UPDATE (7/20/2015): In a positive turn of events, the OLCC granted Loyal Legion its license last week and it opened for business on Friday, July 17.
UPDATE (7/14/2015): Originally, this post began as a check-it-out "now open" piece, but as we learned this morning (h/t to The Oregonian), Loyal Legion had to close its doors today because the OLCC hasn't officially signed off on its liquor permit. (In its first few days, the bar was operating with a temporary permit.)
As reported in The O's piece (and confirmed by the ChefStable folks who run it), Kurt Huffman, the restaurateur behind it, has to appear before an OLCC board to make the case that his operation won't increase crime in the area. (If there are enough arrests in a given neighborhood, all OLCC applicants must make a personal plea before the board and, apparently, that bar-booming are of Buckman has had more than its fair share of arrests this year.)
Keep your eyes peeled for a late-August re-opening.
On Friday, Kurt Huffman and his ChefStable operation opened the doors to new 220-seat beer hall Loyal Legion and began pouring the first of its 99 all-Oregon-sourced draft beers. Above, check out the naturally-lit bar decked out in concrete floors, tufted black leather booths and banquettes, tiled walls and reclaimed woods.
On the drinks menu, there's everything from time-tested lagers, pilsners, and IPAs to more obscure sours, perrys, and meads. Not to mention: wine and cocktails.
"We have the best craft brew scene in America, so it makes a lot of sense to feature only Oregon beers," say Huffman. "We wanted to promote local brewers, especially smaller and newer ones who don't have the number of tap handles that more established breweries do."
Nine kinds of sausages —many from Olympic Provisions— read like a UN delegation of tubed meats: from traditional Austrian kasekrainers to a spiced Italian link. Veggie burgers, kale and Caesar salads, and vegan rice bowls round out the options for non-carnivores.
The Loyal Legion garnered extra pre-opening buzz for its controversial stance on employee wages. Dishwashers are paid $15 an hour, servers earn $18 hourly, and gratuity is included on all beer and food prices. Yes, that means no tipping. "In general the feedback has been really good," says Huffman. "But some people insist on leaving money, despite being told that tip is included in the price. It will be interesting to see how this evolves."
Check out full opening menus for Loyal Legion below; visit daily from 4 p.m. to midnight, or until 2 a.m. on Thursdays, Fridays and Saturdays.
—Chad Walsh and Elizabeth Brownfield