Link to Owner Dr. Robert B. Pamplin Jr.

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Photo Credit: DAVID F. ASHTON - Guests entering the Bible Club across from the Sellwood-Moreland Post Office will be treated to a unique experience - like stepping into a time machine, taking them back to simpler, more elegant, and much less legal times. If youre wondering why we dont have a photo of the owner standing here - he didnt want us to take one! It IS a speakeasy, after all.Anyone who has visited the Westmoreland U.S. Post Office building has seen the house across the street – since 1986 until recently, the home of Schoendecken Coffee Roasters.


Rose City Coffee Company moved into the space after Schoendecken’s Nancy Duncan retired in May, 2013; but it moved out a year later, to a retail storefront at 7325 S.E. Milwaukie Avenue.

Now, with windows of the small Victorian style home papered over, and workers rushing around the structure, many neighbors have been wondering what’s to become of the commercially-zoned yellow house.

“It was originally going to be my own private bar,” entrepreneur Ricardo “Ryk” Huelga told THE BEE. As owner of and jewelry designer for Starlingear, he’s well-known in Japan as “Ryk Maverick”.

He’s designed lounges for others – in Los Angeles, and in other cities. “I’ve spent years collecting antique décor items from the 1850s to 1920s,” Huelga remarked; “But no other [club] owner has been willing to ‘go the distance’ I will go, to make an authentic design for a club like this.”

Named after a probation-era speakeasy, his new establishment – the “Bible Club” – is a museum, where guests will be able to come and have a good drink.

“There will be no outside signage,” Huelga said. “If you don’t know it’s there, you would not know.” It could be the only bar in Oregon licensed by the OLCC without outside signage!

“In the upper window, there is an old 1920 shipman’s signal lantern – half green glass, half red glass. If you see a green light, you’ll know we’re open to the public.” That will primarily be in the evenings.

“When you walk in, you’ll be stepping back in time,” explained Huelga. “The cash register is from 1908. You’ll hear no ‘mixer guns’ used in making drinks behind the bar. When the bartenders aren’t making drinks, they’ll be hand-chiseling ice cubes from high-density ice.”

Patrons of the establishment won’t drink from ordinary bar glasses. “All of our beverages will be served in crystal. The lighting fixtures, picture frames – and the photos in them – are originals, not reproductions.”

Huelga said he’s willing to take extra steps to make this club a special destination – even down to replacing the hollow-core doors with solid doors, with period-correct hinges and knobs.

Things you won’t see in the club are televisions, illuminated signs – and people talking on cell phones! “We’re okay with people taking pictures and sending out a text message, but those talking on cell phones will be politely, but earnestly, asked to step outside. We want this to be a quiet place. “It seems that, nowadays, the art of conversation is lost. There are very few places I can go for a drink and have a conversation, because of the high noise level.”

After growing up in the Portland area, Huelga said he moved to Los Angeles, where he built his business and stayed for about 25 years – far longer than he’d anticipated.

“But, after traveling all over the world, I wouldn’t have as keen an appreciation of Portland if I hadn’t been in L.A. I love the old homes and buildings in Portland. Keeping the historic look [of the new club] is important to me.”

Excusing himself from our interview, Huelga said he had to meet with his architect and head back to meet with city officials. “Keeping up with the city codes is difficult, while trying to keep this looking historical.”

With a maximum of forty to fifty seats, it is not intended to be a big place. “This is, for better words, a ‘passion project’ for me,” Huelga smiled.

Yes, you won’t see any banners or signs outside the house at 6716 S.E. 16th Avenue – but word is, you’re likely to see the “green light” in the upper window by some evening in mid-March.

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