Chopsticks II Will Close

Landlord will not renew karaoke bar's lease in August.

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.

“David’s been with us a long time,” says Lisa Lucas, president of property management company Jema Bitar. â€œHe’s been a great tenant. This is a neighborhood that’s developing.” In addition to apartment and condo construction, a number of new businesses have transformed Chopsticks' section of East Burnside in recent years—including 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:

Those T-shirts, which feature Chow with the thought balloon "How Can Be?", are still available.

Correction 10:52 am: The property management company that owns the new residences next door is not the same as Chopsticks' landlord. WW regrets the error.

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