Guarded by a wheelchair ramp big enough to double as a castle moat, Loon (2865 SE Division St., 503-477-9470, loonpdx.com) has become an unlikely thing since opening in March: an outpost of old Division Street tucked discreetly amid the new.
The neutral-toned box of a space is more improvised than made-to-order, still recognizable as the Bluetooth speaker store it once was. But like equally improvised Eugenio's down the street—which held a parade declaring the death of Old Portland when it shut its doors last year—the owners of Loon are now booking blues, soul and bluegrass for a disparate neighborhood crowd that ranges from biker to soccer fan to well-meaning granola.
Sunday is always jazz, a recent Wednesday was bingo night, and when Dead & Company played, the bar streamed it live on a projected screen. Seven bucks will get you a pint glass filled with brandied sangria, and $5 brings a pint of craft beer—but mysteriously, only 8 ounces of Hop Venom, as if it were a double shot and not a double IPA.
Meanwhile, a burger, brisket or pulled-pork sandwich goes for a mere $7, a lower-cost lunch than you're likely to find at the food carts of Tidbit across the street. But food from Tidbit is welcome at the bar, and there's a sign telling you so. Really, Loon has a heartening sense of community in an often-antiseptic part of the city whose food-tourist economy makes all notions of community confusing at best. Think of it as a locals' bar in a rich beach town, but with better beer.
Related: A Guide to Division Street