One of Portland's most beloved beer bars and an iconic downtown hang, Bailey's Taproom, is gone for good.
News of the closure, first reported by Brewpublic, has dashed the hopes of every beer lover in town for a potential 2021 relaunch. When owner Geoff Phillips shut the doors on the Southwest Broadway business last September, it was possible the closure would be temporary—and that we'd see taps flowing once again sometime this year, when either the temperatures warmed enough to draw patio guests or the pandemic eased up.
Unfortunately, COVID-19 caseloads have only worsened, and Bailey's just couldn't make it until an unknown spring or summer reopening date.
"It's hard for me to come up with the words to describe how shitty I feel about closing it down," Phillips tells WW. "It was not an easy decision, just one that felt forced upon me."
The entire building has been sold to a new owner, including the second-floor space known as the Upper Lip, which had become a popular venue for standup comedy just prior to the global health crisis.
It's not clear what will become of the property and whether anything will emerge there anytime soon. The blocks surrounding Bailey's are filled with empty hotels, office high-rises and restaurants with their windows papered over. Pandemic safety measures have transformed the city's core into a ghost town in less than a year.
When Bailey's opened in 2007, the concept of a taproom focused solely on regional craft beers was still somewhat novel in Portland. The bar eventually became known for its stellar lineup of rotating taps, and was sought out by both tourists and locals. It also served as host for popular events, like the New Oregon Breweries Showcase during Portland Beer Week and Brewpublic's annual KillerBeerFest.
Once COVID-19 mandated closures across Oregon last March, Bailey's pivoted to beer delivery in the metro area, before eventually reopening to customers onsite when Multnomah County entered Phase 1. But without office workers and out-of-state visitors, business never returned to a sustainable level.