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Wednesday, January 9, 2008

Drunk Changes on Upper Hawthorne

Posted by The Guest Author on Wed, Jan 9 at 12:05 PM

[UPDATE 4:17pm — the proprietors are Philip Ragaway of BOG/Tiny’s/Shanghai Tunnel, and Tim Smale of Belmont Computers/Red Square Cafe. I’d say they both have strong track records. Oh, and the name Tanker is NOT a drinking reference, per Ragaway’s comment.]

A number of changes are afoot in my neighborhood. First there is the news of Albina Press opening a new branch next to Sapphire Hotel. This is very good news. Then the proprietor of Por Que No? says he’s opening up a new place in the neighborhood (hopefully he’s taking over the old Romo’s La Jara space – Romo’s is relocating to Montavilla).

Now a new bar is opening up at the corner of 49th and Hawthorne. It’s going to be called Tankers (a somewhat lamentable reference to getting wasted, I presume). If their liquor license application is to be believed, they’ll have oven-baked pizza, subs, outdoor seating, and video poker. A couple months ago, I was told by one of the guys working on the construction that it would have a skateboarding theme (but he also said it would be called Halfpipe, or something, so I don’t know if that theme’s been abandoned).
Someone’s redone the façade on this building and it’s looking pretty good. I don’t know if you can tell from this crappy cell phone picture. They’ve painted a retro Dewar’s ad on one of the walls; I initially thought it was a relic they uncovered, but with Dewar’s latest blitz of old-timey ads I’m pretty sure it’s new. It’s actually not as awful as you think a liquor ad would be.

I have an ambivalent attitude towards my neighborhood. The proximity to a number of bars is handy (and there are lots: Bar of the Gods, Angelo’s, Space Room, Sewickly’s, Watertrough) but truthfully, I don’t really love any of these places. A couple of them are outright dumps. And the drunkies that pour into the street at 2:30 am are generally disruptive, although sometimes I get lucky and get to witness an AWESOME street fight. There’s also the Mt. Tabor Theater, which has already undergone multiple facelifts in the short time I’ve lived there. (Hippie venue to punk/metal to what now seems to be a more balanced variety.) I’m still hoping they will transform themselves into the kickass venue they want to be. There’s nothing I’d like better than to check out a great show then cross the street and collapse into bed.

At any rate, I’m excited for the new bar and wish them well. There are lots of other competing bars, but this can only help their business.


I used to live across the street from the Triple Nickel. I got to witness 2:30am barfights about four times a week in the summer. Climbing out on the fire escape I shared with my neighbors to watch the fights was a great bonding experience.

I don't head out to that part of Hawthorne more than maybe once a month so I was a little surprised when I met some friends at Sapphire a few weeks ago and had some drunk idiots stumble out into the street directly in front of my car...

one of them I slammed on my breaks and sat in the middle of the street at a standstill because it was clear he was intent on crossing the road regardless of having a 3,000lb vehicle bearing down on him. He slowly stumbled in front of me hovering inches over the hood of my car and gave me a look like wtf are you doing here in this street? I'M A CAR WHAT THE FUCK ARE YOU DOING FALLING OVER IN THE STREET? It was a good thing I was stone sober, with any slower reflexes I could see lots of drunkard road pizzas on that stretch of Hawthorne.

That pic looks to be the Mt Tabor/Sabala's building....so this Tankers is the latest name of that?

The proposed bar is at 4825 SE Hawthorne, so I guess it would be right next to the Watertrough which is at 4815.
I heard this new place comes from Phil Ragaway--the guy behind Shanghai and Bar of the Gods. I could be wrong about that, or we could be talking about two different proposed bars.

In lower Hawthorne news, there's also a new bar (Meridian? Something like that) at 32nd or so, occupying the classic 50s style office building that used to house an accounting firm (right next to the old Victorian that was until recently Chef Tucker's). Haven't heard anything about that, but it could be a cool retro place based on the outside.

The Vertigo Lounge just opened at 43rd and Hawthorne, in the old Empire Room space. They're not really up to speed just yet, but are easing into operation. I like what they've done with the space - deep red walls, comfy booths, nice-looking bar.

no more Chef Tucker? meh. Keen to check out the place on 32nd tho.

