We Finally Have a Country Music Venue Again

The Showdown just announced plans for line and square dancing lessons on Mondays.

Showdown Saloon (Courtesy of Showdown)

Ever since Duke’s Bar & Grill headed for the final roundup in 2018, Portland proper has lacked a single live music venue dedicated to the nation’s second-most popular genre. But there’s a new sheriff in town.

Hidden a stone’s throw from the Aladdin Theater, The Showdown was forged by local nightlife impresario Frank Faillace in collaboration with bookers Pickathon Presents. They’ve just announced plans for line and square dancing lessons on Mondays.

The space filters easily romanticized Western tropes through the trademark aesthetic of Faillace’s clubs (Dante’s, Star Theater) for a decorous jewel-box honky-tonk of chic shitkickery. For country fans, though, the look of the bar matters less than the fact that it exists at all.

Wandering Outlaws, a fresh-faced, thickly mustached, Highwaymen-fueled country combo hailing from the town of Aurora 30 miles south, took the stage as an opening act last month. The band’s been together for four years but never had much reason to visit Portland.

“This type of music is a bigger thing down there,” explained bassist Mitchell Kauffman. “We’ve done us some county fairs in Eastern Oregon, and we play a lot in Silverton, too—a lot of dive bars. They don’t have the country ambience. I like the vibe here.”

DRINK: The Showdown, 1195 SE Powell Blvd., showdownpdx.com. 5 pm–midnight nightly.

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