The Oregon Public House (700 NE Dekum St., 828-0884, oregonpublichouse.com) certainly has a catchy slogan: "Have a pint, save the world." The Woodlawn neighborhood watering hole, whose opening has been long delayed and whose religious ties and use of city grant money have raised eyebrows, claims to be the nation's first nonprofit pub. The Public House donates 100 percent of its proceeds (after overhead, of course) to charity—but servers do keep their tips. As bartenders tap at iPads docked in faux rustic wooden mounts, they ask which of eight nonprofits patrons would like to support. So ask yourself: Aid for residents of city dumps in Nicaragua? Improved emotional expression for marginalized youth in Portland? Help for victims of sex trafficking? More trees in metro areas? Donations are logged at the Give-o-Meter, where wooden chips are dropped in clear vials below beefy beer mugs. All I know is that our bill (pints run around $5) went to assisting low-income Oregonians, that my Elysian Trip 16 Farmhouse Rye was deliciously funky, and that my drinking buddy thought the St. Nicholas mural on the exposed-brick wall was either Zeus or Jerry Garcia. I might not have changed the world, but at least I upped my blood alcohol content.
Rebecca Jacobson is a writer from Portland (OK, she was born in Seattle but has been in Oregon since the day after she turned 10) who's also lived in Berlin, Malawi and Rhode Island. While on staff at Willamette Week, she covered theater, film, bikes, drug dealers-turned-barbers and little-known scraps of local history.