Bottoms up! The Low Road arrives in Gresham
Forget Scotland. Two local barkeeps are making sure The Low Road ends in Gresham.
The newest bar to hit Gresham's historic downtown, The Low Road, at 400 N.W. Miller Ave. across from the Gresham Library, opened for business earlier this month. It's the fifth watering hole owned and operated by Gresham residents Jeff Pochop and Jake Whitney. The business partners got their start tending the taps at Main Street Ale House before purchasing Bar 33 on Northwest First Street in 2011.
"We try to create things in Gresham, so people don't feel like they have to go in to Portland," explains Pochop, 39.
"We know how things work out here, and we have a lot of friends and family," adds Whitney, a 37-year-old and graduate of Gresham High School in 1999. "It's our own backyard."
Patrons who remember the atmosphere of the previous tenant, Standing Room Only Bar & Grill, may not recognize the place after a $150,000 renovation inside and other outdoor upgrades completed by landlord Mike McKeel.
The carpet has been removed, revealing a gleaming polished concrete floor, and layers of paint have been stripped off the iron-framed windows to allow for more natural light. Antique antlers adorn the wood-accented walls.
The proprietors are aiming for a "date night" atmosphere — with tasty fare including small shared plates, burgers and mac-n-cheese, plus a full selection of craft beers, cocktails and top-shelf tequila and whiskey.
Customers will be able to shoot pool, plunk down a few bucks at Oregon Lottery machines, lounge around the picnic tables in the outdoor patio or catch the Trail Blazers on one of the bar's four TVs. The owners hope their large wooden tables will encourage carousers to socialize.
"We try to get people off their phones," notes Whitney. "I have a pretty good feeling this place is going to be busy."
While there's no secret story behind the name of the bar, the owners also mulled naming the establishment The Fifth, or Trappers.
"Trying to find a perfect bar name is like naming your dog," says Pochop. "You can't use something anybody else has used."
Besides The Low Road and Bar 33, Whitney and Pochop also own Pastimes Sports Bar in Fairview, Bar 33 Brooklyn in Southeast Portland and a small joint in Lebanon. They now employ about 50 workers.
The Low Road will be open from 3 p.m. to 1 a.m. on weekdays and from noon to 1 a.m. on weekends.