This is a delightful, friendly little neighborhood bar, in a nondescript setting around Southeast 21st and Hawthorne. It was aptly described by one patron as “Nothing spectacular, definitely not flashy – but Hawthorne Hideaway is great!”
Another regular said, “When you can walk in at 5:30 on a sunny weekend and leave to a dark night sky after 8:00 without realizing how many hours you just wasted, that says something about the enjoyable nature of this place.” It also bring to mind some constraints on pub habitation from September 2011 Beerchaser of the Month, crime novelist, James Crumley in his novel, The Mexican Tree Duck:
“Bars can be nice places, comfortable homes away from the loneliness or confusion of home, but nobody – not even the most confirmed degenerate drunk, can spend eighty or ninety hours a week in one.”
There is a good selection of beers: seven beers on tap, seven bottled beers and five beers in cans including my old favorite, Rainer. We tried an excellent Fort George Oatmeal Pale Ale on tap. Happy Hour is every day from 4:00 until 7:00.
People like the decent but cheap food (served until 2 am) and the strong drinks. The only major complaint from several years of reviews – a female visitor from Salt Lake City. Although a non-drinker, she complained for over three paragraphs about the tacos, which rates a one-word response from Thebeerchaser:
“Go Back to Utah!”
And oh yes, the Hawthorne was a bit dark, however, this elicited one of the more creative views of a dingy, dive-bar setting: “It’s dimly lit with a borderline seedy feeling – the low lighting makes everyone look a little better – no need to even wear makeup with that lighting…..”
We talked to Craig, the owner, who said the two differentiators for the bar are the fresh-squeezed juices in all the mixed drinks and the lemonade, and the distinct layout and interior design – one which a set-designer friend developed six years ago when they opened, after surveying the neighbors on what they wanted in the bar.
The layout is quirky as one Portland Barfly reviewer conveys well:
The entrance is timid. Where’s the circulation? Why is there such dramatic separation between the front and the back – it’s severed? Where’s your central gathering space? I don’t understand the logic – why would I go there??
Because it’s AWESOME!
In the front where there are tables, one can see original (and quirky) art on the walls and old photos of Marilyn Monroe, Frank Sinatra, the Beatles, the Lone Ranger and Tonto and other icons along with a sign that says, “Come Enlarge Your Brain While Destroying It!” – a marketing slogan for the bar’s trivia night every Monday at 7:30.
The back part of the pub is a large room with several pool tables (patrons love the free pool), big screen TVs video poker and some pinball machines.
The west wall is chock full of old 33 RPM album covers ranging from Count Basie, The Ink Spots and Montovani to Fabian and Elvis’s memorable album “How Great Thou Art!” – they’re really interesting!
The Hawthorne Hideaway is a great hang-out and neighborhood pub for a pint!