When eastside punk bar the Know finally died for good last year, a piece of Portland's soul went with it.
That probably sounds melodramatic, and you don't need to be told this city has a tendency to over-romanticize any place that was here before everyone else seemed to be. But in this case, it wasn't just the closing that stung—it was the specific, dispiriting circumstances of the closure: priced off Alberta, its home for more than a decade, the bar reopened on Sandy Boulevard, only to close following a dispute between the owner and his employees that left a permanent stain on its memory.
Around that same time, another noisy shoebox opened in the far-flung Brentwood-Darlington neighborhood. Maybe everyone was too bummed to notice—or maybe, being out in Portland's deep south, it flew under the collective radar—but Misdemeanor Meadows makes a decent way station for displaced punks who've spent the last year and a half with no place else to go.
It's small enough that you start sweating even when there isn't a band on the shin-high stage tucked into a back corner. Walk in at any given moment and you'll hear either the Misfits, Minor Threat or Dead Kennedys within minutes. There are comic book pages lacquered into the bartop, and images of idols like Lemmy and GG Allin hang on the walls. Drinks are limited to shots, beer and stiff cocktails, and there's a small food menu of Mexican staples. There are two pinball machines, both Star Trek-themed, and arcade games in the back.
Of course, the thing that's missing is that time-worn feeling: The vinyl booths still look fresh out of their cellophane, and while the restroom doors are adorned with goofy black light art—including a urinating alien—the walls inside are just starting to get their first coating of graffiti. But that's what's great about a "new punk bar." The Know was a shithole for so long no one remembers how it got so dingy in the first place. Now, we have a chance to see a place get thrashed in real time.
DRINK: Misdemeanor Meadows, 6920 SE 52nd Ave., 503-206-8556, misdemeanor-meadows.business.site. 4 pm-2 am Monday-Thursday, 2 pm-2 am Friday-Sunday.