If you’ve never heard of Skyline Tavern, it’s not your fault: The wood-sided “saloon” facade is tucked among trees set back behind a parking lot and the food and vibe has always been a bit sleepy and disappointing. I stopped in a few months ago to escape a cold and rainy night and — while the folks inside were nice — I felt like I walked into someone’s living room. There wasn’t much there there.
Even though it’s located along one of the most well-traveled bicycle routes in the Portland region, few people ever stop in. But now that might change since a new owner has bought the place and intends to remodel it.
“When it went on the market in December, complete with 2.2 acres, everyone feared the worst: All that promise would be torn down to make way for a McMansion. Well, Portland, we dodged a bullet. Environmental filmmaker Scott Ray Becker, whose own mother used to hit the tavern after sneaking away from Miss Catlin’s School (as Catlin Gabel was once known), has purchased the nearly 100-year-old tavern and the only thing he wants to do is, well, make everything better.
…Since taking over in January, he’s been power washing away years of mold and moss, and getting rid of the bad canned chili and “shit ass Merlot.” In their place, he has Terminal Gravity and Ecliptic beers on tap (he used to brew beer with John Harris at Full Sail), and a selection of wine from importer Casa Bruno.
…And as part of that experiment, he’s planning to add a turntable and records, turn part of the sprawling grounds into an outdoor amphitheater to show films, let kids and dogs run free, and promote the tavern as a destination for trail runners, hikers and cyclists.”
The tavern is located at 8031 NW Skyline Blvd, just south of the intersection with Germantown Road. It’s easily accessible from downtown Portland via the well-worn bike routes on NW Lovejoy-Cornell-Thompson and/or via Leif Erikson, Saltzman, and other dirt roads in Forest Park. Many of our favorite, close-in loop rides go right by it.
We’ll try to get in touch with new owner and report back about any bike-centric plans he’s got. No matter what happens, we can’t wait to check it out this summer!
UPDATE, 11:44 am: As a reader below points out, there’s a grand opening party set for March 7th. Check their Facebook page for more.