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September 16th, 2009 MICHAEL MANNHEIMER | Bar Reviews
 

Cut And Dry

     
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IMAGE: Vivianjohnson.com

To say that downtown staple Kelly’s Olympian (426 SW Washington St., 228-3669) has a lot of history is an understatement. Open since 1902, it’s actually the third-oldest continually operating bar and restaurant in Portland, a beacon of neon lights, ornamental gas pumps and greasy plates so unpretentious you can park either your bike or your motorcycle outside. So I was a little skeptical about the remodeling of Kelly’s music venue, a dark, smallish room tucked to the left of the bar entrance. Rechristened The Knife Shop (which is different than the The O.C’s fictional “The Bait Shop,” but still a little too close for comfort) in honor of the George and Sons Cutlery business that resided in the space for 40 years, the venue hasn’t changed much—it’s still a dive—but the unusually high stage has been lowered and the sound system fine-tuned. The Knife Shop works because it’s just the right size and separate from the noisy bar, making it easy to skip out for a quick chat and pint of Kelly’s own lager if the band sucks. Just don’t expect too many changes or a new spot to purchase a wedding gift.

 
  • Currently 3.5/5 Stars.
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