Cheerful Tortoise1939 SW 6th Ave Portland, OR 97201 Downtown Portland
(503) 224.3377 - Visit Website
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BarFly's Review of Cheerful Tortoise
As not-quite-college bar for a town that really doesn’t have much of a college, the Dave Matthews-fueled soundtrack and wood-paneled interiors enable the frathouse ambience, and anyone finding themselves trapped within Thursday’s buck beer night faux-bacchanal - say this about the actual Greek system, codified shallowness at least allows attractive participants - should ever after cross the street with a shudder.
Mornings, though, there’s an easy charm to the place as career grad students trade newspapers around one of the fireplaces (the floorplan’s much larger than you remember), area laborers check scores (thirty-some TVs show all games to the co-ed staff’s eternal disgust) and adorably unpretentious PSU kids gobble down pub grub far cheaper and better than you’d expect before stumbling through a game of pool. Decades hences, they’ll speak of the The Tortoise as their college bar. Of course, they’ll also say they went to Lewis & Clark.
Full menu served till 2am.
$1.99 breakfast served all hours Sat & Sun.
Wednesdays: Karaoke contest
Cheerful Tortoise's Happy Hours
|Monday||No happy hour info available.|
|Tuesday||No happy hour info available.|
|Wednesday||No happy hour info available.|
|Thursday||7am-2am $1 beers all hours|
|Friday||No happy hour info available.|
|Saturday||7am-2am $1.99 breakfast all hours|
|Sunday||7am-2am $1.99 breakfast all hours, S.I.N. $1 off all drinks with OLCC card.|
Getting to Cheerful Tortoise
Reader ReviewsAdd your own review or comment
Overall I liked it, I will give it.... ummm an 7.0 out of 10(only because there is no strippers lol). It's a nice bar to kick back during happy hour and not fill crowded and catch a sports game on one of a number of flat-screen televisions. The waitresses are pretty chill for the most part and the bartender makes okay drinks. The food is above-averaged compared to typical bar food and they always have specials. The only negative thing about this bar is that they're no strippers lol. Other than that I would definitely recommend it to a friend/stranger.
although it's and older building, the Cheerful Tortoise is a place I will go back to. Decent Food, a friendly staff and a good karaoke DJ. Finding a good KJ in this town has turned out to be very difficult, but Bryan was good. He cared about his customers Experience and new hoe to mix pretty well. Even though it wasn't as loud as I prefer, he thumped the walls of that place pretty good. it's also nice to see a KJ that doesn't think he has to sing every third song.
a fair amount of good singers and plenty of Good people in the house that seem to be just a fun crowd.
The Waitresses were really on top of things. Kept coming back to the table to offer us refills and even corrected a food order that was our fault without any attitude.
I recommend this place for a nice and fun Karaoke Evening.
What can you say? the place has been here for a long time, and sometimes it does ok food. Not quite for me, but not completely worthless. Of course, the jim goad worshippin clowns who read this site- will be charmed to know that Randy Woodfield, the I-5 Killer, bartended and maybe managed the place in the 70's!
Not a bad place, but nothing to draw me back. What should be said though is they DO NOT have $1 beers all day on Thursdays as advertised here. I went to watch a game and to get in on this deal only to find that the absolute cheapest beer between 4p-7p was $3. That includes PBR, priced at over $3, which is a bit ridiculous, but whatever. There were apparently $1 beers between 8p-10p on Thursdays though, so take it for what it's worth.
Overall, I guess if I was in the neighborhood and wanted to watch a game, it'd be fine. Pretty big inside and they certainly have enough tvs to make sure you can find your game on somewhere.
Jesus Christ, everyone takes this shit so serious. Yes Service in Portland sucks as a whole. But that's from Downtown all the way to NE,SE and SW. Worst I have ever experienced. Steve you sound like some typical elitist deusche. Who cares if there are frat boys, tan girls, drunks, hipsters and low life's all in one bar. America! Melting pot hello. Can't everyone just get along and have a beer. Fuck, Relaxxxxx. PS The tortoise girls are cuties....
I've lived in portland for over 10 years but had never been to cheerful tortoise until recently. I have heard so many different opinions I went in with an open mind. The bar food was average to slightly above average. I liked the interior, and the waitstaff was very patient and laid-back. This was lunch and then early happy hour time so certainly there might be a different crowd late night. However overall I found it a friendly and comfortable place and one that I'd frequent again.
