Graduation night is a cause for celebration, and the Vanguard has taken the liberty of compiling some of the best spots around town to consider for the night of jubilation.
Time to celebrate
Dinner for eight?This town is full of great restaurants for large gatherings of graduates with their family and friends. These restaurants are well suited to accommodate large numbers of people in atmospheres that often break from the traditional pub or corner cafe.
Marrakesh1201 N.W. 21st Ave.503-248-9442$$
This traditional Moroccan restaurant features belly dancing four nights a week. To add to the authenticity of the atmosphere, guests sit on pillows on the floor. You can feel like royalty and order the Royale Feast Dinner for $19 per person, or go really traditional and splurge for Mechoui, a whole sheep cooked in a spit over a charcoal fire for $29 per person. Make sure you plan ahead, though, because the Mechoui requires three days notice and will only be prepared for eight or more people.
Delta Cafe and Bar4607 S.E. Woodstock Blvd.503-771-3101 $
The Delta Café and Bar is great for kicking back and enjoying your accomplishment. The Delta, commonly patronized by college students, is a great graduation nightspot because of its kitsch décor and its great Southern comfort food. Its authentic barbecued ribs are alone worth the trip. A variety of cocktails and 40-ounce Pabst Blue Ribbon served in a champagne bucket for two are also served in this down-to-earth Creole restaurant making it a formidable competitor on your graduation night.
The Portland City Grill111 S.W. Fifth Ave.503-450-0030$$$
The Portland City Grill is for those graduates who are ready for a night of festivities where money is not an issue. Located on the 30th floor of the U.S. Bank Tower, it has arguably one of the best views of the city. To enjoy the atmosphere without an enormous bill, you can always stop by for happy hour at 4:30 p.m. to 6:30 p.m., when the Grill’s steakhouse with Asian fusion cuisine is as low as $1.95. The restaurant usually has jazz or piano music on weekend nights, and with its large, spacious dining room, you can bring along all your family and friends.
Dinner for twoWhile some restaurants are great for a lot of people, some are far better when you want to celebrate with an intimate evening for two. These restaurants include dark corners and exquisite decor to make graduation evening a glamorous yet private affair.
Il Piatto2348 S.E. Ankeny St.503-236-4997www.ilpiattopdx.com$$
This Italian restaurant hidden within a residential neighborhood provides an antiquated setting and dark atmosphere for an intimate meal where you can share homemade desserts, like cannoli. The menu includes nicely prepared Italian fare, affordable prices and an extensive wine list. After dinner, go to the Jade Lounge next door and sip on one of their inventive cocktails like the Singapore Sling, or their own Lemoncellos, a traditional Italian cocktail.
Salty’s on the Columbia3839 N.E. Marine Drive$$
Salty’s has the best setting for a romantic evening with a loved one. Right on the Columbia River, the restaurant has a view unlike any other restaurant in town. It is a pretty swanky place, even though it might not look like it from the outside. Boasting some of the best seafood around, Salty’s has a steakhouse vibe with a little bit of highbrow mixed in. The upper level of the restaurant includes a circular bar with mood-setting overhead lighting and panoramic views of the river.
Walking to the beat of a different drummerIf standard fare is not your thing, going to a place with a distinct theme can provide for ample entertainment.
Sinferno CabaretDante’s Cafe Italiano1 S.W. Third Ave.Portland, OR 97204503-226-6630$
Tattooed, pierced, alterna-style go-go dancers with razor-sharp haircuts, fire performers, boots a mile high, and that’s just the beginning. The performers are accompanied by live music and/or DJs as they writhe around on the catwalks above the bar. If you’ve been oh-so-studious (or even if you haven’t but managed to graduate anyway), this is the place to unwind and let out your inner sinner. The performance takes place every Sunday at Dante’s.
Ground Kontrol511 N.W. Couch St.Portland, OR 97209503-796-9364$
If you’re looking for a more low-key way to celebrate being done with Portland State forever, head up to Northwest Couch Street and get a few pockets filled with change for your favorite classic games and a couple of beers. What’s sweeter than knowing you’re a college grad? Being among the newly graduated and rocking the Paperboy machine.
Tony Starlight’s Supper Club and Lounge3728 N.E. Sandy Blvd.503-517-8584www.tonystarlight.com$$
Break out your best vintage duds and polish those nails. If you’re looking for somewhere a little classy to celebrate, check out Tony Starlight’s Lounge. Velvet curtains and dim lights provide a swanky backdrop for an evening of live jazz, excellent cocktails and the rarified entertainment of Tony Starlight himself.
Just the drinks
820820 N. Russell St.Portland, OR 97255503-460-0820$$
How often do you graduate and don a funny little hat and a big black robe in your life? Probably as often as you are going to be able to justify spending $14 per cocktail. The extensive list here at 820 is absolutely worth it in this instance, and the atmosphere in this cozy little Northeast Portland bar is perfect for that “check me out in all my graduated sexiness” strut.
Green Papaya Bistro1135 S.W. Morrison St.Portland, OR 97205503-248-2112$
Located conveniently near both the streetcar and the MAX lines, Green Papaya is a great place to drag friends for celebratory shenanigans. What better way to celebrate completing your degree than drinking a Sex In Your Face shot? Green Papaya also serves up an excellent lavender martini.
The Alibi4024 N. Interstate Ave.Portland, OR 97227503-287-5335$
If you have yet to try karaoke around Portland, this is the place to start. And if you already do get your Sinatra on around town, there’s a good chance you already know this happening joint. Grab a lei, order up a mai-tai, and leave your school-year stresses at the door of this most excellent tiki bar.