When I meet my friend Alex Carlson we hit it off talking about all kinds of self-sufficiency projects and alternative construction. Carlson has some years of experience as both a contractor and indoor gardener. When he told me he wanted to create a cafe for full-spectrum light therapy in Portland, I knew it was genius. Now this amazing fusion of heliotherapy, good food, full coffee and full bar has become a realization as LightBar in SE Portland.
The concept is fairly simple, custom lighting using full-spectrum light to help people with Seasonal Affective Disorder (SAD). As the concept began taking root in Carlson, we talked about what would compliment this revolutionary kind of establishment. Light installations, art, good food (which is a necessary in Portland, OR), and live entertainment.
The location on SE 14th and Morrison features a full south-facing front window from floor to ceiling. The ceiling itself arches up to a full 20 feet with custom LED lighting that bounces off the specially reflective white walls. It all goes to crafting a European style bistro as interpreted by Portland Or.
While the full bar is getting more attention in its first month of business, it is summer after all, the light therapy aspect will be getting a lot more attention as we move into autumn and winter. For those of you know don’t know, Portland is at a pretty high latitude and with its rainy and overcast months, it can make you miss the sun.
SAD is an actual disorder that affects the physical, mental, and emotional health of an individual. While it is not limited to a lack of sun, that is when most people feel it. If any of you have lived in a place like the Pacific Northwest, or similar -with long dark months, people get sick more often and have a harder time getting out and about. Many people find they have more depressive states of mind and struggle with being able to conjure the strength to get on with their day. This is why a cafe bar with light therapy to combat this very issue is so genius.
Come in during the winter months to feel the full effect, sit down with your personal full-spectrum light device, have your coffee, work on your laptop, feel better. Simple and effective.
Carlson is also planning on having drinks with Vitamin D as well as B12 during the darker months. All in a effort to help people feel better and be more productive in the creative Portland community.
While I am sure the writers of Portlandia are going to have a field day with this concept, not to mention the actual location, it is a brilliant move during a time when people are less likely to part with their hard earned dollars.
With an eye to the aesthetic, great food that caters to vegans, vegetarians, and meat eaters alike, and nightly events to drink and be merry; LightBar is shaping up to be the place to get some therapy, good food, and a great atmosphere.
By Iam Bloom