Two Great Tastes: Hillbilly's Glass and Growler Station

When people walk into Hillbilly's in Montavilla, they just can't believe it exists. It probably makes too much sense to seem real: a beer-growler bar and head shop separated only by a little door next to the tap handles. The shared patio offers the promise of a fine Saturday of back-porch Portland living. It's also quite possibly Oregon's first growler-slash-head shop. (Believe it or not, Greenville, S.C., and Lynnwood, Wash., also have them.)

Hillbilly's won't be confused for one of the sleek new weed shops popping up in the Pearl and inner Southeast—it's a rough-hewn space with pot magazines by the door. The 11 taps play host to a rotating cast of all-local ciders and beers ($10-$14 for a 64-ounce growler, or $3-$4 a pint), while the glass shop's wares range from vape pens to a goofball array of hand pipes and bubblers made mostly by local artists, with stems shaped like a swirling snake or bowls made to look like a blood-red skull.

Hargrove and partner Jeff Toates, both in their early 50s, are medical-marijuana patients, and they'd always wanted to start their own glass shop and marijuana lounge. But in a business location that might as well come with an expiration stamp—hosting a procession of tattoo shops and cafes, a barbecue pit and a chiropractor—they were in danger of losing their dream after just six months. With business slow, they decided to diversify their portfolio with a tavern license.

"Jeff and his buddies are really big on the beer," Hargrove says, "so he decided to bring it in." Toates had also helped open the original incarnation of St. Johns stoner beer bar Plew's Brews. Hargrove built a growler station, with bar stools that adjust up and down like barber's chairs.

"We didn't have money to get advertising," she says. "We were hoping the locals would find us."

They did. Hillbilly's can now pay its bills, and Hargrove and Toates eventually hope to open a second shop in their home neighborhood of St. Johns. Although the glass and growler shops are technically separate, a lot of people make use of both.

"I carry papers, so they'll want papers," Hargrove says. "After we close [the glass shop] at 7, you come in through the back."

GO: Hillbilly's, 7631 NE Glisan St., 719-6383, 11 am-11 pm Monday-Saturday, 11 am-3 pm Sunday. Glass shop closes at 7 pm.

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