The Beer Bunker now Open in Montavilla
Finally opened on southeast Stark street in Portland, OR is the Beer Bunker a taproom and bottleshop that The New School reported on way back in August of 2011. The Beer Bunker joins the up and coming Montavilla neighborhood already home to Roscoe's and some great bars/restaurants like The Country Cat, The Observatory and Tanuki. More tap room than bottleshop as originally thought it takes the place of what was previously a bike workshop and retains much of the garage like vibe.
12 taps were flowing when I visited the other day but it appeared there were another 4 or so that were not pouring so room for expansion. The glassware pours consist of a standard 16oz pint, a big heavy 12oz chalice or a 4oz taster and they offer the option of a taster tray of any 4 beers for $5. The walk in cooler doubles as both the draft beer dispensary and glassware shelves on one side and 6 cooler doors on the other side for bottles for there or to go. The beer selection both on draft and bottles is eclectic, the draft beers ranged from popular beers like Gravity Mountain IPA and Fort George Vortex IPA to lesser known offerings like Loki Red from Fearless Brewing and Frankenlou's IPA from 7 Brides Brewing. One thing I noticed in common is that most of the beers they featured were from smaller and newer breweries. I really could do without all the bottles of Klamath Basin, Fire Montain and 7 Brides beers they stock but I am guessing we will find these changing up sooner as they figure out what sells and what their customers want. I give them credit for knowing about breweries like The Commons and Flat Tail though a Belgian Dark Strong from them was misrepresented as a "sour" on the taplist.
The thing I liked most about the Beer Bunker though was the space itself, part urban industrial cool a'la Hopworks Bike Bar and part beer history throwback ala Saraveza it has a wide open airy feel, cool colors of predominantly baby blue with red highlights. The tables are old iron work tables probably used for working on parts in a auto garage and the rollup garage doors in the back lead to ample outdoor seating behind the building. Near the windows they have living room comfy den chairs and couch's with a coffee table and the bar is a nice polished wood top reminiscent of APEX's bowling alley bartop. It's sparsely but well decorated by old beer memorabilia including hanging light fixtures using old beer cans and some cool vintage neon signs and plates. The whole style has a very red, white and blue americana feel to it that keeps it bright and pleasant like a Bailey's Taproom rather than dark and dingy like a Horse Brass or Roscoe's.
The Beer Bunker also looks like a good place to hangout with it's breezy feel and great space for the 2 darboards in the back and with tons of room out back I hope they add some washoe or cornhole equipment for the summer. The larger and some communal tables also lend the space to big groups and gatherings. Don't count on them for food other than snacks though, they have a deli counter with ingredients to bake their own pizzas on pita bread with 4 different offerings for $10 each. I tried one of them and it was ok, not bad at all for a handmade snack by the bartender but it also gave me bad flashbacks from my time at Belmont Station when we once offered a similar pita pizza. Pita pizza in itself is not nearly as good as a real pizza and second it takes a long time to make for a so-so menu item, once you slice everything up, spread it on the pita and then bake it you have easily spent 20-30 minutes before it's ready. Other than the pizza's they also offer a hummus plate with salami, feta and peppers and I can see snacking on that over a few beers for sure.
Overall I think the Beer Bunker is worth visiting and will be an excellent hangout spot this summer. I think given some time it will really come into it's own.
Open 3pm-11pm weekdays and till midnight on weekends
7918 SE Stark St
Portland, OR 97215