Kelly’s Olympian is a Bizarro World Disneyland With Motororcycles on the Ceiling

Awash in neon, from the elaborate marquee out front through the memorabilia in the back, Kelly’s is a singular bar.

(Christine Dong)

426 SW Washington St., 503-228-3669,, 10 am-2 am daily.
Happy hour 4-7 pm daily, 11 pm-1 am Sunday-Thursday.

Established: 1902

Though it's lived much of its life as a tourist attraction—115 years on the planet and a phalanx of motorcycles suspended from the ceiling tends to do that to a place—Kelly's Olympian is first and foremost a drinking bar. In the early afternoon, its booths are half-full with people accustomed to an early-afternoon tipple; the former cardroom in the back is stocked with devotees worshipping video-poker altars. On weekends, Kelly's transforms into a rollicking mishmash of out-of-towners and a curious amount of people dressed like Nikki Sixx.

(Emily Joan Greene)

According to our bartender, they're here either to blast down beers (from one of 24 taps), shots or Jack-and-Cokes before heading toward Old Town, or to enjoy live music in the adjunct concert venue formerly known as the Knife Room. Awash in neon, from the elaborate marquee out front through the memorabilia in the back, Kelly's is a singular bar, one you might visit in a Bizarro World Disneyland where Goofy is drunk and Minnie is chain-smoking Marlboro reds in skintight black jeans.

Bar story: Kelly's holds the honor of having the ur-Portland bar story: the piss troughs. Back in Portland's halcyon days as a rough-'n'-tumble blue-collar town, Kelly's was rumored to have a built-in aqueduct in the bar against which lumberjacks and steelworkers could relieve themselves while waiting for the next drink. "We weren't always the most female-friendly establishment," our bartender remarked.

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