If the idea of yet-another staycation’s got you down, here is one idea for getting away that won’t break the bank: Costello’s Travel Caffe in Northeast Portland. Whereas Portland’s micro-roasters and independent cafes are creating their own Northwest, artisan coffeehouse culture, Costello’s takes its cues from old Europe, invoking the scenes, the sounds, the languages and even the sports of other timezones and places. Although the name and menu are Italian-inspired, Costello’s spans the continent — and sometimes the world, too. Inside, antique lamp and dim lighting and heavy, dark wooden furniture almost give the feeling of a turn-of-the-century Viennese coffeehouse.

Notes on Costello’s Travel Caffe…

Where: Family-run Costello’s is located at 2222 NE Broadway on a happening little block of the busy street. Nestled between neighbors Eyes on Broadway and Chez Jose East, Costello’s brightens the bustling sidewalk with silver-metal patio furniture and umbrellas.

Coffee: True to its Italian roots, Costello’s serves the Italian espresso-style Umbria brand from Seattle. I’ve always considered Umbria to be a fine-restaurant-quality coffee, with a mild and decent flavor, but nothing too out there. Paired with one of Costello’s home-made pastries, it works just fine.

Cool stuff: Daily travelogue videos from cities around the world, but mostly Europe, play in a continuous loop on two, large flat-screen displays, mesmerizing cafe-goers with quaint street scenes and stirring memories of years-ago Eurrail trips across the continent. Three or four cities are featured each day, as noted on a small chalkboard. Another chalkboard (and the cafe’s events page on its website) announces schedules of foreign language conversation groups, evening showings of foreign movies and international sporting events, like the 2010 World Cup soccer championships, where spectators gather to cheer their favorite teams with fellow fans. We’ve always enjoyed Costello’s for a snack of toasted bagel, grilled cheese panini or green salad, but anyone with an aversion to carbs may find the fare a bit on the starchy side.

Not so cool: Being shushed by fellow patrons, as I and my friend Greg were when we met to catch up and found ourselves chatting amidst a group of people who had gathered to watch an old Ingmar Bergman movie.

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