Invasion Atomic Cafe and Lounge

Portland bar morphs from upscale café by day to cocktail-fueled magnet for the city's gay elite by night.

By Mike Thelin July 20, 2009 Published in the August 2009 issue of Portland Monthly


Patrons partake in the sumptuous sugary selections at Invasion, cafe by day, club by night.

Nude mannequins, columns sheathed in faux fur, white leather sofas, and mismatched fixtures scattered throughout two floors make Invasion Atomic Cafe and Lounge feel more like a yard sale at Elton John’s than a downtown Portland hangout. Refreshingly out-of-place among its crunchier peers, this fashionable café is a serious coffeehouse by day—it’s one of only three Portland locales to serve Chicago’s Intelligentsia coffee. But by night, Invasion dims the lights and transforms into a cocktail-fueled magnet for the city’s gay social elite.

Invasion is the latest venture from former Clyde Common bar manager Charlie Hodge; fittingly, it offers an impressive selection of mixed drinks. Most veer toward the sugary side, like the Summer Love ($8), made of cucumber-infused vodka shaken with house-made lime juice, or the Biz Buzz ($9), an upmarket interpretation of Thai iced coffee bolstered by spiced rum, torched condensed milk, and Godiva chocolate liqueur. Food options, such as the sickly sweet quinoa cakes or the deviled eggs, are still a work in progress. Luckily, happy hour—between 3 p.m. and 7 p.m. weekdays or starting at 4 p.m. on the weekends—offers great drink specials, including one-dollar bottles of Pabst Blue Ribbon and three-dollar well drinks. Not even yard sales have deals so good.

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