Bootlegger's Whiskey Bar to bring Prohibition, lounge-feel to Broadway Street

by: TIMES PHOTO: JAIME VALDEZ - Carla McQuade, co-owner of Bootlegger's Whiskey Bar, shows off the bar at the old town Beaverton watering hole she and her partners will open in early April. Bootlegger's will serve specialty cocktails made with from a broad selection of high-end whiskeys, scotches and other spirits.When plotting a new watering hole next to a popular bar you already own, the winning formula is one that draws in brand-new customers while also enticing regulars to check out what’s happening next door.

With Bootlegger’s Whiskey Bar, located to the left of Broadway Saloon at 12434 S.W. Broadway St., it seems Carla McQuade and her business partners Todd Carpenter and Karmen Knutsen, have their creative juices flowing in the right direction. The cozy, dimly lit, Prohibition-themed lounge, which they plan to open in early April, offers a decisive alternative to the more boisterous, pub-like environs of Broadway Saloon, the downtown Beaverton mainstay McQuade has run for two years.

McQuade and Carpenter, her domestic partner, purchased the space next door that most recently housed Potter’s Christian Church and a travel agency before that. The two spaces have separate entrances, but share a storage area in the back.

“We had to rent it out anyway,” McQuade says. “We thought, ‘What are we gonna do with this area?’ It’s got a storefront. How about something quaint, like a whiskey bar. Something new to the Beaverton area that’s cozy and friendly.”

The idea marinated for nearly a year.

“We talked about it, and kind of sat on it for awhile,” she says. “Then we finally decided to move on it.”

Remodeling of the new Bootlegger’s space started last summer and was essentially complete by late December. A miscommunication with city of Beaverton building inspectors, however, required some plumbing and wiring projects to be disassembled and reworked. Now waiting on word from city officials, McQuade is hopeful the new venture will open its doors in the next week or two.

“I kind of always wanted to complement the Broadway (Saloon),” she says. “We have a lot of people leave next door because there’s nowhere to sit. It’s something unique.”by: TIMES PHOTO: JAIME VALDEZ - A variety of whiskey will be served at Bootlegger's Whiskey Bar in downtown Beaverton.

Wild West revisited

Bootlegger’s, featuring cocktails based on higher-end whiskeys, scotches and other spirits, along with a small-plate appetizer menu with items such as meatballs, bruschetta, meat-and-cheese platters and oysters, is certainly a twist on Central Beaverton’s well-established nightlife options.

Bootlegger’s rustic, old-West-like ambience comes courtesy of a tin and wood-beamed ceiling, tables on wooden whiskey barrels, old Mason jar lights with vintage Edison bulbs and wooden stools with leather seats. While the decor featuring vintage photos of speakeasys and news clippings of infamous 1920s mobsters Al Capone and Lucky Luciano further the Prohibition-era theme, it’s the drinks that drive the point home.

“The drink menu is prohibition themed,” says Knutsen, who’s worked as a bartender at Broadway Saloon for four years. “We’re going back to classic drinks that people don’t do a whole lot of now. Old fashioneds, sidecars, Manhattans, things you don’t see as much. Our juices are fresh squeezed and the bitters homemade.”

Doug Carpenter, Todd’s cousin, who helped bring Bootlegger’s to life, says about 100 different bottles will reside behind the simulated coal-via-black barn wood bar.

“Just whiskey will be about a third of that,” he says, noting the bar will also be defined by what it doesn’t have. “It’s hard to find a bar to go in and have a conversation where there’s not a TV screen or video poker in the background.”

Knutsen, 26, envisions couples of all ages making nightly plans with Bootlegger’s and the Broadway Saloon, which offers full lunch and dinner menus, in the mix.

“You could make it a nice date night out,” she says. “For the regulars at Broadway, it will be a nice alternative. You can get drinks and appetizers at the Broadway, then go next door for a nice steak.”

Sharing secrets

McQuade sees Bootlegger’s as fitting in with city leaders’ plans to create a more distinctive downtown business district that attracts people beyond the end of the work day.

“It helps create more of a draw into the old town Beaverton area,” she says. “There’s more reason to come down here. It’s a quaint area, kind of a hidden secret.”

Knutsen agrees that Broadway Street, while obvious to many longtime residents, is obscure to those who gravitate more to Cedar Hills Crossing and the Beaverton area’s many newer shopping complexes.

“I’m surprised how many people have lived here for 30 years and said they’ve never been (downtown), much less Broadway Street,” she says. “It’s a nice community. We like being part of old-time Beaverton, supporting the Beaverton Bakery and the Farmers Market.”

McQuade, who plans for Bootlegger’s to be open from 4 p.m. roughly to midnight, admits the addition of Bootlegger’s alone may not turn Broadway Street into a bona fide entertainment district, but it’s a step toward enticing more local residents to remain on this side of the mountain on a Friday or Saturday night.

“We can’t compete with downtown Portland,” she says. “This is just something different, with a fun spin to it. We just wanted to have fun doing it. We have a lot to share with everybody.”by: TIMES PHOTO: JAIME VALDEZ - Carla McQuade, co-owner of Bootlegger's Whiskey Bar, is ready to open the doors of the Prohibition-style bar on Southwest Broadway Street in downtown Beaverton.

Prohibition proof

What: Bootlegger's Whiskey Bar

Where: 12424 S.W. Broadway St., downtown Beaverton.

Opening: Early April (visit for updates)

Hours: Tuesday-Saturday, 4 p.m.-midnight

Owners: Carla McQuade, Todd Carpenter, Karmen Knutsen

Phone: 503-747-2474

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