One of Portland’s older existing beer producers, Laurelwood Brewing, will no longer operate as a full-service restaurant.
On May 24, the business announced on both its social media platforms and website that it would be shifting to counter service only and shrinking the menu—measures that will result in a smaller staff, but keep the Northeast Sandy Boulevard dining room and bar going.
“It is with a mixed bag of emotions that we announce changes happening at our Northeast Portland pub,” the message stated. “We will still be a neighborhood pub, but we are changing our hours and transitioning to a new service model.”
Laurelwood cited high costs as the primary factor in its decision. None of this will affect brewery operations.
You can expect the restaurant to be open normal hours—11 am to 9 pm Sunday through Tuesday and 11 am to 10 pm Wednesday to Saturday—through Tuesday, June 6. The following day, it will operate from 11 am to 3 pm for people at the Portland Rose Festival Junior Parade, whose route is primarily on Sandy. After that, expect a one-day closure on June 8, so that the pub can prepare for its relaunch.
Hours going forward will be 3 to 9 pm daily. Customers can order from a slimmed-down menu at the bar. Laurelwood’s Beer & Burger Wednesday deal is getting nixed in the process as is happy hour—though the website says the latter might return at some point. The restaurant added that “it is likely we will be doing away with liquor,” but more, less-expensive non-beer options are on the horizon.
Laurelwood, which has come to be known as one of the city’s most family-friendly pubs, will keep the play area open. Also sticking around are the hatchet-tossing lanes and instruction by members of Celtic Axe Throwers.
So far, it’s unclear how many people will lose their jobs at Laurelwood, but the company has encouraged other businesses that are looking for hospitality workers to reach out directly. Co-founder Mike De Kalb tells WW that Laurelwood will continue to employ many of its servers, while others have already secured positions elsewhere. He also said the company is allowing people to take extra paid time off during the transition if they have it.
“We are profoundly sad that these changes come with the layoffs of some of our amazing staff,” the post continued. “Losing a job is one of the toughest, scariest moments in life, and if we could keep everyone employed, we would. We wish our departing staff the very best.”
Mike De Kalb and Cathy Woo-De Kalb opened in 2001 in the Hollywood District (later home to Columbia River Brewing and now Pono Brewing). Over the next 10 years, they expanded, with locations in Sellwood, Northwest and Portland International Airport. But these days, the Sandy pub is the sole remaining outpost after rising rents and market saturation took a toll.
Portland has lost a number of its OG beer brands or their restaurants since 2018. That’s when Lompoc began to downsize before it went bust. Portland Brewing closed its outer Northwest pub that same year and then ceased brewing in early 2021. The Widmer Brothers beers are, of course, still with us, but the Gasthaus Pub shuttered in January 2019 and its gift shop quietly stopped sales sometime during the last year.
“To our community, thank you for your love and support over these past 22 years, and now we ask for your continued support and patience as we navigate these new waters,” Laurelwood’s message added.