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My Father’s Place: Portland’s Quirkiest Home Away from Home

See why both truckers and Elliott Smith have bellied up to the bar.

An old drinking haunt of Elliott Smith, My Father's Place has been housing artists, straight-laced professionals, laypersons, vagrants, and other miscreants since 1978. And grandfathers, of course. Owned and operated by the Moles family, including Linda Moles and her sons Kasey and Darrell, it is safe to say that this diviest of dives has seen its share of barflies over the years. Huddled in the booming industro-chic Central Eastside District, the quirky Portland watering hole prides itself on being a meeting place for strange bedfellows. On top of that, its quarters rest in the historic Logus Building, dating back to 1892.

While My Father's Place, simply referred to by regulars as MFP, hosts a variety of denizens these days, Kasey Moles shed some light on its scene during the late ‘70s. "Back in the day, My Father's Place used to be a hangout for truckers," he said. "Where Jacksons is now used to be a Burns Brothers Truck Stop. Since Burns Brothers parking was right behind My Father's Place, they would gas up, park their trucks in back, come in for some good times, and then crash out in their rigs. In addition to being a place for truckers, the lounge area used to be cleared out and turned into a dance floor. People would dance to vinyl records played from the jukebox late into the night!" Gone are the days when My Father's Place would be transformed into a discotheque; however, they do still have jukebox. And probably, truckers.

My Father’s Place: Perhaps Portland’s Quirkiest Home Away from Home Dina Avila/EPDX

Open from 6 a.m. to 2:30 a.m., it's not uncommon to witness folks slugging whiskey before noon, or rolling in well after evening for an eggs benedict. Yes, breakfast is served all day and night. That it's an old-school diner attached to a bar and lounge is weird as hell. Not to mention the game room, where gamers and gamblers while away the hours. Linda Moles describes My Father's Place as "everyone's living room," and the well-worn booths, exposed brick walls, and vintage ceiling lamps make this assertion a reality. Even on bright sunny days, the dark choice of coloring for the interior, coupled with modest lighting, give off a dusky ambiance, which is oddly comforting.

Both the diner and lounge sport an eclectic assortment of random knickknacks, or as Linda Moles refers to them, "treasures that have been collected from various people over time." Old black and white portraits grace the walls, and there is even a glass cabinet displaying a slew of antique liquor bottles. Plus, the long diner counter recalls nostalgic days of coffee and cigarettes. No smoking allowed inside, of course, but they do sell cigarettes from a vending machine.

When Linda Moles was asked what makes My Father's Place stand out among the newer venues in the area, she replied that "it's the people who visit that truly give it its character." For instance, it's perfectly normal to see someone who personifies, say, the Ziggy Stardust-era Bowie sitting alongside a slick-suited business type at the bar. Or for families to have their weekend breakfast amidst a nest of revelers nursing hangovers. The fact that people from all stations in life can congregate here without any bearing of judgment makes My Father's Place a unique entity among the plethora of trendy spots now joining the neighborhood.

—Michelle DeVona

My Father's Place

523 Southeast Grand Avenue, , OR 97214 (503) 235-5494 Visit Website