car. The spirits will thank you.
Do you have a place you want me to go? Drop me a line in the comments I’ll see what I can do.