2131 SE 11th Ave., 503-231-2809, associatedpdx.com. 3 pm-midnight Sunday-Thursday, 3 pm-2:30 am Friday-Saturday.
Established: October 10, 2016
I might never fully get past the loss of P.R.E.A.M. The Biggie-bumpin' Neapolitan pizzeria shuttered last summer after just 15 months, dragged under by turbulent staff changes and a quick hook from its ownership group. It was not only a blow to those who love pizza, classic hip-hop and boomboxes, but to anyone who wants to see this city become aesthetically diverse, instead of continuing as one big Cracker Factory churning out whimsy and woolen caps. So there's something bittersweet about Associated, the cozy Buckman pizza pub that took over the space in October. Nick Ford is still making perfect pies in a wood-fired Gianni Acunto oven. They're a little cheaper now, and ordered from a bartender in sharp glasses and a Ramones T-shirt.
The space is largely the same, except for prominent new lighting fixtures and new paintings. The back room, where the wood is stacked, now has a massive projector screen showing notable games. On the other hand, the cocktails are now budget-grade blends of midshelf liquor and soda over lots of ice, and the beer list is basically what gets auto-shipped to any inner-Southeast bar. Still, it's a warm room with the best bar pizza Portland has ever seen.
Bar story: Once upon a time, when P.R.E.A.M. was new and the state wasn't being stupid about cannabis laws, WW hosted a super-cool pizza-and-weed-pairing party where people smoked up before coming here for pies. We know the party was cool because Vice re-created it for a TV segment.