At the beginning of the year The Oregonian reported that Kurt Huffman and his ChefStable group were planning to convert the former Portland Police Athletic Association building in Southeast Portland into a 99 Oregon only tap beer hall called Loyal Legion. This news arrived with delight but as time progressed it was wondered if this place would be just another version of Henry’s Tavern or Yard House, a bar with a large quantity of taps that only turn a portion of them to keep the beer fresh.
After spending the first half of the year renovating the building Loyal Legion was set to open its doors on July 10 only to be shuttered a few days later due to lack of an official permanent liquor license. This temporary closure was expected to keep Loyal Legion from being fully open seven days a week for well over a month by only opening on Saturdays with its temporary liquor license. Fortunately cooler heads prevailed and the OLCC issued the new business its full liquor license a few days later and were able to open its doors completely on July 17.
With this news we finally made our way to check out the new Loyal Legion. We knew that the place only accepted cash so we came prepared with a well stocked wallet. It was nice that upon entering that Loyal Legion personnel informed us of this cash only policy. If one does arrive without cash there are two ATMs on site with a $2.00 service fee. This cash only policy has another drawback, there are no bar tabs allowed. Once you order an item whether it’s a drink or food, cash must be tendered at that time.
The other notable policy initiated at Loyal Legion is in the way the ownership pays its employees. Employees will be earning well above the state’s minimum wage of $9.25 per hour. Loyal Legion employees are said to be earning at least $15.00 per hour and for servers it begins at $18.00 per hour. The only caveat to this is that the establishment does not allow for tipping. Therefor a server’s wage will truly be $18.00 or whatever it ends up being with no additional earnings from tips that can be very lucrative in this industry. At Loyal Legion the tip is built into the price of the beer and its food items. Even with this no tipping policy we were very happy with the prompt, attentive service that we received here.
The night of our visit the beer list featured about 93 beers that were all broken down into 13 different categories on its printed two sided beer menu. Since its Portland the largest category was IPAs with 20 featured beers. However there were more IPAs pouring in a few of the other categories to bring this number even higher. Overall here are the 13 categories along with the number pouring on this July evening: IPA (20), Lager/Pilsner/Kolsch (4), Pale/Blonde/Cream (5), Wheat/Wit (5), Amber/Red/Brown (5), Scottish (2), Cask (1), Porter/Stout (5), Barleywine/Saison/Belgian (8), SuperCold (12), Nitro (10), Fruit/Cider/Mead/Spiced (11), and Sour (5). Of course these numbers will change as kegs turn and the beer menu tweaked to meet demand.
All of the beer is priced at $6.00 no matter the style, however the serving size will vary based on the beer and its cost. This $6.00 price is only during Loyal Legion’s Happy Hour all day until 10:00pm. After this time beer prices increase to $7.00 but remember that these prices include the tip.
Since Loyal Legion has a massive selection of taps, up to 99, a major concern is if the establishment will sell though enough of these beers to keep the beers fresh. It’s very wise to keep a large quantity of IPAs on tap, as this style will sell. It’s some of the other niche categories that could have some trouble rotating through.
The food selections are on the minimal side but are quite delicious. Mainly the menu features nine different Olympia Provisionssausages all affordably priced at $6.00 each. The sausage selection includes kielbasa, smoked chorizo, bratwurst, Italian sausage, frankfurter and more. Our selections of smoked chorizo, Italian sausage, and frankfurter were very pleasing. Any fans of the encased meat will be satisfied. The sausages were served with condiment options of organic ketchup, stone mustard and dark mustard along with grilled onions, sauerkraut, and hot peppers. And the salted bun was a nice touch.
If sausages are not your ideal choice the menu also features both a Loyal Burger and Veggie Burger, also at $6.00 each. There are also three salad options and a vegan rice bowl at $6.00 each. Looks as if everything is coming up sixes at Loyal Legion! Well this holds true until you look at the menu’s lighter fare. Pretzels, tots and fries are all $4.00 each. And just like the beer all prices include gratuity.
Not to go unnoticed, one of the hidden gems of Loyal Legion is its “Shot of the Day”. All seven days of the week features a different shot of whiskey for only $3.00. A great way to make the beer a Boilermaker!
Loyal Legion is open the following hours.
Sunday-Wednesday: 4:00pm – Midnight
Thursday-Friday: 4:00pm – 2:00am
Saturday: 11:00am – 2:00am
Happy Hour Everyday: Open – 10:00pm
Loyal Legion 706 SE 6th Ave Portland, OR 97214 (503) 235-8272
D.J. is a Portland, Oregon based writer that spent his formative years in the Midwest. With over 20 years under his belt of drinking beer at festivals across America and the world, he has developed a strong appreciation and understanding of craft beer and the industry that surrounds it. He can be found in any of the great breweries or beer bars that make Portland the best beer city in the world. His writing can also be found in Northwest Brewing News and can be followed on Twitter at @hopapalooza.