Longtime Greek tavern Berbati is being sold, ending 30 years of stewardship by the Papaioannou family.
"We just want to preserve Portland's downtown," said Faillace, when WW called after discovering the liquor license application marking the sale. Faillace says they don't plan to change the name of the bar; in fact, they don't plan to change anything at all.
Berbati has been an important fixture on the Portland scene since it expanded to include music in 1993 at Berbati's Pan, where it hosted some of the city's most memorable shows. Berbati's Pan stopped the music in 2010, and that space is currently split between Voodoo Doughnut's kitchen and the Kit Kat Club stages.
Ted Papaioannou, who founded Berbati in 1985, was a beloved fixture in the Old Town bar and venue scene—and the Papaioannous were one of multiple Greek families who helped keep the center of town vital in the lean Portland '80s and '90s, alongside George Touhouliotis of legendary rock club Satyricon, Alexis Bakouros of Alexis restaurant, and Ted Papas of the plate-smashing Greek Cusina. All of these but Alexis are now closed. Ted Papaioannou died in 2010.
Berbati seemed to struggle in recent years, including a recent fine and 30-day suspension of the bar's license following an issue with a bouncer's OLCC card and alcohol service to a minor.
Faillace said that John Papaioannou, Ted's brother, approached them about taking over the bar.
Still, one does not have to look far to find a Papaioannou running a bar in the neighborhood. Valentines, across the Ankeny alley from Berbati, is currently owned by Ted's daughter, Penelope.