A customer since the ’80s notes fewer hippies nowadays at SE 12th Avenue’s Rimsky-Korsakoffee House, but not much else has changed. A relic of Portland’s coffee culture before the Starbucks-on-every-corner era (Coffee Time and the under-new-ownership Anna Bannanas in Northwest also survive, with AB’s original spirit living on in St. Johns), Rimsky’s still charts its own course: a 7 p.m. opening time, cash or check only, and not a laptop in sight. Only a fool would ask for a Wi-Fi password. Instead, ask for a Berries Godunov and the Ambiguity tea, and continue your conversation in the shadows while you take in the music. Don’t miss the bathroom.
At similar throwback the Pied Cow, in a SE Belmont Victorian, Hogwarts miscreants on first dates share “foofy” coffee drinks and fondue by a candlelit stairway shrine or outside with a hookah.
Both Rimsky’s and Pied Cow feel like they should be crawling with cats; one newer café actually is. At Purrington’s Cat Lounge, customers are reminded not to disturb the resident felines if they’re sleeping, and never to feed them human food. You won’t want to share your tea latte and deviled eggs, anyway, but you will want to finish them quickly to maximize kitty playtime. (Check the website for prices, age policies, and reservations.)