It’s a “Positively Portland” project: a pub and non-profit in one.
Portland’s Northeast Dekum Street is the future site of the Oregon Public House, set to be the country’s first non-profit pub.
When you buy a beer there, you’ll be able to choose to which charity your money goes to. Granted, this usually means the donation’s not tax-deductible; however, it still goes to a good cause.
‘Have a pint’
Oregonians can soak up suds with the best of them. That’s part of why the pub’s red brick wall and Redwood bar are coming together under “this storied” roof in northeast Portland.
“It really creates that old-pub feel we wanted to have,” said Ryan Saari, an Oregon Public House founder.
The 100-year-old building isn’t new to firsts. Several years back, for six notorious months, it was home to Oregon’s first cannabis cafe. Now it will be a place to “Have a pint” and “Change the world.”
“It just became so clear,” said Saari of this non-profit pub concept. [quote]“This is such a Portland idea. The city is number one in nonprofits, and we have more breweries than any other city in the world.”[/quote]
Saari and his friends have been re-modeling part of the historic Village ballroom for the past year and a half. And the finish line is finally in sight.
“This is the fun time,” he said, “‘cuz now we’re just doing all the little finish things — to get it to look like we’ve anticipated it looking for the last year and a half, two years almost.”
It has taken that long because the project is completely debt-free. It’s been created by volunteer work, done only when there’s money from donors.
“That we’re almost open is really exciting,” Saari said. “I can’t wait to reward them with a frothy cool beverage.”
The kitchen’s still incomplete: “It has the fry-top, the grill and the deep fryer,” Saari said. But when it’s in place, when the food is cooked, and the beer finally does flow, patrons can choose which charity the money from their tab goes to.
“And then, at the end of the month,” Saari tells KOIN, “we’ll see how much percentage of profit we made and that’ll be disbursed based on which charities received which percent or amounts for the month.”
A handcrafted Redwood bar, over which pints will pass for a good cause…
“It’s not just about us selling more beer,” he said. “It’s about these organizations doing what they’re called to do, what they’re trying to do, what their goal is.”
Saari hopes to open for business sometime this fall.
“I think the model will draw people,” he said. “But if our food isn’t good, beer isn’t good, service isn’t good, environment isn’t nice, people will not come back.”
Oregon Public House founders plan to eventually brew their own beer. In the meantime, they’ll open with already-existing brews on tap.