Oregon Public House Aims to Be World’s First Non-Profit Pub

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One more reason to love Portland is that it is the future home of quite likely the world’s first Non-Profit Pub, which will be devoted to Oregon craft beer. Named simply the Oregon Public House, this pub aims to benefit the less fortunate while providing you with good beer and food in a cozy atmosphere. The venture is fronted by Ryan Saari, the pastor at the local Oregon Community Church that meets in the ballroom space above the future bar on NE Dekum Ave., only 1 block from Breakside Brewery.

Sketch of future layout of Oregon Public House in the construction space

The Oregon Public House may be the first pub ever to employ a non-profit business model. I say “business model” in the loosest sense, as the profits will be donated to the customer’s choice of charity. The staff will be made up of both volunteers from the church and some paid employees. The OPH will have a family-friendly atmosphere similar to McMenamins that will allow minors until a certain hour and have a separate kids play area. While well on its way to becoming a functional pub, Ryan is soliciting benefactors to invest in the startup and is getting the community involved. Last week they held an open house in the Village Ballroom space and future OPH building, inviting the public to take a look at the space, ask questions, and find out how they could be involved. Mr. Saari’s goal is to open with zero debt and thus able to immediately be beneficial to non-profits without having to pay off the startup costs associated with opening a taphouse. They already have gotten a bar, tables, and chairs donated, and while the space is still very empty, they plan to have it open by the summer.
Founder/Pastor Ryan Saari

I am sure you have many questions, as did I. Below is a video of Ryan Saari talking about his vision, first in a presentation and afterwards a Q and A I did with him in the pub that should answer most questions and provide information on how to get involved.

The Oregon Public House-A Vision for the First Non-Profit Pub from Ritch Marvin on Vimeo.

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Founder of The New School and most frequent contributor Ezra Johnson-Greenough has worked in the craft beer industry for almost 10 years, doing everything from illustrating beer labels to bartending at renowned beer bars and breweries like Belmont Station, Apex, Laurelwood and Upright Brewing. He has also had a hand in creating events like the Portland Fruit Beer Festival, Portland Beer Week, and the Brewing up Cocktails series. He is available for freelance consultation in marketing, events, graphic design and branding. Contact: [email protected]


  1. ElGordo

    February 9, 2011 at 5:21 pm

    I know a number of universities have student-run pubs that essentially operate as non-profits, but the proceeds don’t go towards any charities. This sounds like a really cool venture.

  2. Snob Ritch

    February 9, 2011 at 8:36 pm

    I really like this idea, I hope it works out. So if you go to his church upstairs, will you be able to buy a pint and take it to service with you? At least when the donation plate comes around, you can hold your pint up and say you already gave 😉

  3. Nate Preston

    February 9, 2011 at 11:56 pm

    This comment has been removed by a blog administrator.

  4. Paul

    February 9, 2011 at 11:58 pm

    Nice to see someone concerned with the community. I hope they’re effective. I’ll buy a pint from them knowing that their profits benefit someone who actually needs it.

  5. Nate Preston

    February 10, 2011 at 4:29 am

    You really removed my comment for criticizing this stupid idea? WOW.

  6. Nate Preston

    February 10, 2011 at 4:36 am

    Censoring the internet from itself is a fine policy. From now on I, a non-anonymous poster, will respect your right to be typical Portland passive aggressive cowards. It still won’t change the fact that this is a totally garbage idea.

  7. Samurai Artist

    February 10, 2011 at 5:04 am

    Perhaps you did not read my one commenting rule “try not to be a dick” which you clearly broke with personal attack ie name calling. Criticizing is fine if you do it in less of a dickish less personal manner.also “censoring the internet from itself” ? Hilarious that deleting your douchey comment is equated with censoring the entire internet!

  8. Rachel

    February 10, 2011 at 5:53 am


  9. Patty

    February 10, 2011 at 6:43 am

    Sounds great! Thanks Eric Steen for posting on Facebook:)

  10. Kyle

    February 10, 2011 at 3:26 pm

    Sounds like a great idea. Zero debt to start a pub, donate your profits to charities, and pay yourself a comfortable salary for running it… I’m game.

  11. Anonymous

    September 13, 2011 at 5:58 pm

    I was inspired and uplifted by reading/watching this, and now I’m very curious, are there any recent updates as to progress/problems/bumps in the road? I’m sure likeminded people can learn and/or help from knowing what difficulties or how problematic the process is.

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