Oregon Magazine

"History by the Glass"
Enters Second Round

          By Fred Delkin

     The first edition (photo) was a regional best seller, now "History by the Glass" returns with an updated rendition wherein Portland author Paul Pintarich resumes his guide to the city's legendary saloons that maintain a link to the past to entertain today's clientele.  No less than 39 gathering places are profiled in pages that bring the past into a convivial present. 

 The author is a colorful chronicler, honed by years as the literary editor of the Oregonian, and also the source for "The Boys Up North" which portrays the pioneers of Oregon's premium wine industry.

Pintarich goes well beyond current saloons to trace, in this guide's epilogue,
the history of Portland watering holes since the city's 19th century birth.  "We
may be sure...that cutting a city from a stand of virgin timber was thirsty 
work," he opines.  "Perhaps some buckskin-clad entrepreneur paddled up
the Willamette with a canoe full of booze and began selling it over the top of a stump somewhere."  The author provides anecdotes from the Rose City's  hard-drinking past, including Erickson's 684-foot long bar (then the world's longest), with a bordello on the floors above, and much later, the Gay  Nineties-themed Hoyt Hotel playground in Old Town.

The reader can also visit the Portland of the '50's and '60's, when a wealth of club bars attracted nationally-known jazz musicians.  Yours truly remembers when as an undergraduate at the University of Washington, he joined 
fraternity brothers in trips to the Club Portland and Cotton Club where more
liberal Oregon liquor laws allowed late night alcoholic consumption by youths
strangled by Seattle's ultra-conservative drinking regulations.

Author's memories sparkle

Pintarich recalls his personal past as a frequent patron in neighborhood bars 
and sharing his Croatian father's bar explorations.  He provides the colorful
background of Bud Clark, proprietor of the venerable Goose Hollow Inn, 
who, worthy of the city's vivid past, became a recent Portland mayor and earlier entered the booze business operating the Spatenhaus tavern that was displaced by urban renewal around the Keller Fountain and Civic Auditorium.

He provides a thorough catalog of refreshment hangouts, many now only history.  The reader receives an interview with the McMenamin brothers, who have created a far flung empire of pubs and associated food and hotel facilities, with some locations reviving pages from the past.

The profiles include such "only in Portland" institutions as Huber's, Jakes, Stanich's, Kay's, The Sandy Hut, Nob Hill Bar & Grill, Dad's, Pal's Shanty, Cheerful Tortoise, Helvetia and many more.  This reviewer recommends this volume as a holiday gift for fellow imbibers.  It is a 2007 publication of Bianco Publishing (jrbmedia@hevanet.com).  Telephone: 503/223-6737

© 2007 Oregon Magazine