No one can understand the truth until he drinks of coffee's frothy goodness.
~Sheik Abd-al-Kadir

Tuesday, April 19, 2011

Old School Portland For the Win: Anna Bannana's

Anna Bannana’s Northwest

Location: 1214 Northwest 21st Avenue, Portland

Weekdays 6am – 9pm, Weekends 8am – 9pm.

Review: There are few coffee shops that I care more deeply about. Anna’s has been a favorite for many years (ZOMG! 15 years or so!), and is an example of the Portland I grew up in. It’s comfy but I still get work done, it’s intellectual without being pretentious, it’s quirky without getting caught up in its own shtick. There’s a basement room that reminds me of the dark underworld nooks that I we used to overtake as a crowd and play crazy board games into the night in my high school years. The upstairs has a great mix of tables and soft couches or chairs for your own perfect study mix. There’s a smoke free front porch for those who like the daystar, and there’s a covered smoking area out back for those who enjoy those old days of coffee and cigarettes. In the back room, make sure to look up and notice the flying pigs on the ceiling. And don’t forget to try their famous drink: a mix of espresso and chai you can request by saying “Doot da doo me.” Come and support this local favorite!

Wifi: You betcha.

Web page:

Price Range: $-$$

Bean: Café Del Arte

Leaf: Tao of Tea

Food: Soup, pastries and bagels, overstuffed sandwiches brimming with spinachy goodness, and my personal favorite for warm weather: an açai smoothie served with granola. YUMMO.

Vegan/Vegetarian: LOTS of drink options, soy, rice, hemp… you name it. For a snack there are some solid options… my favorite is a bagel with chipotle hummus, spinach and tomato.

Beer/wine: Nope. Just caffeine!

Music: Excellent selection, chosen by the barista. Music I’ve heard here often is jazz, gogol bordello, Brazilian music, massive attack… all sorts of interesting stuff.

Art: Rotating shows of local art. Often surreal or with an urban edge. Currently dark oil abstract paintings in rich earth tones.

Crowd: Intellectual, alternative, a fair amount of writers. As the night gets later the crowd gets younger, and takes over the basement room.

Kid friendly: You could bring your kids, but there’s no real play space. Instead this is more of an adult friendly spot to get some serious work done, or some serious goofing off done, depending on what you’re up for.

Extras: If you are a twitter fan, follow one of Anna’s longstanding (and devilishly handsome) baristas, Ike, for updates on his excellent music choices and a secret word of the day that will get you 10% off your drink and make you look like a super spy. Follow him at baristaike.

Rating: ****


  1. FYI - Anna Bannanas website

  2. You're totally right. Thanks for pointing that out!