IMAGE: Matt D’Annunzio
The same quandary confronts all West Coast sports bars: When all the contests are concluded by 10 pm—10:30, if a Pac-10 game goes to overtime—how do they keep the beer-sodden spectators in their seats for the four remaining drinking hours? Reruns of SportsCenter are only good for 45 minutes, max.
Claudia’s (3006 SE Hawthorne Blvd., 233-7243), the dowager of Portland sports pubs, has devised a resourceful solution: After the last out, the bar switches to karaoke, projecting lyrics onto its largest screen. It’s an ingenious idea, not least because it allows crestfallen fans the chance to constructively vent. (After the Tampa Bay Rays’ game-six loss to the Boston Red Sox on Saturday night, a gloomy-looking guy in a blue shirt kicked off the singalong with some grunge growling.) If the invention hasn’t quite caught on yet (the room still empties by 11), Claudia’s needn’t worry: It continues to pack ‘em in with high-definition TVs, cheap pints and—its claim to fame—high-backed green captain’s chairs lining the bar.
“Everybody can be a queen at Claudia’s,” a weekend patron remarked and, yes, the vinyl thrones were the perfect vantage point to watch the decline and fall of the Red Sox empire.