Let's Get the Party Started

The party's just getting started inside The Fort, even though it's well past 2 a.m. on the first Friday in August. Haunts like the Emerald Lounge have long since discharged their drunks, but numerous night crawlers have journeyed to the squat gallery run by brothers Isaac and Gabriel Fortoul next door to the Paper Heart on Polk Street just off Seventh Avenue and Grand, to celebrate The Fort's grand opening at the kind of raucous after-hours affair they've become known for. (They've also become known for the kind of destruction that accompanies such festivities, so the next "grand opening" party at the next location may not be too far in the future.)

A horde of shabby-chic hipsters and trendy fashion plates in '80s couture admire the work of artists such as Lalo Cota and Heather Gargon, while others crowd the front room observing local b-boys laying down electric boogaloo on the parquet flooring to old-school funk spun by DJ Uriah.

As Isaac and Gabriel stand outside observing the action through the joint's plate-glass windows, they discuss how happenings such as theirs help the vitality of both First Fridays and the art district by offering a post-last-call hangout.

"People are starving for places to go," says Isaac. "We want this place to be an unexpected little gem where, after people leave the Bikini [Lounge on 15th Avenue and Grand], they can come in and enjoy the groove, the artwork, and maybe check out the movie we got going."

So why aren't there more late-night options available downtown? Forget The Fort, it's hard enough to find a cocktail after 10 p.m., even on a First Friday. Portland's, the tony bar/restaurant near Central Avenue and Roosevelt Street, closes its doors firmly at 10, even on the most crowded First Friday, even with would-be drinkers pounding on the door. One of the few options (before Carly's opened recently, on Roosevelt) was a nightcap in the bar of the Best Western next door to Portland's -- a depressing little hole reeking of the Indian buffet served earlier in the day, in an adjacent room. Even the tranny bar across the street went out of business more than a year ago.

Dylan Bethge, who owns Portland's, promises that starting this week, he'll keep the place open 'til midnight on Friday and Saturday nights.

It takes gumption to remain open when many have gone home for the evening, says Derrick Suarez, co-owner of Paisley Violin, on Grand Avenue.

"To run a late-night business, it takes someone with the balls to just open and weather bad times and build a crowd," says Suarez.

Late-night revelers, take note (or get out the scissors). Here's a list of what's open after 10, on First Friday:

815 West Madison Street
First Friday hours: 6 p.m. to 4 a.m.

Bikini Lounge
1502 Grand Avenue
First Friday hours: 10 a.m. to 2 a.m.

Carly's Bistro
128 East Roosevelt Street
First Friday hours: 5 p.m. to 2 a.m.

Counter Culture Café
2330 East McDowell Road
First Friday hours: Open 24 hours

The Emerald Lounge
1514 North Seventh Avenue
First Friday hours: 10 a.m. to 2 a.m.

Fat Cats
915 Grand Avenue
First Friday hours: 10 a.m. to 2 a.m.

905 North Fourth Street
First Friday hours: 5 p.m. to 3 a.m.

The Fort
723 West Polk Street
First Friday hours: 6 p.m. to midnight

821 North Third Street
First Friday hours: 6 p.m. to 1 a.m.

My Florist Cafe
530 West McDowell Road
First Friday hours: 7 a.m. to midnight

Paisley Violin
1030 Grand Avenue
First Friday hours: 6 a.m. to 1 a.m.

The Paper Heart
750 Grand Avenue
First Friday hours: 3 p.m. to 1 a.m.

Portland's Restaurant
105 West Portland Street
First Friday hours: 5 p.m. to midnight

Stay Gold
120 East Roosevelt Street
First Friday hours: 6 p.m. to midnight

The Willow House
149 West McDowell Road
First Friday hours: 7 a.m. to 1 a.m.