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I Heart Sip and Kranz

09.jpegFor many years I lived in Boston trying to become a rock star.  To make ends meet, I had a job delivering art to Manhattan galleries once a week. We would fire up the truck at 4 am, deliver to all the hip galleries in town and double park a lot, hit a “Ray’s Pizza” for lunch, and make it back to bean town around 10 pm for a couple of beers at Foley’s.

The job made for a long day but I enjoyed the opportunity to soak in NYC once a week. The galleries we served and much of the art we delivered were models of modern design.  Modernism - its simplification of form- has always captivated me but part of my admiration is no doubt based on my inability to ever be that unadorned in style.

Like it or not, my sense of style bounces between hippie and grunge (thus I always have an excuse to be unkept). I am much too cluttered in thought and deed to ever inhabit any structure found in the pages of dwell (even though I subscribed to the magazine for many years). Regardless I remain captivated by crisp, clean lines, and the fact that white comes in more than one shade. Which explains in part why my new crush in the world of kid-friendly cafes is Sip and Kranz.

What will you find there? Wonderful modern atmosphere, tasty, affordable and simple cafe fare (salads, sandwiches, etc.), good coffee, beer and wine, free wi fi, and a glass-enclosed play area for the kids - so you can watch your kids with the volume off.  Other than my desire to tear the BIG SCREEN TV out of play area, my only complaint is that I can’t walk there.

All said, I could easily spend an entire day at Sip and Kranz imbibing coffee and counting the different shades of white. Hopefully they will never enforce a dress code.

Sip and Kranz is located at 901 NW 10th Avenue in Portland near Jamison Square.

Comments

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oh no - a tv in the playroom? I was so excited to go to S&K - but this would be an issue for me (an no judgement calls on anyone else, just my personal preference.)
Is it on all the time? Do they play tv or videos?
so sad to lose this option - the place sounded lovely.

kate - the tv is not on all the time. in fact, when we go (which is very often) it is almost never on.

When I have been there, it has been either off or videos.

I to am from Boston and have a love for modern design and coffee! I love your review on Sip and Kranz. I recently found the hot spot myself and I almost kissed the staff when I walked in. My 3yr old loves the play area and my 5 month old loves watching mommy finally relax.
I have been several times both during the week and on weekends, and the tv has alwasy been off. I imagine most people would prefer it off then on.
My biggest problem is I wish I would have thought of this place myself. What a great idea. A modern coffee shop that caters to modern parents.

i've only actually ever seen it on once, and we turned it off. :) i think it's used to show kiddie music/educational videos that they sell there, not actual tv shows.

It is a neat-looking place, but like so many places in the Pearl, I just felt like I (and my children) weren't quite well-dressed enough.

i won't go there is there is a tv.

I love having the separate room for the kiddos, but I wish that they would figure out a better way to take orders and serve coffee. They usually have plenty of staff, but it seems like their philosophy is whoever takes the order, makes the order. This can create such a long line, with little ones it's not fabulous. It would be so much more helpful, when they are busy, to use a starbucks approach. One person takes the order, another person makes drinks and/or food.
Other than that, this place is near perfection! And I've only seen the TV on once or twice in the time they've been open, and it's very easy to turn it off!

Luckily for us, we can walk there- and do often! S&K is our #1 favorite hang out. Our 6 year old loves meeting new 'friends' while we scan the paper and sip stumptown. Our 6 mo. old is even starting to get down on the floor now too.
I won't go into the TV issue- I think everyone is getting the idea. :-)
We've never had a service problem but we're also not usually in a hurry when we head down there. It's a relatively new joint so I'm sure they are working out some kinks but overall this place is worth seeking out.
Maybe we'll see you there!

Slightly off-topic, but I couldn't resist commenting that I can definitely see Tony of Milagros in "rock-star" mode... Cheers!

i wanted to add how cool i thought it was that (is it tony?) the guy of milagros, a kid friendly cafe/boutique, had such positive things to say, publicly, about another kid friendly coffeehouse. as a major s&k fan i whole-heartedly agree with everything he had to say and knowing who said it makes me want to go to milagros even more! its people like that who make portland such an awesome place to be raising our kids! kudos to you (tony?)!

personally I found the kid room at S & K to be a good concept poorly executed. I should say that I have a eight month old and a lively 2.5 year old. the things that didn't work for me were the disconnect between ordering and receiving your food/drink, the fact that food and drink cannot be in the playroom, which is understandable but if you are in the playroom supervising your child, then how can you receive your delivered food/drink? the tables nearest the kid area are always taken. the shoes-off policy in the playroom, also understandable, made it difficult for me to properly supervise, as my toddler runs in and out and to go after him I have to stop to put on my shoes or else run across S & K proper in bare feet (which I have done). this plus the big screen TV make S & K *not* our first choice. I much prefer Urban Grind in NE as a kiddo-friendly space.

