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At This Incoming Southeast Portland Bar, You Can Shop for Records With a Beer in Hand

The Record Pub, a combination record store and beer bar, is set to open this summer in the Iron Horse Building

A sign reads “The Record Pub,” next to another sign that reads “The Historic Iron Horse Building.”
The Record Pub in Southeast Portland.
The Record Pub
Brooke Jackson-Glidden is the editor of Eater Portland.

In the Record Pub, on a quiet stretch of Southeast Milwaukie, Chris Metz, Dave Charbonneau, and Andy Clark do something they’ve been doing together for decades: talk about music, beverage in hand. Today, the topic of discussion is the new Yeah Yeah Yeahs single, sitting on black midcentury modern couches in the corner of their yet-to-open combination record store and beer bar. For now, the shelves are mostly empty, excluding a set of their initial “staff picks,” mounted on the northern wall — Twin Cities band Gear Daddies, Portland’s own Epoxies, Tracy Chapman, Husker Du, Dead Milkmen.

Music was always a bonding point for Metz, Charbonneau, and Clark. They shopped at Eugene record stores like House of Records and the late-great Green Noise in college, though not together just yet; Metz and Charbonneau bonded at a Foo Fighters show at the now-closed Satyricon. During the pandemic, they would get on Zoom to talk through a album every two weeks, almost like a book club. So when Clark first came up with the idea of the Record Pub, he knew who he wanted to call.

“We missed going to record stores, bars, and restaurants,” Clark says. “I wanted to flip through records with a beer in my hand.”

The Record Pub, set to open in July, is meant to foster that general experience: Visitors can stroll through aisles of between 2,500 and 3,000 records, mostly focused on Rock and other sub-genres. When the mood strikes, they can stroll over to the bar, grab a pint of Rainier or a Portland-made IPA. If they’d like, they can sit at a few bar stools, talking about music with other regulars. Or, they can just sift through a selection of $10 vinyl, and pick out something to take to the listening station.

Over the last year, Metz, Charbonneau, and Clark have spent most of their time focused on picking out records for the store. Charbonneau, who has the largest collection of the group, set aside some of his own personal records for the store — including a live Guns N’ Roses he bought while living in Eugene. The Record Pub will sell both used and new records, as well as new and older bands; Courtney Barnett listeners will have just as much luck finding something interesting as Beatles fans.

“We want this to cater to a wider audience,” Metz says. “It appeals to everyone who loves records.”

The bar will stay simple, sticking to six taps including Rainier and a rotating cider. The rest of the taps will generally focus on Pacific Northwestern beers, in particular things made in Portland; a nearby beer cooler will have a wider collection of beers, ciders, and non-alcoholic options. In particular, the team names breweries like Fort George, Gigantic, and Baerlic (Punk Rock Time, in particular). To the right of the bar stands a massive chalkboard, which will list both the bar’s current tap list and the community ranking of the week: Things like “top five punk bands,” featuring regulars and the owners’ favorites.

Black-and-white posters of musicians and bands will hang around the walls of the pub, featuring acts like the Sex Pistols, Blondie, Prince, and Aretha Franklin. Another crucial design feature: A giant Rolling-Stones-inspired painting, modeled after the Some Girls cover. The heads will be cut out, so people can pose and take photos.

The Record Pub will open within the Iron Horse Building, at 6034 SE Milwaukie Avenue.