Where To Read a Book in Portland After Dark

Everyone loves to read in coffee shops; a warm cup of coffee or tea and soft jazz piping through the speakers—what’s not to love? The problem is that all the coffee shops tend to close in the afternoon or early evening. When the sun goes down in the city, where’s a book lover to go?

I’ve always loved to read, but when I started the Book Publishing Program at PSU, my need-to-read pile doubled in size. Trying to find the best time and place to read all those books, articles, and manuscripts has been a bit of a challenge.

If you’re like me, sometimes being at home can be a big distraction. You start fixating on that pile of laundry that needs washing or that other pile of laundry that’s been clean for a week but has been sitting in the basket and needs to be folded. You go into the kitchen to make yourself a cup of tea or grab a beer from the fridge, and your eyes land on that pile of dishes you’ve been neglecting. Meanwhile, your significant other or roommate is sitting in the living room watching videos on TikTok or Instagram, and those irritating and repetitive songs are just drilling into your brain. So, out you go.

If you’re trying to read A People’s Guide to Publishing in Northwest Portland, order a whiskey and sit on the patio of the Pope House Bourbon Lounge. Are you downtown near PSU? Snag a pint of local beer from Rogue Hall and dive into Merchants of Culture. After it gets too dark to read in the park at Mt. Tabor in Southeast Portland, head to Bellwether Bar and grab a delicious cocktail.

When I started thinking about places to recommend in Northeast Portland, I remembered they have the best spot of all: Rose City Book Pub! I was curious as to whether the owner had the same dilemma of finding a place to read a book in Portland, so I reached out to her via email.

Elise, a self-described Book Publican, had this to say about how she ended up opening the Rose City Book Pub.

I was living in Los Angeles and wanted to find a way to come back to Portland. A friend, Matan, shared a dream he had of opening a bookstore/bar. He wasn’t in a position to actually follow through on the dream, but I realized I was, and it would be a great way to get back home. I had a few things I needed to finish in LA, so in 2015 I set the date of June 2018 to return and open the Book Pub. I grew up here in NE Portland…in Hollywood and went to elementary school just a few blocks from where the Book Pub is located. I went to college in Walla Walla, then spent a year in Seattle, and then got stuck in Los Angeles for seventeen years. When I was in LA, I was a teacher, so I spent most of my school breaks back home, which helped keep me connected to this community…I have always read in bars and cafes. I first met Matan, the man who dreamed of the Book Pub, at a local dive bar in Winnetka, CA, where I was reading Harper’s Magazine. I used to read a lot at Moon & Sixpence, where a lot of other people also read at the bar. Any cafe is a great place to read, but so many of them only keep daytime hours. I like Stacks Coffeehouse and Bitter Rose Coffee Bar….

So those are a few of my favorite spots to read in Portland after dark. Do you have any late-night spots you recommend? Share with us in the comments!

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