According to a Monday, February 12 press release, the 1905 will begin hosting shows once again “within the next four to six weeks.” Chris Pfeifer, a former partner at the Barrel Room and Ankeny bar Chandelier, will take over operations at the 1905. A few 1905 alumni will also return to the business: Joshua Madrid, who tended bar at lauded cocktail lounges Multnomah Whiskey Library and Scotch Lodge, will become the 1905’s bar manager, while Holly Resnick will serve as the program director, booking musicians for the space.
In 2016, the 1905 opened as a small-scale pizzeria off North Mississippi, beginning to host live jazz on the side. Over time, the 1905 became more of a jazz club than a restaurant, hosting nightly shows with both local and touring acts. When legendary jazz bar Jimmy Mak’s closed in 2016, “the 1905 stepped in to provide a home for local combos and regular jam sessions, as well as all-ages showcases for ensembles from area schools,” Robert Ham wrote in a piece for Downbeat. The bar was the only Oregon jazz club to make Downbeat’s international venue guide in 2023, and began to attract big-name acts like Wynton Marsalis. The 1905’s owner, trained jazz musician Aaron Barnes, opened a restaurant, Scholar, and sports bar Hopscotch within six months, at the end of 2022 and beginning of 2023.
However, by the spring of 2023, the bar was dealing with serious money trouble. A group of musicians posted a GoFundMe on behalf of Barnes, hoping to raise enough to keep the bar afloat. “I didn’t have the [business] knowledge,” Barnes told Portland Monthly in August. “Every time I thought I got the right information, it was maybe too late, or not enough, or we grew too fast, or sometimes put the vision ahead of the bank account, to be completely honest.”
Nonetheless, the fundraising wasn’t enough to keep the bar going — or musicians and employees paid. Staff, including Madrid, told the Portland Mercury that checks from the business bounced over the summer, and when Barnes announced the bar’s November closing on Instagram, comments from performers and staff alleged that the 1905 hadn’t issued final paychecks. The reopening press release addresses the financial issues of the past iteration of the club, and indicates that those issues have been resolved.
“Tim Heichelheim, the newly named managing partner of the LLC, along with the other members, were informed of significant mismanagement of the North Portland jazz club late last year,” the press release reads. “Upon this discovery, he, and the other members, immediately moved to remedy the issues. This included paying back wages and tips to employees, as well as squaring up with the musicians.”
A local musician and 1905 performer, who asked to remain nameless, tells Eater that the club’s management seems to have repaired its relationships with local artists and repaid any outstanding invoices. To him, the 1905 lost its focus on Portland-based musicians in its final months; however, as someone with knowledge of the business’s internal plans moving forward, he feels optimistic about the bar’s return.
“My understanding is that the new management is returning to that local focus, and the books look good,” he says.
The 1905 is located at 830 N Shaver Street; keep an eye on Instagram for more updates.
Correction Thursday, February 15, 2024 at 1:41 p.m.: This story has been corrected to show that the Barrel Room is still open.