A Few Nights in Portland
I like Cassidy’s in Portland. I’m in town for a Roselit Bone show. I planned on staying one night, but I enjoy wandering Portland’s streets, so I extended my stay a couple of nights. I’ve had the same bartender each night I’ve been here. She calls me dear. She’s a bar lover’s bartender.
The bar is well-shaped. Wood. I wish I knew what kind of wood. My parents would know. Maybe most people would know. I’ve always been bad about knowing things like that. I worry about it with the writing I always mean to get around to. The man in the wool coat sat in the grass next to a tree. There were also flowers. And clouds that remind you of cotton balls.
Cassidy’s has a frontier feel, down to the old-timey wood refrigerator with big handles on the windowed doors. It might be more of a ‘20s or ‘30s era product than something from the frontier days. I wonder when or if Portland’s frontier days ended.
They’re playing music that makes me think of Townes Van Zandt. I wish I was in Austin in the Chili Parlour Bar. It’s actually a Guy Clark song, but I’ve only heard the Townes Van Zandt version. I think I’ve written that same sentence before in something else. I always forget that it’s a Guy Clark song. And the music playing actually reminds me of Robert Earl Keen’s Road to No Return (Carolina). I look up the song. It’s Slaid Cleaves’ Breakfast in Hell.
I’m staying nearby at the Hotel deLuxe. It’s a good hotel. I could happily live there.
I’ve stopped in at Cassidy’s nightly on walks back to my hotel. There are good neon lights inside. One reads TROPHIES. The bar’s bottled beer selection is lined up below the sign.
I took a photo of the exterior the other night. The scene reminded me of Edward Hopper’s Nighthawks. My photo didn’t live up to Mr. Hopper.
The bartender just told someone that Cassidy’s will be 40 in August. I asked what it was before that because the building has old bones. Part of the space was a bar called Pretty Boy Floyd. The other part was a head shop. I had to ask what that meant. “Bongs…hippy stuff.”
Local bars have their eyes on the refrigerator. I don’t blame them. I don’t envy the move, though. It’s the size of an apartment.
The bartender impressed upon the owner the importance of throwing a 40th birthday party. The owner wasn’t against the idea, but he explained that he isn’t much of a party planner. The bartender told him she’d take care of it if he’d commit.
Another bartender came in for what may have been a post shift drink, but not a shiftie. They discussed bottle spouts and the angel’s share.
They then discussed their mutual loathing of fruit flies. The bartender-turned-customer explained that she used to put an open container of yogurt in a bag, let them gather, and then torch them with hairspray and a lighter. It worked well assuming you could avoid lighting the house on fire. We did the same things to black widows in Arizona, but without the fire. Aquanet did a number on a black widow. My karma has no doubt taken a few hits.
Tonight I ordered the “Mac” without the crumbled bacon. It came with the bacon. I ate it. You don’t complain about food generously served late at night. It was delicious.
Bob Cassidy opened the bar when he was in his late 20s. I think 27, but I’m not positive.
I told the bartender that I’m at the Hotel deLuxe, and that I liked it. She asked if I’d been to the bar, the Driftwood Room. I have. One of the darkest bars I have ever been to. She told me that when the deLuxe bought what was then The Mallory, they moved the bar out, steam cleaned everything, and put it right back as it was. She approved