Pro-Skater-Owned Cat’s Paw Saloon is a Refuge of Punky Sanity on Division Street

The patio decorated with twinned black-and-white skateboards: the deck of LOVE and the deck of HATE.

Former pro skater Mickey Reyes once got kicked off a plane in Detroit for rabbit-punching skater Tony Trujillo over and over. He took out one of Jim Thiebaud's teeth with a knife. He told Vice he used to keep a loaded gun in every room in the house, and had "way too many knives." But now? He's got a nice little bar called Cat's Paw Saloon (3565 SE Division St., 503-719-5189) in a former shoe-repair shop on Division Street. "I know he's got a bad boy reputation," says our bartender. "But I haven't seen it."
Sure, there are remnants of the bad old days—a Dogtown poster signed by everyone who matters, skull art on the walls and some Spitfire skate-wheel coasters advertising joke beers named after pro-skater friends of Reyes, whether Justin Brock Bock or Cardi-ale Pale. But tiny, wood-grained Cat's Paw is otherwise a pretty chill place.

And on chichi Division Street, it's a refuge of slightly punky sanity, already evolving into a service-industry hang for the type of kitchen staff who like their Jack Daniels with a mini-grenade of High Life. There's Pfriem pilsner on the taps and Stiegl Radler in the fridge, and refreshing $9 cocktails with hints of lavender in them. There's also a nice, half-covered patio out back decorated with twinned black-and-white skateboards: the deck of LOVE and the deck of HATE.

It’s the sort of place where the bartender acts as a cheerful concierge for a visiting couple from Alabama, and also knows a passing homeless man by name, waving sweetly as he walks by. “He actually got cleaned up and got an apartment recently,” she says, sadly, since that situation didn’t endure. She then recounts a tale of waking up a nodding heroin-couple in a parked car during a heat wave, to tell them to crack their windows so they don’t die.

(Emily Joan Greene)
(Emily Joan Greene)

Between Cat’s Paw and punk-rock pizzeria Atlas across the street, plus the always-closed goth bookstore next door, Division Street still hangs on to some old Portland grit, even if here it comes scented with lavender. 

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