All the celebrities are out at Satellite Tavern.
Timber Joey is taking his chain saw to one side of the bar, while the Unipiper holds court on the other. Tonya Harding is there, hanging out with Clyde Drexler, Beyoncé and Homer Simpson. And is that Prince, David Bowie and Roddy Piper? Wait, is this heaven? And if so, when did Gus Van Sant die?
If there's nothing else to say about the new sports bar on North Interstate Avenue, at least its centerpiece mural—a vision of The Last Supper, held over nachos, beer and sliders, with John "the Jesus" Turturro standing in for JC himself—will give patrons plenty to talk about when the Blazers are getting blown out this season, or when the World Series stretches into its 10th straight inning of nothing happening.
But the painting isn't the only conversation starter on the premises. Out back, on the expansive street-side patio, there's a large, red sign old-school Portlanders might recognize from the original Satellite Tavern, a long-running Gresham diner that closed in 2000. And that's not to mention the building's deep-blue paint job, applied after owners James Hall and Josh Johnston decided to abandon their underwhelming Southern restaurant concept, Patton Maryland, earlier this year.
Clearly, Hall and Johnston are determined to make this project stand out. Beyond those aesthetic touches, though, Satellite, at its core, is a fairly standard sports bar. A dozen TVs are strategically placed throughout the wood-and-brick interior, plus two outside. Food consists of staples like wings, pretzel bites and, for the Sunday morning NFL crowd, a hefty breakfast burrito ($11), and the signature cocktails have jocked-up names like the "Man-Mosa" ($7.50), which takes a regular, womanly mimosa and spikes it with bourbon.
Still, it's comfortable enough, and there's always a television in your sightline. And for a middlebrow sports pub, that's really the only bar that needs to be cleared. It's not heaven. But it'll do.
DRINK: Satellite Tavern, 5101 N Interstate Ave., 503-841-6176. 4 pm-midnight Monday-Thursday, 4 pm-2 am Friday, 8:30 am-2 am Saturday, 8:30 am-midnight Sunday.