I think you should spend a little more time talking about that booze advertisement. I'm not sure if I fully got the gist of that.

The place on lower Hawthorne is called Gold Dust Meridian, I think. And re: this new place on 49th being owned by Phil Ragaway, I've heard the same thing, which would seem to bode pretty well.

They need something different up there. It's stumbling distance for me too and I'm really bored with everything. Space Room is alright but always busy. BOG used to be cool but these days the music is so loud you have to shout, Mt. Tabor is expensive with the weakest drinks on the street (BOG is a close 2nd), Sewickleys = white trash, you go to the Watertrough when you're ready to die. That area needs new blood BAD.

Yes I am involved in the new bar called Tanker. The name is not intensionally eluding to being tanked. It is actually built like a tanker ship. The goal is a classier level of upper hawthorne. but not over the top... compare to your favorite pair of jeans... not too stiff and not falling apart. The goal is more of an mature atmosphere with specialty products and a fine detail for quality. The main lead on this project is Tim Smale the original creator Belmont computers and Red Square cafe. Both places have great integrity and unique style to them.

A good way to envision this space is a smaller yet charming place somewhat like Sapphire Hotel but the masculine version with bit of a sports edge, unlike your typical sports bar. We will host a handful of softball teams, bicycle events, and play as much more of an asset to the neighborhood and community.

I will keep the Mercury posted on our Opening Events



An unfortunate piece of news about that neighborhood...
Nick's is closing! Noooooo!

I can't remember the last time I walked by Nick's and it was actually open. I wonder what developer is going to buy it, tear it down and turn it into condos?

Sounds like Garrett could use a hug today.

I wonder what developer is going to buy it, tear it down and turn it into condos?

Not a smart one, as it's sandwiched right between two other businesses and is about 30 feet wide. It'll probably become another restaurant.

Also, on the topic of Sewickly's, one of my favorite Portland moments was walking there (I used to work nearly across the street) and seeing Tonya Harding behind the bar, working off her video poker debt. Class-ay.

I used to have one of those fire escape apartment spots as well. Best one I saw was at 2pm on a Sunday. The sunshine really brought out the color in the blood.

Look, I heard rumors the guy who owned Nick's owned the whole building. I'm watching the Blazer game at a bar tonight and the Mercury rolls in. Guess what one of the stories is? The owner of Nick's owns most of that block and sold it for millions. Now the new owners are jacking up rent on Naked City, Jackpot (I assume Bishops) and that little cafe. Goodbye Hawthorne of old...hello condo city. Hey SEaster...I could use a hug. Or 6 beers to get over the fact that within 2 years my rent is going to be jacked up to unaffordable rates due to our fine friends at Dosha, Starbucks and whatever high priced BS rolls into my neighborhood. So yeah...a hug would be nice...or 6 beers.

Come on, are we just gonna roll over and act like "oh, woe is us, here come the condos? It's nothing that a few well-placed molotov cocktails won't fix.

Seriously, though, that block is eligible for historic designation, as per a city report last year on historical assets in the SE area. And Vera made it very hard to tear down buildings over 75 years old. So it'll be pretty easy to derail any condo effort using laws on the books right now.

Besides, anyone who sees the massive failure that is the H45 will think twice before trying to build condos on Hawthorne. There's no market for it.

Jackpot Records, Bishop's, and Naked City have had their rent raised 50% by the new owner of Nick's Coney Island. My limited experience with that sort of situation leads me to believe that you will soon be seeing Jackpot Records, Bishop's, and Naked City moving out by April.

Went to the Gold Dust Meridian tonight and was pretty suprised. Ive passed by this building a hundred times and never really noticed it. The place is mid-century cool with great atmosphere. the jukebox was dope and they have 50 cent pool. I love the triangle but hawthorne has needed something desperatly in the 30s block! all classic cocktails with dates of origin and scorpian bowls (ones called the Radio Cab!). dont forget check out the cheeky chinese statue near the front door.

Hi Mercury staff,
If you ever need to find out up-to-date information about businesses coming and going on Hawthorne, feel free to contact us here at the HBBA. Also, our website http://www.thinkhawthorne.com has a searchable business directory which is kept quite up-to-date.
PS. ?Por que no? is hopefully moving into the former Lloyd's Upholstry building. The owner is trying to buy the building.

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