Great for cheap Happy hour menu, and moderately priced drinks. Although, my friend and I wanted to watch a little Hockey during the first week of March Madness. Before we sat down we asked our waitress if we could get a game on by our table. She said "of course, no problem" it turned out she couldn't get the game on and didn't know how to work the remote. She came to our table again after asking someone how to work the remote and by that time we were content with just watching College Hoops (we had already ate our food and drank two drinks). The young College students next to us also gave us s@*t when our waitress tried to turn the channel even though the same game they were watching was on four different T.V.'s. We had asked them politely when we first entered the bar if they were watching a game on the television next to our table. They were too busy talking and rudely ignored us so f*@k! you guys. Not very impressed by the lack of knowledge in the waitstaff with the TV's as well as not knowing what games certain tables are viewing. I mean come on this is considered a Sports Bar?
Food is merely adequate, even by bar food standards, but much of it is extremely cheap (especially the unbelievably greasy but still more-or-less edible $1.99 "Best Deal" breakfast). Drinks are a little on the spendy side for this dive hopper, but certainly nothing egregious. Wait staff is generally ok, unless the place is at all busy. The main problem with this bar is the mentally retarded crowd that it draws day in and day out. Then again, since the tards all flock here, they're not polluting the other bars around campus. So on the balance, I am glad that this bar exists - it's something of a necessary evil, enabling students to have a good time out if they're willing to walk a couple extra blocks.
Nice college bar – lot of jocks and frat guys (only two blocks from two PSU frat houses).
A good place if you’re looking to hang with the guys, watch some sports (they have like 30 plasma’s) and play pool. If you’re looking for the ladies you’d better keep movin.
Great place to catch a game or pre-funk before an evening out. Tons of college students as it right there on the Portland State campus.
Friendly and fast service – even on the famous Viking Thursday’s
The Cheerful Tortoise is an superbly run establishment. They donate money to charity, have phenomenal service, and keep the place pretty clean for a sports bar. The food is good. Especially the chicken fingers and $1.99 breakfast. Thursday night is great with $1 beers. Its a great place to go and get some food and water/more beer after a long night on the town. They stay open until 2:30am.
I gave this bar a #1 because its the bests bar ever. I get laid everytime I come out of that place. The bitches are loose, and drinks are cheep. One time I got so wasted I pissed myself, and the bartenders thoght I was still soo sexy, because I drive a new Beemer1 I thought they were going to get mad,, byt instead they just gave me another beer on the house to make me feel better!! I also met kitty (the most reesent honey I've been rolling with) there. She has soo many hot friends. I hooked all my brothers up with them and all thanks to the tortusie. All you fags are just jealous that you cant get laid there. Ive got some advice for you. stop listening to so much sucky music, and wear some new or cleen clothes eeveryonce in a while!@
Read the reviews Clyde baby. I am not terrified of them, chit..I chased the loser down. I jsut can't stand them. If I want your opinion on my review I willa sk for it. Until then step off. PS. The CT is really not a fun place to hang out. It stinks as far as I am concerned!
good place to hang out if ure living on campus , u dont waste time going far out to a bar ( imp during a quarter). quality of karaoke varies but usually good. guy in charge of karaoke sings well.waitresses are courteous and get ur stuff in time. they put f1 on one of the tv's on request. couldnt ask for more in portland. drinks are cheap, food is good.
Why doesn't everyone chill? It's a college sports bar, and for what it is, it's a damn good one. Now if you don't like a college sports bar, then obviously you won't like the Tortoise. because, to repeat my point, that's what it IS.
Now personally, I don't like sports. I'm a big crazy loud-mouthed faggot, and I sometimes feel uncomfortable there since I have my face tattooed and some other odd bits about me. But hey, there aren't too many bars on campus. And there aren't too many places where you can get a damn good plate of chicken strips, or a cheeseburger late at night, and be able to have a smoke and a beer afterwards.
Thank god there are older men who spend their entire evening there. Old drunks know where to go. Isn't it funny how they found all the great dives and got to drink there in peace long before the hip young crowd thought it was fun to go to sports bars and dives and makes asses of themselves? Alright, let's sum it up. Hot chicks, football, the most basic of drinks and food, jocks, and pool. That's a college sports bar. Take it or leave it.
FYI: Jock-hating hipsters are the new jocks, especially in portland. PSU is a 4-year C.C., that's why they accept anyone with a heartbeat. Just wait 'til you get out of college and apply for a job.
