PORTLAND NEEDS WILLAMETTE WEEK.
NOW WILLAMETTE WEEK NEEDS YOU.

The need for strong, independent local journalism
is more urgent than ever. Please support the city we
love by joining Friends of Willamette Week.

The Former Altabira Space on the Top Floor of Hotel Eastlund Has a New Occupant: Metropolitan Tavern

Rooftop selfies are back at the new Urban Restaurant Group property.

Nearly a year and a half after the pandemic wiped out David Machado’s entire restaurant portfolio, including rooftop restaurant Altabira, the best patio view on the eastside finally has a new tenant.

Metropolitan Tavern quietly opened on the sixth floor of Hotel Eastlund in mid-August. In fact, the launch was so stealthy, you wouldn’t have even realized the Northeast Grand Avenue property was occupied again unless you were an overnight guest, or happened to look up and catch sight of an open umbrella or two on the deck.

“The guests at the hotel are told by the front desk that the restaurant is open,” Todd Neelands, the Metropolitan’s general manager, tells WW. “It’s not really Portlanders who know it’s open.”

The Urban Restaurant Group, which operates popular westside eateries like decade-old Brix Tavern, Bartini and Swine, announced Metropolitan’s opening only late last week in an email to its subscribers.

Neelands says Urban Restaurant Group president Mark Byrum had been eyeing the vacant site for some time now. The attractive perch was previously home to Altabira, the most beer-focused business in local restaurateur David Machado’s collection.

Altabira closed in May 2020, along with the rest of his restaurants: Nel Centro, Tanner Creek Tavern, Pullman Wine Bar & Merchant, and Citizen Baker, the last of which was on the ground floor of Hotel Eastlund. Machado’s was the first large restaurant group to fold because of the prolonged initial lockdown and capacity restrictions that accompanied COVID-19 pandemic safeguards.

The restaurant, for now, looks largely the same—the rectangular bar with 16 taps occupies the center of the room, surrounded by four-top hardwood tables and long banquettes. The marvelous windows still stretch from the floor to the ceiling, providing stellar views of the Oregon Convention Center’s spires, downtown high-rises and the West Hills.

“We need more revenue to come in before we make any major interior décor changes,” explains Neelands.

Metropolitan’s entrees will shift with the season. The current lineup from executive chefs Aaron Franco and Cliff Denney includes a lemony ricotta gnocchi studded with cherry tomatoes and blackened salmon drizzled in jalapeño salsa and served on a bed of basmati rice, and an 8-ounce filet mignon partnered with white cheddar mashed potatoes. The menu also features a handful of artisan pizzas and shareables, like dips, sliders, oysters and deviled eggs.

Rooftop selfies are back—even if chillier temperatures send photographers darting back inside after a few minutes.

Neelands says they hope to keep the patio open during the winter for those who still prefer outside dining, while the pandemic presses on. Come next summer, the Metropolitan plans to decorate with new deck furniture. They actually already have it, but the furniture they ordered arrived too late this season to make the swap worthwhile.

Metropolitan is open 4-11 pm daily, and is the restaurant group’s 19th business in the Portland metro area and Eugene, a list which also includes bars, event venues, and three catering companies. Three new operations—86′d, Carlita’s Rooftop, and Gordon Tavern—are set to land in Eugene later this year.

Related: David Machado Closed All Five of His Restaurants Because of the Virus, Ending His Career In the Restaurant Industry. But He’s Not Bitter.