825 N Killingsworth St., 503-206-8483. 2 pm-2:30 am daily. Happy hour 4-7 pm daily: $1 off drafts, $5 No Dice burgers.
Established: February 2016
Pop Tavern is full of kitsch, but no trivia—records on the ceiling, old show posters on the distressed brick of the wall, a vintage store's worth of memorabilia on the rear-bar shelving, and a great old-school $6.50 bar burger. The taps, meanwhile, sport a surprising shit-ton of solid local beer, with off-color choices like sours from Culmination or a citrus-zest IPA from Pfriem. On the picnic-tabled rear smoking patio, someone drunk is somehow always talking about their X-RAY FM show—"I spin a lot of dreampop"—while, ponied up at the bar, there's always somebody reminiscing about the days "before all the hipsters," when the place used to be low-down-dirty-dive bar Duckett's.
For a bar explicitly devoted to pop, there's a sense that this, finally, is a place where history is preserved. But the bar also expects something back from its patrons, as advertised by a lit-up indoor marquee that faces only toward the people already drinking. LESS FASHION MORE THRASHIN', the sign might entreat the bar's drinkers. Or, in a tone that seems oddly panicked in such a small space: PLEASE HAMMER DON'T HURT 'EM. But the spirit of this place, smack in the dead-center heart of the North Killingsworth Street bar neighborhood, was best encapsulated by the sign flashing out last December: DON'T HASSLE ME, I'M LOCAL, the sign read.
Bar story: Pop Tavern's owner, Demetri Kassapakis, is the brother of former Bonfire and Charlie Horse owner George Kassapakis—author, in punk band Pan Turismos, of the immortal lyric "Fuck sex, I just wanna make out!" Both are sons of Tony Kassapakis, owner of Tony's Tavern.