Where: 4601 SE Hawthorne Blvd., Portland OR, 97215
When you notice a small corner bar on a normally bustling strip of the city open for a few weeks, but then closed on Friday nights and Saturdays, one of the first things you start to wonder is “…who’s idea was that place?”
The small, narrow corner space- sharing its block with Zach’s Hot Dog Shack, the locally-famous Por Que No?, and a nondescript Tibetan tchotchke shop- had for a short time been the “Hawthorne Public House.” I’d looked in a few times in passing, and that’s precisely what I did. I passed. A whistle-clean bar on the inside, with big TV screens… that was closed at 4pm every Friday.
Passing by, regardless of day or hour, the joint was always empty or closed, and nothing ever compelled me to walk in.
One day, the windows were papered, the sign was down, and another Portland bar vanished like a fart in a Jacuzzi.
A couple months later, my friend Pete caught up with me at the beer cart next to the cafe. He’s a writer for Willamette Weekly, and besides just casually talking to folks about where they like to go for the best ___, he’s one of my go-to sources for new places to try.
“Hey Matt, you like pork, right?”
“Ok, you need to go to this place. It’s like an old rocker, punk bar. You know where Por Que No is?”
“Oh, yeah that’s… oh wait, yeah! Someone finally did something with that space? I wondered what happened to it after the Public House went out.”
“… There was something there? Anyway, it’s called The Cavern. Go there sometime- one of the best places for meat in the city. Get the pork belly skewers, and spring for the mousse dip. It’s so raunchy and weird.”
If you want to be noticed, you’ve got to make a little noise- having a whiskey list and a knack for the carnivorous helps too.