(Welcome back to Thebeerchaser. If you are seeing this post through an e-mail, please visit the blog by clicking on the title above to see all of the photos and so the narrative is not clipped or shortened.)
In the last post entitled “A Cellar’s Market of Subterranean Bars,” I introduced a new bar I discovered and really enjoyed on my two recent visits – The Basement Public House in SE Portland. It’s actually at street level on SE 12th, but in the basement of an historic house.
Nostalgia beckoned and I then recapped the five favorite subterranean bars I’d visited in the eleven years I’ve been Beerchasing. My digression generated enough words that I had to save the review of the Basement Pub for the next post.
While the watering hole’s moniker might convey the impression of a dive bar, it instead, has the ambiance of a quaint and delightful neighborhood bar – one reason I returned within a week of my first visit.
Elizabeth, the friendly bartender, some nice art and historic photos, a good tap list and an expansive heated patio all make this a bar you should visit..
What’s in a Name?
While I discovered the Basement Pub while driving on a new route in Portland, I often find new establishments by web searches – or at least do some research before I make an initial visit. A bar or brewery’s website is the best place to start and I also try to get a feel based on customer reviews in social media – while realizing some of these reviews are written by idiots……
The problem with using the the purported link to Portland’s Basement Pub’s website is, for some reason, it takes you to an Online Pharmacy page – and the page is filled with Viagra ads. It includes what I guess are derivatives such as Lovegra, Vigora, Revatio, etc. – for males and females including handy “Weekend Packs.”
Further research revealed Viagra is the generic name for Sildenafil. I noted that the potential side effects i.e. headaches, heartburn, and flushed skin can also result from too many beers. (External photo attribution at end of post #1)
The molecular structure of Viagra (in case you’re interested…..
Not to further digress (that’s what I do since I’m retired and not on a deadline) but this made me wonder what was the proper nomenclature for searching on other subterranean bars.
For example, searching the Web on “Basement Pubs” or “Basement Bars” would take you to sites such as a chain of eight Basement Sports Bar and Grills in Ohio including Cuyahoga Falls, Akron and Sagamore Hills. One review summed it up stating:
“Well, don’t come here expecting a 5 star fine-dining experience, but if you want good bar food and a good beer selection, this is your place.”
Or there’s Basement – in the heart of Chinatown in New York City: “Not bad! Edgy and younger crowd of people.”
Now if you want a western flavor, how about the Basement Bar in the stockyards of Forth Worth, Texas which one 2017 Trip Advisor review titled, “Crude but Fun” and explaining:
“They have a toilet you can’t defecate in according to the sign, a naked lady painted on a door, 2 dollar Keystones, live music, tons of smoke…it’s a total dive bar that had a great vibe and we had a ton of fun. I would recommend if my first sentence didn’t scare you away.”
(Photos #2 – 7 Counter clockwise – The Basement Sports Bar and Grill – Ohio – first two; Basement – New York City; The Basement Bar – Fort Worth; ; The Basement Bar – Fort Worth; Basement – New York City)
How About Internationally?
While I know I’m getting carried away, I just want to finish this side trip by telling you about The Basement Pub in Rome:
“Cozy and modern craft beer pub and cocktail bar in the heart of the very central area Prati, just 400 meters from the Vatican. We offer a wide variety of bottled and draft craft beers, both Italian and international, combined with world-famous draft Guinness”
It even gets rave reviews including this one from a Spokane guy named Darien in 2022:
“The Basement is by far the best bar experience I have had during my time studying abroad here in Rome! It’s a great place to hangout and meet new people. Of all the nights that I have spent here I have never had a negative experience. The staff continues to go above and beyond!”
Okay, but what about South America – Brazil to be specific – where the Basement English Pub is waiting:
“The Basement is a beautiful English pub located in a historic basement in the center of Blumenau. Its original stone walls are complemented by lots of wood, a long bar and leather sofas, typical elements of the most traditional English pubs.”
(#8-12 Clockwise – first two – Basement Pub – Rome – remainder – Basement English Pub – Brazil)
I’m Forgetting Germany!
I then remembered that I hadn’t looked for any basement bars in Germany – where beer is a major part of the culture. If anyone could tell me where to find a great brewery or bar regardless of whether it was above or below ground, it’s Rich Carbonara – who owns a great enterprise named Beerwanders.
I’ve never met Rich in person, but “talk” with him regularly through e-mail and our mutual blogs (his can be found at https://www.beerwanderers.com). When my wife and I return to Europe, we will definitely take one of Rich’s tours. As he states on his website:
“Much of the information on these small breweries and the trail networks that link them is nearly always in German and I’ve been busy translating it into English as a hobby of sorts.
I thought it was a shame not to share it with others who might be intrigued by the idea of an invigorating walk in nature that ended in a great local meal washed down with a beer brewed by the same family for hundreds of years.”
He’s also written an interesting book – especially if you’re heading for Germany – Beerhiking Bavaria. (#13 -15)
Beerwanders had forty-three reviews on Trip Advisor – all 5.0’s and this one is typical:
“Had a great day hiking and drinking beer with friends. Rich was the perfect guide and we all had a great laugh. Amazing traditional beer gardens and stunning Bavarian countryside, what more could you ask for! I highly recommend this tour. Don’t think about it….just book it, you’ll have the best time.”
