Lightbar Lights Up on SE Morrison

A tasty answer to S.A.D.: Full-spectrum lighting fixtures that mimic natural sunlight served alongside craft cocktails and healthy snacks.

By Allison Jones June 20, 2013

Even the writers of Portlandia couldn't make this stuff up: Lightbar, Portland's first cafe and bar to offer therapeutic lighting in addition to craft cocktails and health-conscious food, is now open on SE Morrison and 14th a few doors down from Nostrana.

Owned by Alex Carlson, Lightbar is one answer to Portland's pet problem: Seasonal Affective Disorder, sometimes known as the Winter Blues, caused by the lack of sunlight thanks to our often gloomy weather year-round.

Less sunlight means less melatonin, causing drowsiness and symptoms of depression. Carlson's solution? Full-spectrum lighting fixtures that mimic natural sunlight, served alongside great cocktails, a full menu of healthy snacks, and even some Vitamin D and B12 supplements for good measure.

Lightbar will celebrate its Grand Opening with a bright, boisterous bash on June 22, but you can stop in now to see what all the buzz is about:

The Vibe: Designed by Portland's Fix Studio, Lightbar's high ceilings  white walls, and clean lines are lit by colored LED lights that shift moment to moment, and light therapy boxes are perched on individual tables and booths, ready to shine for Vitamin D-starved customers.

Diners and drinkers are welcome to stay awhile and soak in the "sun", tap into Lightbar's free WiFi, and take in the entertainment—the Lightbar team plans host artists, musicians, and performers with an emphasis on works that explore the creative side of light. Want to bring home the happy? The eatery has light boxes available for purchase, too.

The Menu: Lightbar's menu offers fresh, seasonal selections from chef Randy Hopkins (formerly of Portland's 2nd Story), with tons of gluten-free, vegetarian, and vegan options. The star is a DIY "Big Salad" menu, giving diners the chance to build their own bowl with several kinds of greens, fresh dressings, and over twenty add-ins—think smoked salmon, roasted beets, oyster mushrooms, and avocado—in addition to house salads, panini, soups, gluten free desserts, and a small kid's menu (minors are allowed until 10 pm). 

The Bar: Bartenders shake up daily-shifting custom concoctions, like "The Resplendent" with gin, lemon, honey and serrano chile. Lightbar also offers kombucha, sodas, and full coffee service powered by the fair trade, single-source roasts from Portland's Coava.

Lightbar is currently open Tuesday, Wednesday, and Sunday from 11 am to 11 pm, and Thursday through Saturday from 11 am to late, offering a "Golden Hour" daily with food and drink specials (Tuesday through Friday from 4-7 and weekends from 2-5). 

Come the grayer months, hours will shift to include early-morning service and breakfast offerings to make the most of the light box power.

Stay tuned, and stay well-lit.

1401 SE Morrison

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