At first glance, the shops lining Portland's Southeast Hawthorne Boulevard conjure up many a Fred Armisen and Carrie Brownstein sketch from 'Portlandia': Independent, eclectic, and proud of it. The reality, however, is less polarizing. While still emanating PDX's easily lampooned eclecticism, Hawthorne (as the greater neighborhood around the boulevard is called) is inviting and appropriately whimsical – not the elitist hipster breeding ground portrayed in the media. In spots, the neighborhood overflows with unique stores, mostly of the vintage variety. Scouring them all would take days, but these five – plus a historic theater and a can't-miss barbershop – embody the diversity and good taste at the heart of the neighborhood.
With 12 locations in the metro area, Bishops Barbershop has exploded since opening in 2001. Visit its original Hawthorne store and it's easy to see why. Aesthetically, the shop is heritage Portland chic: Dark, weathered wood finishing contrasts with bright, modern lighting. Customers get free beer, and appointments aren't necessary. In fact, the shop only allows for walk-ins. "It's a marriage of a high-end salon and a more casual barbershop environment," says Holly Johnson, the chain's manager of operations. Bishops succeeds at being both edgy and welcoming, not the alienating, ironic trendiness that typifies much of the city.
Credit: Christopher Onstott