A reliable way to tell if you're becoming an Old Portlander is checking yourself when you wonder out loud what happened to your favorite dive bar. If the bar that replaced it has itself already been flipped, effectively piling yet another layer of dirt on the casket, then you're well on your way to complaining about the transplants who arrived after you and putting $10 worth of Dead Moon on the barely functioning jukebox.
But there's not a lot to complain about at Tulip Shop Tavern, the new business located in the old Pop Tavern that replaced the decaying corpse of Duckett's Public House in early 2016.
Named after a defunct St. Johns bakery, the Tulip makes a respectable effort not to be the kind of place fuckboys end up drinking at ironically because it's "hella sketch." Former owner Demetri Kassapakis already rebuilt the space from the ground up, so the subtle touches put in place by new owners Devon and Tyler Treadwell—a husband-and-wife duo with a collective résumé that includes stints at Higgins, Cascade Barrel House and Saraveza—are more to assuage the fears of old regulars than to attract boorish fresh blood.
Aside from the black-light mural and the crackle of peanut shells underfoot, the most noticeable upgrade is the revamped beer menu. Tyler Treadwell's vision of the beer world he advanced down the street at Saraveza is put to good use here, with a draft list heavy on buzzy brews from local breweries like Wayfinder and Ruse. On subsequent visits, there were also handles pouring impeccably clean lagers and oak-aged saisons from popular Washington breweries Chuckanut and Holy Mountain.
Likely to be the biggest surprise to Duckett's diehards trapped in time is the food menu, which centers on hearty sandwiches with a German twist. All are served à la carte, which means a juicy Tavern Burger registers as a steal at only $6. Our top pick is the schnitzel sandwich, which dresses a tender slab of breaded pork loin with a creamy slurry of curry ketchup and crispy pickled cabbage. It's only $9 on its own, though you'll probably want to shell out the extra $2 for a side of tender, coarse-cut steak fries. It's a nosh that goes down well with all that German beer.
And if saisons and schnitzel aren't your thing, the Treadwells make it easy enough to ignore the New Portland flair and pretend you're pickling your liver in a dimly lit shithole just like the good old days. There's $3 Rainier on tap and free peanuts to snack on while you ponder your existence with a pack of smokes on the patio, and not a moment of your visit will be disturbed by the niceties of the modern world if you choose not to be bothered. It ain't Duckett's either, and thank God for that.
DRINK: Tulip Shop Tavern, 825 N Killingsworth St., 503-206-8483,
tulipshoptavern.com. 3 pm-2 am daily.