Goths, ghost hunters and self-professed geeks who count down the days until Halloween are about to get a bar that seems tailor-made to match their inner darkness.
Raven’s Manor, a cocktail lounge designed to look like a haunted mansion, is preparing to welcome its first customers through the doors in late April—barring any last-minute hitches with construction.
The new business is located inside the historic Henry Failing Building at Southwest 1st Avenue and Oak Street. That site was previously home to WW's 2018 Bar of the Year, the dance club No Vacancy, which closed two years ago due to a legal dispute with the landlord.
With the elevated DJ booth and disco ball now gone, the 135-year-old structure and its original brickwork appear to be the perfect backdrop for a venue that's aiming to invite Portlanders to drink inside mashup of a macabre villa and a mad scientist's laboratory.
Images posted on the bar's Facebook page already reveal some of the new themed adornments, including gargoyles, candelabras, and specimens of questionable origin preserved in glass jars. There is even a series of wall-mounted taps in the shape of human skulls that will dispense beer, cocktails and mocktails.
If you picture a regal mansion straight out of the classic board game Clue that’s been gussied up for All Hallows’ Eve, you’ll begin to get the idea—complete with the appearance of at least one dead body in a corner.
"While we do want to make it dark and spooky, the overall ambience of the place is one that can be enjoyed by really anyone," co-owner Rebecca Vega tells WW, "whether you live the dark and spooky lifestyle everyday, or just want to experience it for a night."
Vega and her business partner, Jared Bradley, have also managed to concoct a backstory for the Manor that's every bit as detailed as the interior décor. As the tale goes, namesake Dr. Raven was a prominent elite known for his lavish parties, which were actually a ruse.
"All the while," Vega explains, "he was secretly kidnapping victims and taking them down to his laboratory for human experimentation."
While the bartenders at Raven's won't be in the business of abducting humans, there will be an opportunity to take part in some experiments if you so choose. In a month or two, the bar is scheduled to start accepting reservations for an "Elixir Experience," where guests are asked to solve clues throughout the property and then use everything from chemistry equipment to cauldrons to create custom drinks.
As is the case with a number of Portland's Old Town-Chinatown buildings, Bradley says the haunted theme may be augmented by the presence of wayward spirits at Raven's. So far, there have been reports of "strange sounds" late at night along with motion-sensitive cameras recording movement long after everyone's gone home.
But if the thought of potential supernatural activity doesn't scare you, surely the bar's creepy rehomed doll courtesy of Unsettling Toys will do the trick.