The Raven arrived under cover of night, the spirit of long-lost Tonic perched upon the signpost out on Sandy. Briefly, there had been Panic. Or, at least, Panic Room: Caution High Volume Bar—the name it was christened by the devil Jon Taffer, host of the TV show Bar Rescue.
But when booker Chris Trumpower took over—he also books Dekum haunt the High Water Mark—he found the Panic Room branding was getting in the way of his efforts to book bands.
So, in August, it became The Raven (3100 NE Sandy Blvd., 503-238-0543, theravenpdx.com). Since then, it hasn't flown far from what the Tonic was for years: a witch-house home to doom and punk and dark rock and EDM odds and ends.
It is also home to a regular crowd that maybe haunted Old Town clubs at the turn of the millennium but now band together here in crisp-brimmed hats and "Blackout Boyz" T-shirts. They introduce themselves as "Jai" or "Messy Jessy" or "London." The Sharpie graffiti again covers the restroom walls alongside the residue of band stickers on the mirrors, and the walls remain panic-room gray. The bacon and blue-cheese burger is back on the menu, and three people were eating it, always with tots.
One Sunday, you might find the bar briefly closed for cleanup after hundreds of scantily clad hairy men took over the place for a naughty Beardlandia afternoon. A punk show was scheduled later in the night in the backroom venue that's been newly equipped with a thumping sound system.
And on a recent Thursday, the front-room DJ's trap set was lit by epileptic seizure-inducing strobes, lottery machines and the faint light from an Avengers pinball machine in the pool-tabled game room. The pool table was always occupied, the dance floor less so. One woman danced in platform sneaks on the carpeted floor—slowly, so as to conserve her energy. It was going to be a long night, and she had no plans of stopping.