February 25th, 2014 | by Matthew Korfhage and Aaron Mesh Food & Drink |

The Gypsy Restaurant and Lounge Has Closed

Decades-old watering hole was famed for its goldfish races, noise complaints.

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The Gypsy Restaurant and Lounge closed suddenly on February 20, ending a run of at least two decades as a disco-balled Nob Hill dive offering fishbowls of booze.

The club has posted a sign saying its owner, Concept Entertainment, has decided to sell. The Gypsy immediately deleted both its Facebook page and its website last week. The bar's cached web page still advertised Mardi Gras parties scheduled for March 1 and 4.

The space, complete with furniture, is now being offered up for long-term lease.

The Gypsy, instantly recognizable along Northwest 21st Avenue for its karaoke, bouncers and wobbling smokers, has played an odd role in regional booze politics: It sparked an two-decade feud between Mayor Charlie Hales and the Oregon Liquor Control Commission.

In 1994, then-City Commissioner Hales and then-Mayor Vera Katz wanted to shut down the Gypsy because of noise complaints, assaults and drunken behavior in the street. The OLCC said no.

Hales resumed the fight soon after entering the mayor’s office last year, by asking the OLCC to set a 10 pm curfew for bar patios within city limits. That didn't work either. 

The Gypsy was already a neighborhood standby in 1992, when new ownership Concept Entertainment took over. Concept also owns the Dixie Tavern, the Lotus, the Thirsty Lion and Grand Central Bowl.

"It's the kind of place where you can go with your sophisticated friends and look at the Daddy-O decor,'' neighborhood resident Melissa Rossi told The Oregonian then. "Or you can go on a date and snuggle in a corner where the lighting is low. And if you want to meet new people you can stroll through there and see people whose faces you've never seen before, which is a rare thing in Portland.''

More recently, in May of last year, the bar was clipped by a giant falling tree in a windstorm. The bar also became known for its goldfish racing tournaments, starting in 2010. 

"I do wish people could find different ways to entertain themselves," an Oregon Humane Society spokesperson told the Oregonian at the time.

Concept Entertainment have not responded to repeated requests for comment. Here's the sign at the door: 

IMAGE: Kathleen Marie

 
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