For 30 years, the Trap (3805 SE 52nd Ave., 503-777-6009) has been Southeast Foster's unchanging home to cheap-ass breakfast and dirtbag karaoke. But after passing on to a new generation of family, the bar caught a major overhaul last month.
Anyone used to entering through the parking lot will immediately be confused by an enclosed patio surrounding what was once the main entrance. You now enter at the bar's proper entrance on 52nd avenue, and the interior resembles an inversion of its prior self, with a marble-topped bar flanked by three televisions: two for sports and one for the CCTV that keeps parking-lot shenanigans to a minimum. What once was a dimly lit backroom used only for karaoke is now the Coors Light- and Fireball-dispensing heart of a cohesive whole, with a wide open panorama of the entire establishment.
But despite the upgrades, those worried New Portland has come for the Trap can calm themselves. This is still the Trap, and there was plenty to behold on a recent Halloween visit—including a guy with frosted tips and a hunter-orange Superman tee mumbling his way through Tracy Chapman's 1988 hit "Fast Car" just feet away from a disgruntled woman with an oxygen tank at a video lottery machine.
Once the kind of place where your estranged alcoholic father would buy you breakfast, the Trap now feels like that weird bar in the suburbs your friends from high school settle on for an annual evening of bad decisions the night before Thanksgiving. The Trap has grown up a bit, and so have you.