The chefs at Lucky Bistro cull fresh ingredients to form an extensive menu of Chinese meat, seafood, and vegetarian favorites, including 38 varieties of dim sum. Diners sink into cushy booths or circle around group tables as tabletop hot pots simmer meat and noodles in curries and other flavorful broths. They also sauté fried rice with chicken and salted fish, heat savory porridges to just-right temperatures, and gussy up tofu and eggplant with sampan and other regional spices.
Before it mutated into a weaponized haze of reality shows, MTV aired a novelty known as the music video. These bite-sized works of art, which married pop songs to striking imagery, revolutionized the entertainment industry and ushered in an era of music known as “new wave.” For the task of curating and introducing these fresh sounds and flamboyant sights to audiences, MTV even created its own version of the disc jockey—the VJ.
Though MTV has sent its stable of video jockeys out to pasture, VJ Kittyrox carries the pastel, shoulder-padded torch of Adam Curry and Nina Blackwood as she masterminds the 80s Video Dance Attack. For the last seven years, this popular shindig has united generations of Portlandians with its five-hour feast of '80s-centric sensation. Across 10-foot screens, VJ Kittyrox projects classic videos from artists such as Duran Duran and Michael Jackson as audiences of Breakfast Clubbers and Pretty in Pinkers perfect their cabbage patch, running man, and Pat Benatar shimmies. A bombastic, thumping sound system and a dazzling light show accentuate the time warp as audiences deck themselves in '80s garb and shake away memories of unsolved rubik’s cubes.
Barkeeps dispense 21 rotating drafts and pour out more than 500 microbrews and imported beers at Birra Pub, which derives its name from the Italian word for beer. Soups, salads, and hot and cold sandwiches concocted from local ingredients complement each hop- or malt-heavy libation. Amid a colorful interior of neon beer signs, arcade games, and a flat-screen television, the Pub hosts regular beer tastings where customers can win unique prizes, such as cryogenic freezing chambers that keep beers chilled for up to 100 years. In addition to brews in the eatery, visitors can bring home sudsy treats in bottles, cases, or kegs in a variety of brands and sizes.
There are plenty of windows throughout Rae’s Lakeview Lounge, but not a single one has views of the lake. That’s because there is no lake. Not anymore, anyway. The shoreline of Guild’s Lake used to run down below where Rae’s stands today, but the flood-prone area was filled in after the Lewis and Clark Exposition in 1905. Though it’s a bit of a misnomer, the lounge's name aligns with Rae’s goal for the business; though it’s newer, it can make guests feel as though it’s been there their whole lives, much like the doll you woke up to staring at you this morning.
The lounge certainly feels like it has an old soul. Inside the rehabbed 1946 building, there are vintage photos on the walls (including one of Guild’s Lake, of course) that evoke a bygone Portland. At the dark bar top, pendant lights glint off an impressive lineup of liquors; sip on a Rae's manhattan or a blackberry cosmo. The food menu has many classic, homestyle dishes— including house-recipe meatloaf and potpie du jour—but it also integrates some finer dining selections such as Dungeness crab cakes and pork tenderloin. Many entrees pair well with the wines, which includes local barrel wines on tap as well as internationals available by the bottle, half-carafe, or glass.
The bumping beats and hearty eats of Element Restaurant & Lounge act as a siren song to party-loving palates. Bring a bathing suit and dive into a drink menu boasting more than 25 inimitable mixed drinks, such as the Dragon Blush martini made from dragonberry Bacardi rum, white grape, strawberry syrup, soda, and the fang of one Hungarian Horntail ($8). Libationistas can also saddle up to the bar with the Kentucky Breakfast concoction, made from smoked peach whiskey, organic maple syrup, and apple cider ($8), or choose from a wealth of beers such as Tecate ($3), Caldera Amber ($4), and the Anderson Oatmeal Stout ($4).