The original Bitter End Pub was a dim, dirty dive that germinated an army of Portland Timbers soccer fans, and when it closed in 2013, some keened deeply for bygone days of no-pity minor-league soccer and half-remembered overnight stays during overseas World Cup matches. Others remembered that it always kind of smelled like a septic tank.
Well, the Bitter End is back, revived by a squad of soccer fans alongside former Violetta owner Dwayne Beliakoff. It's now a pleasant theme-park version of a Portland soccer pub: The softwood bar's underside is wrapped in corrugated aluminum, the walls are tiled with fake woodpiles and flat-screen TVs, and the space between the restrooms contains a faux wall of player lockers. A battery of clocks tells the time, with varying accuracy, at the sites of historical World Cups.
Meanwhile, more than 20 beer taps crowd the space behind the bar, with an extremely strong preference for IPAs, lagers and Pilsners. Beliakoff has also installed a raw-oyster bar and fancy hamburgers on puffy buns. The men's room contains a chalkboard on which fans scrawl game-day predictions and ask the important questions of the day: "Where is Richie Marquez?" Another chalk enthusiast scrawled the words "ABE MAKES GOOD CIDER," referring to Cider Riot's Abram Goldman-Armstrong.
The bar's resurgent popularity among superfans paradoxically makes it a relaxing place to watch soccer on home-match days. Ten minutes before the game, the entire overcrowding Timbers Army departs for the stadium, leaving behind an equally formidable army of service staff with nothing to do but ask you what you'd like.