Iconic Gladstone Street bar reborn as three new businesses
Arising out of the space that once housed the iconic Inner Southeast Portland dive bar "The Pub at the End of the Universe" â€“ now a bar called "Holy Ghost" serves upscale specialty cocktails in a large open room. It opened in mid-November at the corner of S.E. 28th Avenue and Gladstone Street, following a four-year remodel of the original building. The buildout was slowed by construction delays and, over the last year and a half, the global pandemic.
But that's not all there is! Two new micro-restaurants round out the trinity of businesses that now are located in that building. "The Electric Pizza Company" opened at the same time as Holy Ghost. And, noodle and dumpling eatery "28 Tigers" aims to be up and running by January 1. All three businesses open at 3 p.m. daily, and serve food that can be eaten anywhere on the premises â€“ which includes a covered, heated, and dog-friendly patio. Food can also be taken to go.
The people behind this new venture hope to tap into the spirit of Inner Southeast. "What we ultimately want is to become a reflection of the neighborhood," remarks John Naekel, co-owner of the building and the bar, who added that "the people here are so friendly and curious and supportive."
Naekel sees Holy Ghost as a complement to the rest of the Creston-Kenilworth neighborhood, because "it's a little bit of a change of pace" from other businesses in the area. He wants to see the space welcome families, couples, and groups of friends, much like the other bars he's opened under a company called "Three on a Match".
Holy Ghost's interior features colorful art and neon-lined walls. Large windows which were uncovered during the remodeling provide bright natural light during the day; at night, long rows of spirits and expansive murals glow behind busy bartenders.
The menu focuses on a wide variety of tequila and mescal â€“ a nod to the giant agave plant that bloomed across the street in 2020, drew crowds of onlookers, and was covered in THE BEE at the time. The menu boasts eleven specialty cocktails â€“ one of them called the Gladstone Spritz â€“ and variations on classic drinks, like Ranch Water, and the Old Fashioned. Holy Ghost's signature cocktail is the 5 Minute Ramos Gin Fizz, which uses repurposed bubble tea shaker machines to froth up the ingredients.
The Electric Pizza Company sells made-to-order artisanal pies and individual slices from a small storefront on the property. The eclectic space is decorated with vintage light fixtures and a phone shaped like a bear, all of which are thrift-store finds. Owner and Chef Jackson Wyatt honed his pizza-making skills at local brewpubs run by Von Ebert Brewing and Wayfinder Beer. Wyatt confides that he wants his food to be accessible, affordable, and delicious. "I think the prices are right, and the quality is there!"
28 Tigers is finishing up construction, and is planning a soft opening in late December. Its traditional Chinese food menu taps into family heirloom recipes, such as Szechuan noodles, Cantonese barbecue, and cumin dumplings. Eventually, the restaurant plans to serve dim sum on weekends. Chef Chris Bogart hails from the former BTU Brasserie. Co-owner Matt Wagner says food will be cooked on one of the largest woks in Portland, and will appeal to all tastes. "The adventurous eater, the non-adventurous eater, the family, the single person â€“ this is a place you can go to and you're going to get fed well," assures Wagner, who lived just down the street for 25 years, before recently moving to Woodstock.
Neighbors and passersby might wonder what happened to the iconic 'PUB' sign, which hung over the door of the old building. After much deliberating, the new owners took it down. However, "We just couldn't get rid of it," Naekel concedes, adding that he wanted to find a way to keep the spirit of the old bar alive.
So, as a result, anyone who takes the hallway to the bathroom will find the old sign. It stands there marking the end of the universe â€“ at least, as defined by Inner Southeast Portland.
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