Oregon Public House

I’ve made up my mind—the NE quadrant of Portland is the best spot for beer living.

After visiting the Tin Bucket yesterday, I wandered over to Oregon Public House, a spot that has already had their soft opening and is preparing to have their grand opening tomorrow, May 17.

Walking in, the floor space is a little dark, the brick and black walls only illuminated by hanging lights. But, who wants to go to a fluorescent bar? Not this guy.

The beer menu had a great selection and I finally landed on Hopworks Secession Cascadian Dark Ale—a beer I remember fondly from a bottle a couple of months ago. The bartender, Kenny, shared my enthusiasm for the beer and I decided that I liked the place already.

The next part was unique—Kenny proceeded to ask me which charity I would like to donate to and pointed up to a chalkboard behind him. He saw my confusion and explained to me what the bar is all about:

The Oregon Public House is the world’s first non-profit pub. They gather up all of the costs that the pub incurs—administrative, buying beer, etc.—and whatever goes over that is donated to the charity of your choice. He asks which one you would like to donate to in order to divy up the profits at the end of the month (say that 10 percent of the votes go to Friends of Trees, my charity of choice, then 10 percent of the profits at the month’s close go toward that organization).

It’s genius. Portland, more specifically Northeast Portland, is the perfect place to be running an establishment like this. People like charity. People like beer. Put the two together, and you have an awesome business plan.

They also seemed to have a great selection of food items for decent prices (a burger and fries or a rueben is $8).  I wasn’t able to try their stuff today, but hopefully soon.

The Wall of Founders sits just behind the bar. People who helped make this pub possible have personal glasses.
The Wall of Founders sits just behind the bar. People who helped make this pub possible have personal glasses.

Behind the bar is the “Wall of Founders.” Usually, there are photos or commemorative plaques that show who helped make this thing possible, but it was blank. I jokingly asked Kenny if the wall was a work in progress. He directed my eyes to the shelf below the sign that had numerous different beer drinking vessels (a boot, a mason jar with a handle, a antique german lager mug), saying that whenever the founders came in, they would get their beer in their glass on the house. During the 30 minutes I was there, I saw a couple of founders come in and get their beers of choice. It was a pretty awesome thing to see their faces as they admired the creation they helped fund.

Overall, I enjoyed my time there. I think the bar is great and the service is fantastic. But, most of all, it gives drinking a great cause outside of the typical fundraiser. I’ll be visiting again.

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