Dixie Tavern – Portland’s Authentic Rock and Roll Tavern???

Since one of the benefits of the beerchaser tour is visiting bars that I would otherwise never frequent, it is helpful to peruse some reviews before I drop in.


One should be cautious in giving credence to bar reviews (except for this site….)  As was the case with The Dixie Tavern, the contrast in sentiments is remarkable.  For example:

  • “The appropriate way to describe the scene at Dixie Tavern – remember your worst middle school dance, with less sexiness.” (Comment – Was this person a classmate of the beerchaser at Thora B. Gardiner Jr. Middle School in Oregon City?)    


Nothing has Changed Since 1962 – Even the Dances??


The Main Bar at Dixie’s

“Dixie isn’t too bad. I like this bar a lot more during the work week when it’s not a full on meat market. Then you can actually talk to the bartenders who are nice and make good cocktails, listen to some good rock, order some tasty food, and just relax in general…….

Once the weekend hits it turns into a meat market. It turns into a completely different bar – it goes crazy with girls dancing on the bar, drunk as *&#@ people scattered everywhere, lame/plastic people.”

The second review was spot on.  Dixie was very low-key on our first visit – a Thursday night around 7:00 P.M. The place is immense with the main bar downstairs seating about twenty-five and a second bar on the same floor having about twelve seats.  There is a third bar upstairs for the weekends. Only the main bar was occupied at the time.

Karlin – “That’s like George with a K”  was wonderful informing us about the bar including its happy hours -Tuesday through Saturday from 4 to 7 PM. Our first question was “How many beers on tap?” to which she replied, “None.We only serve beer in cans!”  (about 20 options)  That’s right –  they have no beer on tap! – we paid $2 for a can of PBR at Happy Hour.  We also learned that the bartenders’ motto is “Dixie has great cans….”

Distinguishing Characteristics

  • It has activities almost every night ranging from karaoke to goldfish races. (Karlin explained that these are wild and the “jockeys” use squirt guns to spur their favorite marine creature to win.)       

Notwithstanding the intensity of the contests, we did not see any PETA representatives or their aquatic equivalents there at the time, which was good because it reminded me of the quote, Fish die belly upward, and rise to the surface. It’s their way of falling.”

  • There are probably about a hundred bras  hanging from the ceiling – which of course leads one to contemplate whether the idiom “In the Cups,” had its origin at Dixie rather than in the 1500’s in an English pub.  (“Because of its euphemistic and literary tone, this phrase is usually used jocularly.Source = THE DRUNKTIONARY)

No Floaters at Dixie’s Goldfish Tank

There were also about an equal number of baseball caps on the ceiling which I assume were worn by the male patrons chose not to wear a bra, but didn’t want to feel left out.Evidently, when female patrons dance on the bar – a tradition at The Dixie – they inconspicuously  remove their bras and attempt to throw them on the antlers of the large moose-head hanging on the wall.  Then each year, Dixie’s donates $5 for each bra on the ceiling to the Susan Komen Race for the Cure – a great cause.

A New Meaning to “In the Cups”

Of course, this led my friend, erudite Portland attorney, Scott Whipple to wonder out loud, “It is interesting that the plural of the singular ‘goldfish’ is identical — ‘goldfish’, and that is also the case with ‘lingerie’.”

  • Dixie’s has good food.  The loaded Tater Tot and the Southwest Chicken Salad were outstanding and the cook was a great guy.

Of course, the bar was totally different on a Friday night.  There was a line to get in and a mediocre disk jockey – no cover charge.  It was noisy and there was a large but orderly crowd – thanks, in part, to the bouncer – a friendly chap named Jessie, who checked ID and the temperament of patrons at the front door.

Who’s Going to Mess with Jessie?

He is the guy in the T-shirt (it was about 30 degrees that night.)  Jessie was good at his job and looked really tough —

How tough?” you ask….“Well, he was so tough that during his break, he ate a live lobster and killed it by hitting himself in the stomach on its way down.”

The bar’s website states, “Dixie rocks Old Town Portland every weekend; we start early and end late with the craziest ladies night in town every Thursday, and a rockin dance party every Friday and Saturday.”

The Smaller Bar Downstairs

It is questionable whether a bar without live music can claim that it is “Portland’s Authentic Rock and Roll Tavern

however  Dixie is worth a visit when you are frequenting Voodoo Donuts.  The staff is friendly and helpful, the patrons interesting and the food good. Just don’t mess around with Jessie!   Dixie Tavern       32 NW 3rd Avenue