If there's one thing the past year has taught food and beverage purveyors, it's that teamwork can be a viable option to not just survive the pandemic but potentially thrive.
Three familiar entities in Portland's hospitality scene are ready to give collaboration a try. Pono Brewing, Filipino restaurant Magna, and Mixtress Natasha Mesa—formerly of cocktail bar Deadshot—have formed Bit House Collective, which simultaneously revives the popular Southeast Grand Avenue bar of the same name.
"As we don't have a taproom of our own, this long-term takeover of Bit House will allow fans to find all our beers in one place," Pono's sales manager, Erick Russ, stated in a press release. "With the island influence in a lot of our beers, Magna's food and Natasha's cocktails fit perfectly with how we like our beers to be experienced."
Pono is no stranger to forming partnerships. Head brewer Larry Clouser first launched the brand as a contract brewery—he would use the equipment at Zoiglhaus Brewing on Southeast 92nd Avenue to churn out his many tropical-themed beers. In 2018, Pono purchased two of its own custom-designed, 20-barrel fermenters from Practical Fusion and ultimately worked to change state laws allowing the business to operate as an alternating proprietorship with Zoiglhaus—essentially an arrangement that allows both to take turns using the physical premises.
Starting March 3, you'll be able to find an initial lineup of five Pono brews at Bit House Collective, including a hazy IPA dry hopped with Idaho 7 that's also doused with juicy mangos, as well as a farmhouse ale using the same botanicals as Aria Gin.
Those who've missed Magna's menu after the Southeast Clinton Street restaurant went on hiatus last year will once again be able to dig into Carlo Lamagna's food. The Philippines-born chef is bringing back favorites like lumpia and sisig, a traditional chopped pork dish that dates back to the 1700s, while also introducing diners to some new indulgent creations. Need to hunker down with a fatty, comfortin' concoction to get you through the global health crisis? Lamagna's crab fat gravy waffle fries and a hamburgesa topped with crispy cheese and fermented habanero sound like they'll do the trick.
Bit House Collective is preparing to open with indoor and outdoor dining. All operations will strictly adhere to COVID-19 safety guidelines.