For more than 20 years, John's Marketplace in Multnomah Village has been the place to get beer and wine on the west side of Portland.
Beer lovers on the east side need not despair, however — you can now visit another John's Marketplace on Powell Boulevard. When Rob and Paul Petros, the current proprietors of John's, opened the Powell location in the midst of the COVID-19 pandemic on July 3, 2020, the timing turned out to be propitious. Bars had closed, but John's was open and beer lovers could still get their brews.
Rob Petros, in a moment of genius — and because the Oregon Liquor Control Commission relaxed the rules governing alcohol — invented the weekly COVID Brew Box. Twelve different brews delivered right to your door on Friday, just in time for the weekend. Now that things have improved, it's just called the Brew Box, the latest offering the (Easter) Bunny Box with beers ranging from Coldfire's Tangle of Tigers to Weihenstephaner Helles to Belching Beaver Pineapple and Mango.
Why is it called John's Marketplace? Originally a butcher shop owned by John Feuz, the business was moved from Capitol Highway to its Multnomah Village site in 1957. It served as a grocery store there, but it was converted into a beer store in 1999 by Dave Percival. Paul Petros was a sales rep for Columbia Distributors and John's was one of his accounts. Dave sold John's to Rob and Paul Petros in 2016 and the rest is history. John's Marketplace has the largest beer and wine selection in the Northwest, if not the whole United States. The Petros brothers still rent the building from descendants of the Feuz family.
Address: 3535 S.W. Multnomah Blvd., Portland
Address: 3550 S.E. Powell Blvd.
Hours: 11 a.m. to 8 p.m. daily
When asked how the beer market has changed, Paul Petros noted how much the market had changed in recent decades.
"In the late '80s, it was Rainer, Olympia, Hamms and Henry Weinhard was still brewing beer in Portland," he said. "In the '90s, Bridgeport and Widmer brewed local craft beer and the industry began to build up. Now it's the wild west — there are a lot of beers out there. Now, second and third generation brewers who learned from those early pioneers are brewing."
Despite their best efforts, John's can't carry every beer. They tried at first, but there are too many options and they aren't interested in stocking beer you can get at Safeway or Fred Meyer. "We carry as many as we can," Paul Petros said.
The grill at John's Marketplace Multnomah is slowly and safely reopening up for dine-in customers. There is a new kitchen manager who has added Reuben and pastrami sandwiches, and John's also offers a sandwich using Holy Trinity famous pork shoulder and BBQ sauce. The taps are open, too.
See for yourself Portland's home of beer. Visit John's Marketplace soon and get some brews.