According to the yellow surfboard in its entryway, Maui's exists along Portland's mythical "North Shore," which must've appeared when the tides of gentrification washed all the black-owned businesses in the Boise-Eliot neighborhood out to sea. Sitting kitty-corner from a farm-fresh New Seasons and a stone's throw from the former LV's Twelve-22—one of the last establishments in the area serving an African-American clientele—Maui's, which opened in 2009, can't help getting caught up in conversations about the whitewashing of North Williams. It's sort of unfair. Yes, the place attracts the young-white-bearded demo, but it doesn't have the pretensions to lead a hipster invasion. The logo is a picture of the owner's dog, for crying out loud.
Inside, it's like someone's attic exploded, suspending random bric-a-brac in zero gravity: Guitars, detached windowpanes and multiple thrift-shop lamps hang from the ceiling, along with a single inflatable killer whale and murals of dolphins, waterfalls and rainbows. A couple of couches surround a coffee table in the center of the room. As of press time, the bar had not yet taken down its Christmas lights, adding to the sneaking suspicion you've stumbled into a really chill frat-house basement.
Don't mistake "chill" for "lazy," though: Maui's maintains 15 taps stocked with old reliables and pours its drinks stiff enough to quell the anxiety of watching the Blazers narrowly survive a home game. What it says on the bar's T-shirt is true: Maui's is "A Bar." But if you do a good enough job of being just that, then that's all you need to be.
- Happy hour: 3-7 pm Monday-Friday. $2.50 well drinks, $3 micros, $1.25 domestics.
- Entertainment: Pool, Moon Race pinball, TV, pingpong, foosball, patio, trivia.