IMAGE: Vivian Johnson
It took me about three years to find a “favorite bar” in Portland. But when I first entered dimly lit ex-funeral home the Towne Lounge, I knew I was home. The six months the Towne Lounge was out of my life were agonizing, so imagine my delight at hearing the space had reopened last month as the Ella Street Social Club (714 SW 20th Place, 241-8696). What’s more, the remodeled space has new toys: an incredible jukebox stacked with Guided by Voices and old soul, a pool table and a well-kept “Tales of the Arabian Nights” pinball machine. Am I saying the unthinkable? That my favorite bar just got better? Well, the Ella Street is starting out slow on the live-music front and it doesn’t yet feature an exhaustive collection of canned beer from around the world, so I’m not quite ready to make the call. But one could theoretically play Paul Simon’s Graceland back to back with the Replacements’ Hootenanny, get loaded and drop a high score on a sweet-ass pinball machine for under $20. Can I just move in?