Sandy Hut: Bar Rescue


"Whooooooooa!" A dozen heads turn toward the potbellied man in the white NASCAR hat and Jimmy Buffett tour T-shirt standing in the doorway. "I like the light in here!" At last, they've let the sunshine in at Sandy Hut (1430 NE Sandy Blvd., 235-7972), and even the blue-collar regulars can't complain. In March, when the owners of Club 21 took over the 92-year-old purple box a half-mile west, Portland pre-emptively grumbled—never mind that there's little that could've been done to ruin "Handy Slut" that it hadn't already done to itself. It was a dark, charmless place, earning landmark status only because it managed to go almost a century without getting bulldozed. A bougie makeover, in this case, might've been an improvement. But what Marcus Archambeault and Warren Boothby have done is less a full-scale remodel than the sort of rearrangement a mother might give her son's bedroom after he finally moves out: scrub the stink out of the carpets, move some furniture around, and open a damn window. The integrity of Sandy Hut, such as it was, has been maintained, except now that the paint has been cleaned off the glass bricks at the rear end of the building, you can actually see it: the vintage beer schwag; the Playboy pinball machine; the pool table with lion heads carved into the corners; the awesome Al Hirschfeld mural, now prominently displayed. Once the sort of dive where Don Draper would go to drink himself to death, it could now be his rec room. Not everything survived the changeover. Shuffleboard is gone, and live music—which briefly re-energized the bar toward the end of its previous iteration—doesn't appear to be in the cards. Change isn't always seamless. But sometimes, it's necessary. Whoa, indeed.


WWeek 2015

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