A Farewell to Tiga

Goodbye to a bar—and to a neighborhood.

Next Saturday, on September 6, a little bar called Tiga will close after eight years. Most people in Portland never even knew it existed. Maybe you don't, either. But nonetheless, over the next week, a whole bunch of musicians whose names you know quite well will probably stop by the bar to pay their respects. 

The bar owners write on their website:

Tiga is one of the last remaining pieces of the makeshift neighborhood of like-minded businesses formed at the intersection of Northeast 14th Avenue and Prescott Street—a refuge for an art-centric, improvised Portland that had somehow managed to thrive in the gaps between the real estate developers' much better-organized plans. 

Tiga's stock of recalcitrant DJs have always played only to their own obscure obsessions—whether Takamba music from Mali, twee millennial IDM or jagged post-no-wave dance—and its haphazard, infusion-heavy cocktail specials have often seemed like pure day-picnic whimsy. The cigarette-thick patio, where all your buddies insist on sitting even in the winter, just sort of stumbles awkwardly into the parking lot. 

Because it is more like an old friend than a business, most people never really think to ask Tiga to cater to them. The place is a comfort, instead, because it always insists on being stubbornly itself. 

But while Tiga never really changed, its neighborhood did. It currently has precisely none of the same neighbors it had even five years ago.

On the night Tiga pours its last drink, Beacon Sound record store and music label will already be celebrating its grand opening party on North Misssissippi Avenue. Revival Drum Shop has already revived itself on Southeast Ankeny Street. And Podnah's Pit? Well, they moved on up in the world quite some time ago.

If all goes according to plan, the bar will be replaced by a Southern breakfast and lunch spot, Muscadine, to be helmed by a well-pedigreed chef, Laura Rhoman. The block will shift its axis, and cohere instead around the landed new-Portland comforts of upper-middlebrow dining: Andy Ricker's northerly Pok Pok Noi outpost and the rustic-chi-chi gastropub Grain and Gristle are, of course, already right next door.

And who could argue against fine, fine foods and beers? And who hates breakfast? Answer: No one. 

But we will still raise a silly strawberry-habanero-infused glass to that little piece of Portland—neither old nor new—that we'll be losing when Tiga goes dim.