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Pub at the End of the Universe Venue Will Live On

Guerilla Development founder Kevin Cavenaugh has taken over the lease

Pub at the End of the Universe
Yelp/Brittany L.

Kevin Cavenaugh, the developer behind Guerilla Development (Ocean, Two-Thirds, The Zipper) has taken over the lease at Pub at the End of the Universe, one of Portland’s funkiest historic dive bars. Located at 4107 SE 28th Ave., Pub at the End of the Universe quietly closed over the summer, and after decades of revelry, the shag carpeting and DIY lounge areas needed a refresh.

Cavenaugh tells Eater he’s refurbishing the venue, unearthing things like six large window frames beneath the old walls, with plans to open two or three businesses inside: a bar with the team behind Old Gold, Paydirt, and Tough Luck; a spot offering food; and maybe more.

“As opposed to other Guerrilla projects like The Zipper or The Fair-Haired Dumbbell,” says Cavenaugh, “the Pub at the End of the Universe is definitely about a lighter touch. The architecture is already wonderful, and something new and wild would be, I think, offensive to a neighborhood with such strong established charm. I sure as hell don't want to be the one to fuck it up.”

The total venue is 3,000 square feet, and John Naekel says he and the Old Gold team are planning to use around 2,000 square feet for the bar. It’s still in the earliest stages of planning, but he foresees a “great neighborhood cocktail bar,” opening by summer 2018 if everything goes perfectly to plan (which it never does).

“It’ll be like the Zipper [the restaurant complex home to Paydirt],” says Naekel. “We’ll supply the drinks, and someone else will do the food.”

And the bar name? That’s also TBD.

“It would feel a little disingenuous,” says Naekel, “to be like, ‘Hey it’s the new Pub at the End of the Universe. That and Bar of the Gods are like the two best bar names in history.”

The new name will likely be a tip of the cap in some form to the old name.

Naekel has been researching the building and says it seems to have been built in the 1920s or earlier and played home to four or so tenants over the years. It was once a pharmacy with a tavern alongside, and before it was named Pub at the End of the Universe, it was called Gladstone Tavern.

What do you think the new name should be? Sound off in the comments.

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