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July 11th, 2012 12:01 am RUTH BROWN | Bar Reviews

The Jack London Bar: Chic Lit

music_clublist_3836JACK LONDON BAR - IMAGE: Mike Grippi
After walking through a brightly lit hall of middle-aged men playing pool and watching UFC, it’s vaguely disconcerting to descend a staircase and suddenly find yourself in a dim room full of effete art-school kids selling zines, spinning glam rock on vinyl and doing spoken-word performances before a backdrop of crudely drawn penises. Somehow The Jack London Bar (529 SW 4th Ave., 228-7605), the resurrected basement lounge below the dingy Rialto, has established itself as the new downtown darling of Portland’s alt-lit crowd, quietly playing host to lectures, readings and art shows while scary dudes with big bellies play video poker upstairs. Dark, grungy and graffitied, the bar suggests an edgier scene, but the Instagramming audience sipping box wine says otherwise. Still, something about the Jack London feels slightly illicit, like the folks upstairs might suddenly appear, brandishing their pool cues, to chase everyone back across Burnside.
  • Currently 3.5/5 Stars.
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