New To Me: Bar Maven

For the first, and perhaps only time in this series, I get to go someplace that isn’t just new to me but new to the area.

Bar Maven used to be Knuckleheads, a biker bar that lasted about two years and before that was…some other biker bar, I think. It’s been scrubbed clean and is now reformed, no trace of motor oil, bluesy bar rock, chrome or overt manliness that might have dominated previously.

I get a Deschutes Chainbreaker IPA and the lady has a Session ale. My beer is interesting but odd, with an aroma like smoked lavender in the nose. I like it but it’s not for everyone.

It’s nice here, in a way that most bars in this area aren’t. The advantage of starting over after gutting the biker pedigree out, I suppose. There’s art for sale on the walls, the music isn’t too loud; it could almost be a date place. Hell, for my purposes it actually IS a date place. As a result, I spend a little less time absorbing the atmosphere than I do socializing with my girlfriend but we both agree that we’ll come back.

It is, I will confess, the kind of space that I hoped would open up when I moved into this area. It suggests that this area is trending upwards and will provide more interesting things to do in the future. Which is awesome.

But. But. I think of those dive bars I’ve been to and honestly, while they weren’t for me, they weren’t Mos Eisley, you know? They give this area some character and make it an interesting place now. They provide a home to someone, someones who make the world an interesting place. I would hate to see all of them disappear.

There has to be a way for the nice and the grimy to reasonably coexist. I live in a city: I expect weird people, homeless teens, men in suits that cost more than I make in a month, women who look at me like the underling that I am and all the other weird shit that comes from being in an awesome place. If I wanted to live in a city that had walls to keep the plebes out, I’d go to Europe.

But there has to be a way to provide a little something for everyone. Maybe Foster will be a cool template for how to get that to work.

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4 thoughts on “New To Me: Bar Maven”

  1. Great post, but reckon yourself to the fact that most of the dive bars that made Portland such an idiosyncratic place to drink are being pushed further and further out—-in no time, you won’t be able to find a truly neighborhood dive anywhere west of 82nd. That’s a fucking shame, and there’s no real answer to that, as you mentioned in the post. Portland is so quickly becoming an incredibly boring culturally homogenous place. There is nothing “weird” about Portland at this point—in inner areas especially; it’s just a massive amalgam of the most irritating hipster/yuppie areas that are just “areas” in larger, more diverse cities. Fucking sad. Oh well.

    1. I don’t know that this is entirely true, though I will admit that there is frequently little space for character in a world that prizes value.

      However, I don’t feel resigned to this fact; that’s part of the reason I’m going to these places. I want to see what they’re like. Some of them might even suit me, which helps fight the tide that may make them extinct.

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