Raucous karaoke dive Chopsticks II—a staple of its East Burnside neighborhood—will close after a 20-year run.
You'll have some time to give it a proper send-off, however: The club's lease doesn't expire until August 2015, at which point the property owner won't allow bar owner David Chow to renew.
âDavidâs been with us a long time,â says Lisa Lucas, president of property management company Jema Bitar. âHeâs been a great tenant. This is a neighborhood thatâs developing.â In addition to apartment and condo construction, a number of new businesses have transformed Chopsticks' section of East Burnside in recent yearsâincluding Heart Coffee, Davenport, Luce, Pix Patisserie, and a host of shops along both Burnside and 28th Avenue.
Lucas says she has no definite plans for the East Burnside Street property, but ruled out placing apartments or condos there—like, for example, the high-rise residences just finished next to Chopsticks. However, she feels the company could now make more money with a different business on the property.
According to staff, Chow is searching for a new location for another Chopsticks but hasn't yet been able to find a suitable location, leaving only Northeast Columbia Boulevard's Chopsticks III location.
The original Chopsticks (now defunct) and Chopsticks II have been a not-so-guilty pleasure for a number of Portland musicians over the years, including Elliott Smith and members of Sleater-Kinney. In a New York Times article about Portland karaoke published in January 2013, former Sam Adams spokesperson (and former WW staffer) Caryn Brooks recalled seeing Elliott Smith perform Billy Joel's "It's Still Rock and Roll to Me."
Our review of Chopsticks II in this year's bar guide:
Chopsticks II, the sequel to a karaoke bar that no longer exists, is a 19-year institution of terrible Chinese food, stiff drinks and singers of unpredictable talent and predictable slushiness, from punkers belting Belinda Carlisle to Greshamites wavering their way through a sincerely ruinous rendition of Adele. And then thereâs the broom-bearded old manâmissing a few teeth and a little bit of facial controlâwho sings a heartbreaking version of Louie Armstrongâs âWhat a Wonderful World.â He might as well be proclaiming, sweetly, that Jesusâ blood never failed him. Heâs there almost every week. Still, Chopsticksâ true stalwart is owner David Chow, whose disembodied face smiles from the barâs T-shirts and on a cardboard cutout by the karaoke decks. âHow can be?â he wonders. âHow can be?â