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Southeast Portland Food Cart Pod Hawthorne Asylum Is Getting a 40-Tap Beer Hall

The tentatively named Asylum Spirits Pub will feature beers from small-scale breweries, along with wine and spirits

The Hawthorne Asylum food cart pod sign is dramatically lit by a vivid dusk sky.
The Hawthorne Asylum Food Carts
Hawthorne Asylum/Official

One of the city’s many food cart pods, Hawthorne Asylum distinguishes itself as a destination with its bustling enclosed space, large fire pit, and plethora of dining options from more than 20 food carts. But later this year, the pod will be adding the tentatively named Asylum Spirits Pub, a new full-service bar in the back of the pod with 40 taps, covered seating, and plenty of spirits and cocktails.

Scott Kinard, the owner of Asylum’s grilled cheese cart Serene Eatery and drink cart Black Dagger, will oversee the new bar. The tap house will primarily feature smaller breweries, with a greater focus on independently owned spots rather than focusing solely on Oregon breweries. Additionally, taps will likely feature wine, cider, and possibly even draft cocktails, though all of that is still to be determined. With more taps than most local bars tend to maintain, there’s a potential concern for quality control, but Kinard sees it as a fun challenge. “I enjoy the challenge of keeping high-quality lines,” he says. “I want it to be the highest quality platform to present each beer.” Short lines, regular cleaning, and a large, custom-built cooler will help maintain quality.

The space itself will include indoor seating, and while it will be walled off, it will feature two massive sliding metal doors—one opening to the pod, the other onto SE 10th Avenue—for plenty of airflow. Like the aesthetics the pod already has, it will feature lots of iron, wood, and possibly some steampunk-inspired aesthetics. As with much of the design, it’s still early in development, but the team also plans to install a large TV outside for screening sports and other events, as well as three bathrooms indoors.

Kinard says the team is taking every precaution for COVID-19 protections, though the bar will not have a plexiglass or other kind of barrier; when it opens in mid-to-late-September, that could be far less of a concern, and with twice as much seating there will be more room for social distancing, he adds. Diners will be able to order drinks to take out to the pod area, as well as bring food into the tap house, though it’s still unclear whether minors will be allowed in the space.

The Asylum Spirits Pub is set to open sometime in September at 1080 SE Madison Street. Kinard encourages those with any additional questions to email info@asylumspirits.com.

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