Thursday, May 24, 2007

Uptown Billiards - The Bar Where John Wayne Drank

Pool halls still exist within Portland. But on the south end of NW 23rd there exists a small door with steps that lead to a somewhat hidden establishment unlike any other in the city. Perhaps not the most infamous pool hall to ever grace Portland, but absolutely one of the best modern pool halls in the town today.

The bar itself was built in Belgium, and sent around the Cape of South America to San Francisco before the turn of the 20th century.

In 1908 it was put on a stage coach and moved to Paisley, Oregon. Then in 1936 it was put on a flatbed truck and moved from Paisley to Redmond, Oregon. After a well-used existence, in 1994 (and much to the objection from the residents of Redmond) the bar's current owner loaded it onto a U-Haul and brought it to Portland.

In times past, it was customary for bartenders to throw their small change up on the bar at the end of the night. When the bar was detached from the wall in Redmond, people heard lots of clanking from within. They filled two containers with coins dating as far back as the 1910's, including steel pennies, mercury dimes and even a couple liberty half-dollars.

A resident of Redmond told the owner, before she hauled away the bar, that John Wayne once sat at this very bar. Apparently The Duke was filming a movie in central Oregon (most likely this would have been the famous 'Rooster Cogburn', in which Katherin Hepburn co-starred), and this bar was where he spent most of his off-hours passing the time.
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