In the press to get this post finished, I didn’t have time to check with Rich, but I found two – Mary’s Basement Irish Pub in Schwabach – only about one hour and forty-five minutes from where Rich lives in Munich and the Irish Pub which is evidently in the basement of the Europa Center in Berlin.
Unfortunately, it appears that Mary’s closed several years ago although it was evidently a rockin’ place with live music and a robust crowd as described by one reviewer in Restuarant Guru who gave it a five-star rating and enthusiastically stated:
“I can absolutely recommend this establishment for nightly puking on the lawn. Would do it again. 5/5” (#16 – 17)
It’s interesting that the majority of the basement bars I found outside the US had Irish Themes and that was true of the Irish Pub in Berlin which brags:
“Guinness & cocktails, plus Irish pub food like baked potatoes, in a buzzy space with live music. Here you will find original Irish culture with tradition. These include live music every night, sports broadcasts on big screens and flat screens, Guinness on tap, Kilkenny, Magners, Cider, Pub Grub and much more……
According to the motto ‘COLD BEER – WARM HEARTS’, young and old of all nations will find a place for communication in a natural Irish pub atmosphere and the Irishman a piece of home.”
Several reviewers such as this one on Trip Advisor commented on the length of the bar:
“Came in on a weeknight in January for a pint. They place was pretty busy. I still managed to find a seat at Berlin’s longest beer bar.”
Ending on a Downer….
I would be remiss in not mentioning that anyone searching for Basement Bars could locate thousands throughout the US where enterprising beer lovers create their own “alcoholic ‘man’ caves.” A great example is this one where an article in an Irish magazine website states:
“Homesick Irishman Builds Irish Pub in the Basement of his US Home”
Baltimore couple, Jim and Kate Phelan moved from Ireland in 2008, missed their homeland and created an amazing nook in their basement – “Phelan’s Irish Pub.” It even has a Facebook Page.
“Complete with a distinctive red and green colour scheme, bar stools, dartboard, pool table, and a vast range of beers, stouts, and spirits on offer, you’d be forgiven for thinking you had walked into an Irish bar in the heart of Ireland.”
And with only a lukewarm apology because I’ve had a lot of fun on this excursion off the main topic – Portland’s wonderful Basement Public House. But stay tuned to the next post and I promise……..(just remember not to try their website to see a photo!)
External Photo Attribution
#1. Public Domain – Wikimedia Commons ((Sildenafil-from-xtal-3D-balls – Sildenafil – Wikipedia) This work has been released into the public domain by its author, Benjah-bmm27. This applies worldwide. Author: Ben Mills 6 June 2008.
#2 – 3. (http://Photo https://thebasementbars.com/)
#5. (http://Photo Basement Dive Bar in Stockyards – Review of The Basement Bar, Fort Worth, TX – Tripadvisor)
#8 (http://View of the center of the restaurant. (yelp.com))
#9. (http://The Basement – Pub. Cocktail Bar. Events. (Rome) – All You Need to Know BEFORE You Go (tripadvisor.com))
#10 -12. https://www.facebook.com/theBasementpub/photos/10159706093652804)
#13 – 15. (https://www.beerwanderers.com)
#16 -17. (http://(https://www.facebook.com/Marys.Pub.Team/photos/pb.)
#18 – 19. (http://IRISH PUB, Berlin – Charlottenburg-Wilmersdorf (Borough) – Restaurant Reviews, Photos & Phone Number – Tripadvisor)
#21 – 22. Phelans Irish Pub (http://Facebook
div>Thanks, Don. I added comment references to both of your posts
Thanks for including me in your fun basement bars round-up, Don. Not heard of Mary’s but have changed trains in Schwabach a few times. It’s a bit of a gateway to Middle Franconia!
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Hey Don, Thank god you’re not getting ads for roofie drugs at their website. (eek) Although they would be a matched set with sexual stim drugs. Sheesh, how’d I get on this topic? Oh right, you blogged about it!
I hope all of you are doing well. Our extended household is in a good place. I gave my 18 months notice for retirement, for July 2024, and I’m hoping to blow off alot of May to go canoeing with friends. first stop will be the Allagash R in N Maine. I’m sure there’s a beer named for it 😉
Hugs all around to your family! Sue
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Some German basement bars are in what used to be the lager halls for buildings. High curved dome ceilings of stone, usually a little chilly to sit in, where goods were kept before refrigeration. Some good ones in Prague, too. (Happy to help you with your research, Don!)
Good point, Jadi and thanks for the comment. One thing that is disappointing about a lot of breweries in the US where the craft brewing industry does not have a long history is that many of them are located in industrial type buildings or even strip malls without any real ambiance.
There are certainly exceptions but from what you’ve said and what I see in the wonderful pictures of Rich Carbonara of Beer Wanderers, many German beer halls and breweries are in historic buildings and houses which certainly enhances the experience. Cheers
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