In a town with so few Irish pubs and restaurants, the death of one of its favorites stings. The O’Neill Pub, formerly known as Biddy McGraw’s Irish Pub, closed unexpectedly this month, Willamette Week first reported. A statement on the restaurant’s website says an official statement was coming soon, but so far, no updates have appeared on the restaurant’s website or Facebook page.
That didn’t keep people from spreading theories, however. Someone anonymously posted an obituary on the Glisan bar’s front door, claiming that the once-landlord, Philip Ragaway, raised the rent by $3,000 when ownership was about to change. Still, Ragaway claims he didn’t raise the rent before he sold the building to SCL Holdings in September. “When I left, the tenant had a lease that was in good standing. There were no red flags,” he told Willamette Week.
In a follow-up story in the Oregonian, SCL representative Aric Lasky says the rent was never raised — because the lease didn’t end until October 2019, the holding company couldn’t change the rate. According to Lasky, the owners had missed three monthly rent payments, and the company let them out of the lease early without repercussions.
Patricia “Biddy McGraw” O’Neill opened Biddy McGraw’s on SE Hawthorne in the mid-90s, before moving the bar to Glisan in 2000. She and her co-owner and daughter, Shandeen Sampson, sold the pub to bartender Ian Sieren in 2001. The Sieren family could not be reached for comment at time of publication.
• The O’Neill Pub [Official]
• The O’Neill Pub [Facebook]
• Longstanding Portland Irish Bar O’Neill Public House, Formerly Known as Biddy McGraw’s, Has Closed [WWeek]
• Biddy McGraw’s Irish pub, recently known as O’Neill’s, closes doors in NE Portland [The O]