The dimly red-lit Matador bar on West Burnside—for over 40 years a mainstay in Portland among cheery degenerates—will close on Friday, September 12.
This will continue a rapid-fire spate of Old Portland bar closures in recent weeks, including Tiga, Produce Row, and the some of the last holdouts in the West End gay bar district—the complex that included Sand Bar, Fez and Boxxes.
The Matador bears no relation whatsoever to Casa Del Matador restaurants—though cheekier bartenders did occasionally offer free appetizers to presumably misdirected callers asking for reservations. Bar owner Casey Maxwell is, however, also owner of Southeast Belmont bar The Conquistador.
He announced the Matador's closure on the bar's Facebook page at 6:09 pm, Sept. 10. Staff had been informed weeks earlier that the bar was likely to close. Maxwell writes:
The bar has served as a drunken bridge between wholehearted dives like nearby Marathon Taverna and Tony's Tavern and the tonier bar district around 21st Avenue—a rare open-armed border crossing. There's perhaps no better description of the Matador than in Maxwell's own words, in a press release he sent out in 2006 when he bought the place from its previous owner, Angelo Marchi:
Godspeed, Matador. As Ernest Hemingway once wrote, âNobody ever lives their life all the way up except bull-fighters.â