IMAGE: Eliza Sohn
In two years, MLK nightspot the Kiknbaque Lounge had established itself as one of the karaoke scene’s best-kept secrets: a melting-pot sing-along around a communal table. It might have become a Portland institution, if not for the pesky complaints to the OLCC. So the Kiknbaque closed and reopened this spring as Local Lounge (3536 NE Martin Luther King Jr. Blvd., 282-1833). The remodel has preserved the bar’s 1920s-vintage beer cooler, but surrounded it with the kind of tasteful decor traditionally associated with a condominium lobby. (Behind the pool table sits the city’s swankest Keno room, complete with swank matching hardback chairs.) Food—such as Gortons-quality fried fish fillets ($7)—arrives on square porcelain platters. On Easter Sunday, the barback sang along to the Internet jukebox and chatted with the clientele (still a multicultural lot, but better heeled) as he leafed through The Bartender’s Bible. At one point it emerged that he had been the general contractor on the renovation, and—the economy being what it is—he never left.