I wasn’t going to come to this joint, because it seems like an eatery first, bar second-which amorphous as it is, is my only criteria for a Local but Bill suggested I check it out. So here I am.
Nick’s has been around since 1935 but I didn’t come into the place until late 2009 because every time I walked by the place, it was closed or very, very dark.
So I assumed that it was owned by the Mob. Call it Occam’s Imaginary Razor; the most likely preposterous explanation is the one your brain will come up with and run. What was I supposed to think? It was a bar in a bustling, hip neighborhood that nobody ever seemed to go into or out of. How does a place like that stay open, except as a hideout for shady businessmen?
Admittedly, it’s not the most interesting theory. It could’ve been a bar sent back in time through tachyons, a haunted space from the future, full of newspapers with terrifying, Fark ready headlines like: Redheads extinct, California quake splits state, raises Godzilla, Liz Cheney ‘elected’ President, Aliens have mercy, kill us all.
But no, I simply go with Mafia. Not really a great writer’s imagination at work.
According to the timeline though, Nick opened the place, sold it to Frank, who retired in ’08 and sold it to Ty who spends a year or so renovating the place and…here we are.
Yet, despite all that history and an overwhelming amount of sports related memorabilia on the wall (much of Yankee related) Nicks doesn’t feel like there’s much of a vibe here. The music is early 90’s alternative. The TV is baseball or softball. There’s nothing wrong with this place but I’m not sure what is here to bring me back.
Look at it this way; if you read this blog, you’re reading in part for my perspective. The other good beer blogs around Portland (or anywhere) do the same thing.
And there’s nothing wrong with Nick’s, but what’s right?
Well, let me tell you; they have their own beer. I doubt it’s brewed here but unlike any other place I’ve been to on the Local, they have their own brew, Nick’s TKO, an amber bock that’s malty enough to put up a good backbone against their food and fizzy enough to wash away the flavors and get you ready for the next bite.
That’s pretty cool, as far as I’m concerned. Sure, it would’ve been pretty awesome to have a haunted time-travelling bar from the future but a nice bar with a decent amber is a close second.
Also; the service is good. Bartender was prompt, friendly and from the neighborhood. I like that.
And next time, I think I’ll arrive hungry. The menu seems to have a certain swagger when it comes to their food; I think I’d like to put it to the test.