It would be nice if there were some kind of door by the entrance to the kid area, even a half-door/gate type thing so that the little explorers can be contained for at least short periods. Kind of like they have at the Children's Museum in the Baby Garden.

Meliah,

Although it isn't unusual for us to recommend "competitors," I feel like I need to set the record straight in light of your kind praise: we no longer have an active coffeehouse at Milagros.

Having a regular cafe with staff, inventory, and the like was just too much work and was taking away from our main focus (lesson learned!). We still host a lot of great events in The Family Room (you can check out the event calendar on our website) and we rent the space for birthday parties, baby showers and such but we are out of the cafe biz for now.

All the best,

Tony

P.S. We were at Sip and Kranz yesterday, the TV was off and stayed off!

I had absolutely terrible service there. I actually asked for my money back and left with a very hungry toddler. I hope they can figure out how to run their business, because it's a great idea.

S&K can be a great place to hang, play, sip, and nosh. But, the last time we were there, I was frustrated by the small doorway between the glass-enclosed play space and the rest of the cafe. The doorway can get easily clogged with kids and parents taking off/putting on coats or boots. There was more the one occasion when my daughter left the playspace and I had a hard time catching up with her due to cloggage at the doorway. It could be easier if space *away* from the doorway could be designated for putting on coats and shoes.

I wanted to express a heartfelt thank you to the mamas who helped me out yesterday when my 18 month old daughter fell and cut her little forehead at Sip and Kranz. She was coming out of the play area, and I was behind her getting ready to leave, and somehow a few people got between me and her so I did not see what happened, but it appeared that she fell and hit the corner of the shoe-removal bench right square in the middle of her forehead. It spouted blood instantly. I couldn't get to her right away, and another mom was right to her side (until I pushed everyone away in a frenzy...). I gathered up my baby and my friend, who is a nurse, looked at her quickly and determined a hospital trip was inevitable. Some other moms came and helped us get our stuff together and someone went and got us ice for her head. I was touched. I was also a huge mess in tears, thinking that my daughter was seriously hurt. Luckily, after 4 1/2 hours in the ER at Emanuel (I love them!) she had her laceration cleaned, irrigated, and "super-glued" closed. She is no worse for wear, but I was exhausted! So thank you to those wonderful moms who helped out. If you are one of them reading this, please shoot me an email and let me know if you saw what actually happened to my baby. It appears she almost got a puncture wound in the head, so she must have really gone straight into the corner of the bench. I have to say, I am underwhelmed at the response of the S&K staff, who did not even come over to see if my child was ok. That kind of bummed me out! PS: the tv was off the whole time we were there!

I am one of the owners of Sip and Kranz and a wife and mother of two small children. (3 and 17 months). Thank you for all of your kind comments and the constructive ones too. :) I am so terriblly sorry to hear about your daughter Debby. I will have those shoe cubbies removed tomorrow and a good talk with my staff. That is unacceptable that no one came up to you. One of the girls that work there did tell me about this and was very concerned.
As far as the t.v is concerned...it is used for educational/music children's videos. It is also used to play children's music. The videos are only played at the parents discretion.
This is our first venture and we are working our best to iron out all of the kinks. My business partner and I can not be at Sip and Kranz 24/7 for we are both full time mothers. Believe me, I wish we could be sometimes so we could monitor everything. We have been open 5 months now and learning more than we ever thought every day. Sometimes I wonder what the heck did we do!!!?? However, our vision remains strong and that is what keeps us going. To see parents enjoy a moment to sip on coffee,etc while their kids play truly brings great joy!
We are working on the seating by the kids area to be more efficient. We would have swapped out the big round tables long ago, however budget would not allow.
Thank you again, without honesty we cannot be better. These are the opinions we value for our passion was to create a place for the modern parent to enjoy with their little ones.
P.S. Dress Codes??? Come as you are! Oh, and Thank you Tony for your fun & encouraging review!

We were sad to learn today that sip n' kranz is no longer offering a kid friendly space due to economic pressures. I appreciated the concept and had no problem with the above-mentioned issues. We'll forever find shortcomings with every business, but how often is a place welcoming to families in an urban not-so-family-friendly environment? I guess we all lose in this economy.

I commend you for your effort, Hilary, and hope you can make your business work (that is, if you're still involved). I know that I won't go out of my way to eat & drink at sip n kranz anymore. I'm not sure who will make up for the lost family customers as there are so many cafes catering to those without kids in the immediate area.
We'll miss you! Good luck!

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