Magic Garden will soon be no more.
The longtime, iconic Old Town strip club—always twinned to Mary's as long-running doyennes of Portland's famed strip scene—will have its last night on Dec. 31.
Founded in the 1960s as a lesbian club, Chinatown's Magic Garden evolved into as much a coed hangout as a strip club, a place where nude dancing coincided happily with lunch-hour discounts or a game of pool, and the music selection ran from Violent Femmes to Tom Waits to Kurt Vile. The bar has been presided over for more than 20 years by retirement-age bar manager Patty Wright, onetime owner of Patty's Royal Cafe, a beloved and prickly presence almost as well known to old-time Portlanders as the bar itself.
According to staff, the lease expires at the end of the year and the building's owner declined to let them renew—all other tenants in the building have also vacated, pointing to probable development of the over 100-year-old building. Owner Everett Moore had negotiated with the owners to stay in the location until the end of the year, says bar staff.
Magic Garden will join a long list of closures this year of decades-old Portland bars, including the Matador, Produce Row, the Gypsy, Pal's Shanty and—potentially this November—Slabtown.
In 2012's Mayoral Madness contest, Magic Garden's Patty Wright beat Stumptown founder Duane Sorenson in a bracketed, reader-voted tournament to decide which non-politician should become Portland's next mayor; she lost only to Timothy Hutton, the eventual winner.
Timothy Hutton is no longer in Portland. Soon, Magic Garden won't be either.