Rooftop cocktails and panoramic views at East Burnside’s hostel-style Lolo Pass Hotel

Conditions are favorable at the Lolo Pass hostel-style hotel.

Opened earlier this summer, Lolo follows in the footsteps of other affordable yet stylish IKEA accommodations that have popped up in our town over the past few years. Owner sisters Lauren and Lee Gonzalez bet visitors to Portland would spend more time out of their rooms than in, while enjoying the finer things in life, like a rooftop bar and a bright, open lobby with a coffee stand to the right next to check-in.

This bet seems well placed.

Lolo’s cafe has recruited a barista from the slick but sadly still closed Khora Coffeehouse, so it’s no surprise the lattes hit there like a wave of sneakers – a trait we’ve also found in rooftop cocktails later in the night.

Without barrier walls, the lobby feels like a cavernous food court at times. But such a nice food court. Coffee drinkers and diners find themselves surrounded by light woods, tropical plants, cork stools, and earthy hues, the ambience of which lends itself a little more to morning or early afternoon than to evening.

It’s still a great place to start or end a longer night, but the main attraction is obviously the fifth-floor rooftop, complete with a fire pit, communal guitar, its own bar, and plenty of socially distanced seating.

The viewpoint offers a unique view of downtown and the Central Eastside. Before the Bootleg Fire smog arrived last week, everything from Big Pink to Buckman Field was on the scenic smorgasbord.

Lolo’s house cocktails tend to be sweet and fruity, as evidenced by the old-fashioned pineapple-infused cocktails, the unmistakable schnapps in Teaches of Peaches Sex on the Beach, and the grapefruit and aperol in the Metropolitan but off Gemini SZN cycle.

Meanwhile, the restaurant’s menu favors herbal and savory flavors and changes daily. The house salad’s mustard dressing didn’t overwhelm the fresh, earthy greens. The plate of chilled burrata was accented and balanced with juicy apricots, pickled radicchio and a pinch of salt.

The house fries take the form of thick chunks of yellow and purple potatoes, topped with grated parmesan cheese and fried capers, but they desperately need more than the sweet anchovy aioli dish.

At the top of our dessert, we found the flaky crust of the mille-feuille dry on its own, but we loved that its Gram-worthy presentation with strawberries, pistachio crumbs and yogurt cream passed for gourmet sushi at first sight.

Lolo Pass also has an art gallery, which will regularly present visual art exhibitions. However, hovering above the foliage, it’s hard to imagine what kind of visual could top the tree-lined urban pastoral scene of East Burnside.

DRINK: 1616 Burnside Street East, 503-908-3074, lolopasspdx.comcoffee from 7 a.m. to 2 p.m. daily, cocktails from 4 p.m. to 10 p.m. daily.

Linda G. Ibarra