Portland for Lesbians

Portland Pride Festival Bike Rider
••• © Kathy Belge

Portland is said to have one of the largest concentrations of lesbians on the West Coast. So, where do the lesbians hang out and how can you find them?

In Portland, the saying, “We are Everywhere” really does apply. We live in the city and in the ‘burbs, but you’re likely to find the highest concentrations of lesbians in Southeast and Northeast Portland. Take a walk down Hawthorne Blvd and you’re likely to see two women holding hands, perhaps pushing a baby carriage. On Alberta, the women are more likely to have tattoos and bicycles than baby bottles and Subarus. Here’s a sample of places to look for your Sapphic sisters.

Lesbian Bars

Your first stop has to be the Egyptian Room at 3701 SE Division St. With a large dance floor, pool tables, two bars and a karaoke room, the E-Room is the place to be on Friday and Saturday nights.

If wine, martinis and vegetarian finger foods are more your style, the stop into Crush. The ladies like to visit on Fridays at happy hour, but this mixed bar is welcoming any day of the week.

Dingo’s, a lesbian-owned restaurant and bar is THE place to be on Thursday nights. http://www.dingosonline.com/. The margaritas and lime chicken enchiladas are not to be missed.

The newest club for party people of all genders is Holocene. The second Sunday of the month from 4-9pm is dedicated to women-loving women.

Coffee Shops

Besides lesbians, Portland is known for coffee and books. Some coffee shops where you’re likely to see lesbians:

Haven serves the best coffee in town (Stumptown) has live music and a great atmosphere.

Lesbian-owned TouchstoneCoffee House has great eats and a nice outside patio.

Three Friends (12 & SE Stark) is a big comfy place with chairs couches and excellent chai tea.

Lesbian-owned Blend, 2327 E. Burnside, is the perfect place to take a date you don’t want to be seen with yet. The basement-like atmosphere offers plenty of privacy.

Gay-owned Broadway Coffee Trader has computers for surfing the net and a great selection of teas.

Lesbian Bookstores

Everyone knows about Powell’s, but if you want to meet women check out these two places.

In Other Words is a non-profit feminist bookstore where you’ll be able to pick up the latest lesbian romance novel, Tracy Chapman CD or Dykes to Watch Out For calendar. If you’re new to town, or just want to meet women, this is a great place to volunteer.

It's My Pleasure, 3106 NE 64th, (503)280-8080 is a lesbian-owned book and sex toy shop. Rent videos, buy magazines or take a class on proper care and treatment of your dildo.


Portland is home to KBOO, one of the most progressive, diverse public radio stations in the country. Listen to 90.7 FM on Thursdays at 9 for Queer, Queer World with Jack, or the Second and Fourth Tuesdays at 6 pm for Out Loud, a locally produced news and public affairs show.

Every queer in town knows to pick up a copy of Just Out newspaper for LGBT calendar listings, restaurant, film and theater reviews, excellent articles about our community and much, much more. Just Out is published the first and third Fridays of the month and can be picked up for free in many locations around town.

Groups and Organizations

For the young at heart, there’s SMYRC, where you can play pool, ping-pong, perform a play, prepare delicious snacks, pick up a basketball or pretend you’re studying. SMYRC is a drop-in recreation center for queer and questioning youth age 23 and under.

If music is your thing the Portland Lesbian Choir, Bridges Vocal Ensemble (bridgesvocalensemble@yahoo.com) or the Rose City Gay Freedom Band might be just what you’re looking for.

For support around coming out, check out the Lesbian Community Project http://www.xprt.net/~lcp/ or for LGBT headed families there’s Love Makes a Family.

For the politically minded, Basic Rights Oregon is fighting the good fight for LGBT rights.

If you’re deaf or simply want to learn sign language, Deaf and Hearing Outreach is attempting to build community between deaf and hearing queers.

And for the over 60 set Old Lesbians Organizing for Change meets the second Wednesday of the month. (503) 286-3575.