Portland will likely soon have a bar on Southeast Grand Avenue devoted to that great American sweat factory and rock'n'roll icon, the King himself, Elvis "the Pelvis" Presley.
In September 2016, bar owners Warren Boothby and Marcus Archambeault registered a company called ELVIS ROOM LLC at the address of lost, loved double-decker rock dive the East End on Grand Avenue, which died in a fire in August 2014. The windows at the old East End have long been papered over for renovations.
Boothby and Archambeault have been publicly mum, but it's long been an open secret among staffers at Boothby and Archambeault's other locations—as well as among the service and bar support industry as a whole—that the pair were opening a two-story, Elvis-inspired bar at the former East End.
Since the East End's heyday, that Grand Avenue neighborhood has turned into an unholy shit-show of a bar district, stretching from Dig a Pony to Bit House to Slow Bar to Lovecraft, two blocks south of the putative Elvis bar's location.
Archambeault and Boothby may have sold Club 21—which now sits along Sandy Boulevard as a remarkably dense graffiti museum, awaiting demolition and its future life as apartments—but the pair continue their recent run as Portland's most prolific bar revivalists.
In the past two years, Archambeault and Boothby have rehabbed the Sandy Hut, taken over neon-sign museum the Alibi (slightly updating its cocktail menu for the better), and moved the retro-vintage Club 21 beer-and-taxidermy decor to a new Powell Boulevard bar called the Lay Low, which opened in March.
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City records show a storm of permit applications dating back as as far as July for sprinklers, and as recently as March 17 to build out a new basement bar and open out the basement space by removing a shear wall.
Multiple sources say Boothby and Archambeault have taken to calling the bar the "E Room," and that the upstairs bar will house a white-on-white glam-Graceland aesthetic, while the downstairs will be more of a dirty '70s affair. The two stories will thus pay tribute to Elvis' eternal duality—Colonel Tom vs. the King, Old vs. Young, Vegas vs. Graceland, rock vs. gospel and sinner vs. saint.
Co-owner Marcus Archambeault have declined comment on the ongoing project—but might we suggest a bar cockatoo?