BACK IN BLUE: Kurt Huffman's 99-Oregon-tap beer hall had quite an opening week. Loyal Legion (705 SE 6th Ave, 235-8272, loyallegionpdx.com) had a line down the block when it first cracked the doors of the old Portland Police Athletic Association space, which had long been off-limits to noncops. Inside, they found a rectangular room, with an ass atop every steel drafting stool at the long, blond wood bar and people spilling out of the blue-hued booths on the back walls and out onto the scuffed red floor. Then, the City of Portland stepped in with a veto on a liquor license, because crime rates in the immediate vicinity were too high. Then, after the bar closed, the OLCC said Huffman could have a license after all. Hmm. Well, OK. After being shuttered just a few days, the Legion is back slinging super-cold beers from a tap that pours just above freezing and grilling up sausages from the meatmaker formerly known as Olympic Provisions.
That handful of super-cold beers has some locals pissed—purists insist fine lagers and ales be served warmer so the flavors can bloom—but it's damned pleasant on a 99-Oregon-degree day. The sausages need a better assortment of mustards and the pretzels have a nice, sturdy crumb structure but would benefit from a heavier sprinkle of salt. The bar accepts only cash, but there's an ATM on site. Sausages and all beers cost $6, with pours varying in size based on the cost of the keg. Tipping is, technically, not required as Huffman gives bartenders and servers $15 an hour (the bartender informs me that many customers are leaving a few bucks, anyway). Big things are planned for the upstairs banquet hall, which will be open for special beer events on Sundays. Pending timely approval by the OLCC, of course.