Portland is an ideal city for mixed use community spaces. There are so many unique and interesting groups that need homes for their activities.
Bamboo Grove Salon meets this need in a fascinating way. Rather than being just a large open chasm, Bamboo Grove has built a cozy and intimate tea house and art gallery connected to their community space. This creates opportunities for some great parings: unwind after some Tai Chi with an oolong , sip some green tea while you learn Go from local Go Masters, or savor a nice herbal as you wait for your turn on group acupuncture night.
Bamboo Grove was created by Gabriel Weiss who, like the space, has a very varied background. Weiss is a stone mason and Chinese herbalist by trade. He worked at the Tao of Tea doing all the stone work for their former store on NW 21st and Hoyt. He also helps his wife who runs the pilates studio next door. Weiss's eclectic background is the perfect mix for the warm, charming and inviting space that is Bamboo Grove.
While the events and art gallery portion of Bamboo Grove Salon (including a letter press business called Zhu Lin) have been around a while, the tea house is a brand new addition. Rather than focusing on a menu filled with dozens of varieties of tea, Weiss opts for a very focused selection. "I'd rather serve just a few really good teas than a ton of tea," Weiss commented. He's got a fantastic source for tea as Bamboo Grove sits one story above the tea warehouse for the Tao of Tea, home to literally thousands of pounds of tea. "Some morning when we come in we can just smell tea".
Weiss is extremely talented at serving tea and he presents tea ordered in Gung-Fu style (a small clay pot and cups). This is how tea is traditionally served and the experience is light years beyond anything you can experience from a tea bag. Since the tea part of Bamboo Grove is just starting, they've been working out their ordering process and it can be a little informal, but look for them to refine their offering as they grow.
One of the amazing things about Bamboo Grove is how well priced the tea is. We drank a nice oolong from Taiwan, gung-fu style, for $2. The exact same pot of tea served at the Tao of Tea would be $8. This could very well be the best deal on a beverage in Portland.
In addition to good tea served well, the space is warm, inviting and provides a nice oasis from the industrial neighborhood which surrounds it.
Bamboo Grove Salon is located on 134 SE Taylor (enter on SE 2nd). Tea is served Monday through Thursday from 1-9pm with other special tea events (Like GO and Tea Wednesday nights 7-10pm). Phone: 971-207-8476