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Anna Bannanas St Johns

8716  N  Lombard St.

Portland, OR

If you find yourself way up in N Portland looking for a coffee house, try Anna Bannanas along the main drag through St. John’s. It’s a quirky hipster kind of place, but then again, so is St. John’s.  Coffee’s fine, ambience is relaxed, and the chairs are comfy. The back door—where parking exists—has a big schmoozy banana identifying it outside, but it was a bit hard to know where the coffee shop was in the long b&w-checkered hallway (found it at the end and around the corner). The front is a regular old store front, with a recessed door and sidewalk windows. Pressed-metal tiles brighten the wide seating counter along one side, and the overstuffed chairs that backed up to it are new-looking, not old & used, as one might expect. Tables and chairs and a side bench completed the seating possibilities. An ornamental mirror enhanced the counter wall, and a brick wall opposite made Anna Bannanas cozy. Pictures covered the brick wall, and large 3-d stars and mini-lights lit the rest, along with hanging pendants. I was surprised to see a Pro-Obama sign (even though the election is long-past) and an old New Yorker Obama cartoon, as well as a recent New Yorker and New York Times. Guess they’re from NY?

Service and clientele: 5 of 7 other customers at the time had open laptops, and the other 2 were reading a newspaper and a textbook, with papers spread out all over the table. One could hear that proverbial pin drop because of the extreme silence! Under the quiet circumstances I felt inhibited about talking, but I’ll bet a couple kids would liven it up! I sincerely complimented their children’s area, which had lots of toys and a small castle-like wall. Apparently they really welcome babies; there even was a separate infant changing room. They didn’t rush customers, and the front sign indicated that folks should “have a cup of coffee and catch your breath”. I liked that.  Barrista had several colorful tats, was friendly, and gave permission for me to shoot “good” pictures. The pressure was on! (Of course, I told her that all my pictures are good.  It ain’t so, but she couldn’t dispute that, either.)
Fare: Small coffee was $1.50, and baked goods were sold for half-price, which meant $1.50 for a raspberry scone. There was a vast variety of other stuff, including bottled drinks and pre-packaged sandwiches in a cooler, and the typical latte-chai menu.

Bathroom: Way down that checkered hallway. Seems as if it would be quite convenient for any street people to use; usually there are keys or even tokens to discourage this. My companion reported that the bathroom was functional, but not particularly clean or interesting.

Rating: 3 (of 5 possible coffee beans).

3 coffee beans copy