Pairings Portland’s claim to fame is “Weirdest Wine Shop in Portland.” I have not patronized enough wine shops to firmly agree, yet still, I agree! The weirdness is undoubtedly part of its charm and so is the fact that it is totally unpretentious and uber quirky. Additionally, there is a focus on organic wines (from organic grapes) and natural wines (no added yeast).
The first time I went in was Tarot reading night. A man in a wizard hat did a simple tarot reading to address whatever question I asked. After that, he did a tarot reading to assess my mood. The three cards he selected yielded states of being and I brought them up to the counter and then it was the wine expert’s task to find me a wine that fit my mood. How fun!
Get your inner wine geek on
Another time, I joined the Basics Wine Pairing class. About twelve of us showed up. Jeff, the owner, who is a New Yorker (OK, that’s another reason I like this wine shop so much), took the time to ask us what we each wanted out of the class. There were three wines featured and we each chose one and worked with only that one for the duration of the class. It was paired in eight or so different ways, so we could experience the effect of each food and flavor element with that one wine. Jeff was caring and intentional with how he shared his insights and passion for wine. By the end of the class, we all felt like friends and Meg and her wife were planning a barbecue in the spring to have us all over and share food and wine.
What makes Pairings Portland the weirdest wine shop in Portland?
The quirky events that they host on a regular basis are a large part of what makes Pairings Portland weird, but there is more. If you fancy sitting at the table and coloring mandalas with the colored pencils and coloring books they provide, then have at it! And then there are the categories of wine that are described in handwritten signs. Like wine to match your astrological sign. Or wine that pairs with superhero personalities. Of course there are the more traditional categories like wine that pairs well with seafood or dessert. But the “Shit Too Good for the Price” and “Shit Too Good Not to Carry” really had me chuckling.
On top of all its weirdness, Pairings is very welcoming. You can sip wine and wander without feeling the high pressure to buy more. Although taking home a bottle of something special that you discovered is a wonderful way to support a local business.
Pair your wine with some primo food from the hood
The location is primo, if you hang out or are visiting the close in East side hipster hoods. Pairings Portland is located in the heart of the Kerns hood, at the corner of NE 24th and Glisan. It is right across the street from The Ocean food pod, which is home to Stoopid Burger, Uno Mas, 24th and Meatballs, and in turn Han Oak. Then, the Pie Spot, Tails and Trotters, Nomad and Providore are just down the block. A foodie playground to the max!
With the wealth of great food options available, Jeff encourages you to bring some grub over from across the street, and the friendly staff will help pair the perfect glass of wine for you.
Is Pairings Portland weird enough for you? You will have to go inside and see for yourself. Or come along on the Vibrant Kerns Hood Food Tour!
- 455 NE 24th Ave.
- Portland, OR 97232
- (541) 531 7653