Blackwell's1815 NE 41st Ave Portland, OR 97212 Northeast Portland
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BarFly's Review of Blackwell'sTraditional old man watering hole, still populated mostly by old men, oddly enough. Conversation's usually easilly had at the chummy bar, but you may seek refuge in a book from the corner lending library.
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No literary journey here, just a list of positives and negatives. The good: The waitress being exceedingly quiet and slow to refill drinks was not an issue due to visiting on a lazy Sunday afternoon. Hooray! The bad: The waitress dropped some of my friend's food but did not replace it. The salad was just soaked in dressing to the point where the bottom of the plate could not be seen, and a dock would not have looked out of place. The entree was slightly burned in my case, and horribly overcooked in my friend's case. Ever wanted to experience fettuccine alfredo with chicken strips? This is your place. Want food that doesn't taste like sarcasm? Try somewhere else.
I'm writing this as a musician who has been playing the Portland scene since 1967, is respected by his peers, is a multiple award winner, and is grateful for working a regular gig for a respectful bar owner. I have worked the gamut of clubs across the country, so I know the difference between a dive, a dump, and a toilet. Blackwell's needs a little context for the various perspectives that user reviews offer and that's why I'm compelled to say something here.
Blackwell's is one of those places that you'll absolutely love or absolutely hate. It's a dive that's as close to real old school as it gets and it's warm, friendly, and very comfortable if you don't have a stick dispenser for a personality or think the world revolves around you. However, if you really want to experience the best that this place can offer, then here's a suggestion.
Wednesday nights really capture its potential as a happening place. A great surprise is to see the likes of Lloyd Jones, Carlton Jackson, and Dave Kahl laying down some deep grooves and sweet soul with a who's who of Portland Blues. Dover Weinberg (Robert Cray Band), Louis Pain, Steve Kerin, Karen Lovely, LaRhonda Steele, Mary Flower, and Curtis Salgado are just some of the names that come to mind. This is a no nonsense group of folk and they are the best measure of the basic goodness of this joint. Every one of them has played the finest rooms in this town and region. They don't have to go anywhere that they don't want to.
It's an early gig, starting at 8:30 and ending around 11:30, and it's both lively and intimate. This one's been a sleeper for around two years, but word's getting out and Blackwell's on Wednesday nights is developing into a bit of a scene.
And you can have breakfast anytime. How cool is that?
Sat night, other bars in area were crammed, this place was quiet. Good beer selection, tasty mixed drinks, and friendly regulars. Nice neighborhood bar!
Blackwells sucks. Its a dive with weak "mesured drinks." The server is a weathered, unpolite, sea hag. The food is trash and I will never spend another dime there. We had some drunk guy-who should been cut off, try and start trouble with us. Trust me, dont waste your money.
Great drinks, friendly tenders and awesome tossed salad. The greens were fresh and they give you a huge amount, I had lemon and pepper on mine, but my sister had the bleu Cheese and said it was very good. I had an Absolute dirty martini that was easily a triple, if not more...$6.75. She had a Long Island that was top shelf in a pint glass for $9.00 and to put it mildly..one drink is all she needed. We were of course taking a cab so we enjoyed it. We left with our belly's full and our liver's irreparably damaged all for under $40. including tip.
Overall Rating of Blackwell's
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