Years ago, when it was still open, Ami Taylor, Brighid King, and Tony Lambright were all regulars at the Beech Street Parlor in Northeast Portland. Beech Street was more house party than cocktail bar; neighborhood locals would pop by for a pint and sit out on the covered porch, or listen to the DJ sets that would thump the converted house’s walls on the weekends. The bar and restaurant industry vets developed friendships with Beech Street owners Maryam and Djamilah Troncelliti, playing in Maryam’s softball league. They mourned the bar when it closed in 2020. In its place, San Francisco expat Ian Muntzert opened a Spanish restaurant called Brasa Haya, serving dishes like Buffalo fried tripe and tortilla Española; the restaurant closed in 2022, and the house-turned-bar-turned-restaurant has sat vacant since.
On Friday, May 5, however, the house at 412 NE Beech Street will be filled with Northeast Portland locals once again. Today, Taylor, King, and Lambright will open Dream House, a casual spot with Rainier on tap, cocktails with single-digit prices, and burgers topped with house-made pickles.
Taylor, the former owner of sandwich shop Brass Tacks, will run things in the kitchen, serving dishes like meatball subs, kale Caesars, and fried chicken sandwiches. Many of the dishes will incorporate various house-made condiments or preserves; for instance, the olives at Dream House will be house-brined with citrus, and the burger will arrive slathered with house-made Dijon and mayo. The various pickles, available as a plate or piled on loaded fries with cheddar, will rotate seasonally; when Dream House opens, the pickles will include beets and carrots. And the tacos, filled with citrus and chile-braised chicken, will rely on a foundation of house-made corn tortillas.
At the bar, Lambright and King will shake and stir cocktails like serrano-infused margaritas and hibiscus daiquiris, all priced in the $9 to $12 range. King is partial to the Evelyn, a play on a French 75 with butterfly pea flower-infused gin and Pernod mist. “It’s simple and it’s delicious, not too complicated,” she says. “That’s what we would like a lot of this to be.” The bar also offers plenty of domestics and house wines for $8 per glass, in addition to a rotating slate of natural wines. The entry-level price point is intentionally low and the offerings deliberately diverse, in an effort to make space for a wide range of Portlanders.
“Dream House is sort of an effort to maintain community spaces within Portland, especially these inner neighborhoods that are changing rapidly all the time,” King says. “There’s a lot of community and approachability and accessibility within the choices we make.”
Similarly, King has focused on booking an eclectic selection of Portland-based DJs to spin vinyl within the house on Beech Street, including people like KM Fizzy (Kathy Foster of Roseblood) and DJ Cuica (Karen Antunes of Miss Recs and Sahel Sounds). “I want to be intentional about reaching out to others to access various communities around Portland,” they say.
Before Brasa Haya closed, Taylor, King, and Lambright got a heads-up and toured the space. The three industry vets had been wanting to open a bar together for a while, and their old stomping grounds felt fitting. And when they told the Troncellitis that they were moving in, the former Beech Street owners helped them get a loan. “It feels really meaningful to get their support, because they built a space that was so beloved,” King says. “I’m really grateful and humbled by their legacy.”