Touring Portland’s Castles On A Pub Crawl

Der Rheinlander and Gustav’s as it stands today. Soon it will be demolished and become a medical clinic.
Der Rheinlander and Gustav’s as it stands today. Soon it will be demolished and become a medical clinic.

New Years Eve 2016, marks the end of a Portland institution, Der Rheinlander on NE Sandy Boulevard. Growing up in NE Portland, the Der Rheinlander Castle was always a special restaurant that invokes memories of celebrations, lederhosen, German food and beer. The building itself, an actual German castle, will be missed dearly as it is torn down and made into a medical clinic.

Fear not, if you look closely as you drive down Sandy, there are many castles that adorn the boulevard. These may not be the bars that make the best of Portland lists, but they are worthy of visiting, while they still exist. As a way to commemorate the closing of Der Rheinlander, Brewpublic set out to give some love to the castles and visit some bars with a nod to old Portland. TriMet makes it easy to do the castle crawl safely by taking the #12 bus line along the boulevard, with the purchase of an all day ticket for only $5.00.

Club 21 located just off of NE Sandy Boulevard in Portland, Oregon.
A can of Olympia and at Club 21 menu.

Club 21
2035 NE Glisan St (off 20th and Sandy) – Portland, OR 97232
11:30am – 2:30am
Originally built as a Russian Orthodox Church in the 1930’s, inside this castle, you will find a dimly lit dive bar serving burgers, cocktails, and a variety of canned and draft beers. The walls are decorated with vintage beer signs, deer taxidermy, and pinball machines. There is a variety of bar food available at Club 21, but the burger is their specialty and you can build your own with a wide variety of options for toppings/sauces. The Portland Mercury has reported that Club 21 will be developed once their lease is up in a couple of years, but the owners are working to save the castle and move it to another location.

The castle still remains at the recently re-named bar along NE Sandy, The Raven.

The Raven
3100 NE Sandy Blvd – Portland, OR 97232
Many will be surprised that the Raven is a castle, but if you look closely, there is a turret on the corner of 31st and Sandy Blvd. Long known as the Tonic Lounge in Portland, the Raven has had a bit of an identity crisis in recent years. It was the subject of Jon Taffer’s Bar Rescue, which rebranded it as the Panic Room. The staff and owners were quite vocal in the media about their dislike of Taffer’s cheesy changes, and have rebranded once again as The Raven. The website shares a late night line-up of music which seems to focus on jazz, hip-hop, and funk. The hours of The Raven are not easy to find, as they are not listed online, nor available by phone recording, although it looks like most of the music begins around 9:00pm with doors usually open around 7:00pm.

The melding of two cultures at The Ambassador Restaurant & Lounge.

The Ambassador Restaurant & Lounge
4744 NE Sandy Blvd – Portland, OR 97213
11:00am – 2:30am
This hybrid is part castle part pagoda, which promotes itself as “Portland’s oldest and most elaborate Karaoke Lounge.” The Ambassador has long been a gathering place for larger groups and birthday parties. Aside from karaoke, The Ambassador serves Chinese food in the restaurant, in addition to a full service bar and billiards.

This view will soon be no longer at Rheinlander and Gustav’s.
This view will soon be no longer at Rheinlander and Gustav’s.
The inside ceilings with its German heritage at Rheinlander and Gustav’s.
One last fondue at Der Rheinlander and Gustav’s.
Stained glass at Rheinlander and Gustav’s.

Der Rheinländer/Gustav’s
5035 NE Sandy Blvd – Portland, OR 97213
Closing NYE 2016
The much beloved Der Rheinlander, opened by celebrity chef Horst Mager, is closing on New Years Eve, 2016. They are throwing a big party to say good-bye to this Portland institution, for $49 per person. At the time of this writing, there were still limited reservations available, but call ahead, to be sure(503-288-5503). Other Gustav’s locations in the Portland area will remain open, so you can still get that fondue craving filled!

A full on view of the castle like structure at Clyde’s Prime Rib.
The Knight in shining armor greats you upon entering at Clyde’s Prime Rib.
Steak bites at Clyde’s Prime Rib.

Clyde’s Prime Rib
5474 NE Sandy Blvd – Portland, OR 97213
11:30am – 1:00am
Clyde’s Prime Rib might just be one of Portland’s best kept castle secrets. Initially, this building was steeped in racism, as the location of the Coon Chicken Inn, a chain of restaurants, which were known for their entrance, a giant blackface porter head. Ironically, in more recent years, Clyde’s has become quite popular as a gathering place to hear live jazz and R & B music, with the parking lot overflowing on Friday and Saturday nights. Walking in, you are greeted by a knight in shining armor, and transported to the era of Mad Men. This is an old school prime rib joint, complete with rounded red booths, a faint hint of cigarette smoke from decades past, and a piano man playing back in the bar. Order prime rib, drink a martini, enjoy the music, and be transported back in time!

The group on the Brewpublic Castle Pub Crawl while at Rheinlander and Gustav’s.

Be sure to enjoy the castles and share your pictures of your own #CastleCrawl with Brewpublic!

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