Alright, the service is slow but that's because it's a sports bar. There's a $1.99 breakfast served all day, everyday. The fireplace in the center of the store makes for a cozy atmosphere.
Hey Stevie, maybe you should go down to BOG, that's a great place to pretend your cool.
First of all, I'd like to thank Josh for the comic relief. A bar review, obviously opinion, as a first admendment violation and libel? That is hilarious. Seriously. Anyway, this isn't normally my kind of bar, being that it is a sports establishment, but I've been there several times with my wife and had mostly good experiences. Sure the service was a bit slow, but the food was cheap, tasty. If you're so terrified of "weirdos" and people playing video poker, you should probably stick to Applebees. It's close to Lloyd Center so you won't have to walk far after you spend the day shopping at Nordstroms.
I'm from Pittsburgh, but a few friends and I were visiting the city and staying on campus. This bar was a convenient stumble to our hotel, so we frequented it quite a bit. And, although the local crowd seems to differ, we found the staff to be quite friendly and accommodating. Unusually friendly even, particularly to a cynical East Coaster. Perhaps this is part of a greater diabolical scheme to lure us to Portland, only to crush our spirits and consume our souls like so many $1.99 breakfasts. But, I'm a sucker. I liked this bar. And I even hate sports.
I've stopped in a couple times on my way home from work. The food's not good. They do serve beer, which is a plus. The service was bad. There are a million TVs blaring everywhere you look. The college crowd (and I'm only 24) is kind of overwhelming. I agree that the video poker is depressing. The pool tables looked cool. I wouldn't really recommend it, overall.
Steve, It is sad that you took the crack shots at the servers...no pun intended. You do have some very very valid points. I will not go back (and I was never hog tied to any H20 heater...:~) I however can't stand the video crack players. One time I was in there and one stole my purse. I couldn't catch up to the little meth head though, he ran very fast :( They always beg and bum money, beer , cigs. annoying to say the least and the server did nothing to stop it, even after I asked.
If they got rid of the video crack I might go back. Just not on Thursdays.
First of all, the chicken nachos are to die for. I use to live right downtown, and now I drive over 35 minutes to hit up this bar on occassion. Yep it's a college neighborhood, and if you have pool and cheap drinks... it's unavoidable. I think they do a good job of keeping the place under control for how packed it gets. We always end up there after being shoved around in loud bars with flashing lights, because you can just chill and eat amazing appatizers :) I think it's worth it for sure. Plus the kareoke is always worth a listen. Thats amusing enough by itself. If you dont like college students, keep out of MOST of portland clubs. I think right now, worrying about gangs is a bigger issue, at least the frat boys arent shooting at you!
....the bottom line is the Tortoise has cheap drinks/eats and sports on TV. The problem none of that matters much because the service is dreadful.
Nothing personal. Every server I finally cornered was polite enough, but the fact of the matter is on nearly every occassion I've gone to the Tortoise (they show soccer matches hard to find elsewhere) I've had to work incredibly hard to get their attention. And no, it wasn't on busy nights.
On one occassion on a quiet afternoon, fellow patrons and I began a pool as to who would finally get their server's attention first. Meh, not even worth the bother. Sorry.
I think most of the posters are reviewing Thursday nights at the Tortoise. It's actually a fine sports bar. Good food and plenty of TV's to catch the action. Thursday night is buck night for the college students so it can be a little unruly then, but otherwise it's probably my favorite bar in the city.
OK, first of all, Josh, get a grip, reviews are personal opinions and therefore not subject to libel laws, so don't go running to the Better Business Bureau just yet. And Steve, your snide and ridiculous jabs at the staff's personal lives undermine your other valid points. And Tortoise Girls, don't take it all so seriously. Some people are just assholes and desperate to insult others in a public forum.
I have visited the CT with my boyfriend, so I have no issues with frat boys groping me, or ignoring me to talk to the waitresses, who are, admittedly, attractive.
The happy hour specials are good. Two bucks for a reasonable pile of food is a good deal, and it's not awful. The hot wings are quite good. I wouldn't recommend the pizza though -- soggy.
I am no fan of the CT atmosphere. TVs blaring with 10 different sports games, regardless if anyone is watching. Sometimes, on top of the TV noise, really bad strip club dance remixes being played too loudly. Ugly beer paraphernalia assaulting my retinas. Weirdos in the back playing video crack. And really bad service! Every time we go in, we have trouble getting our order, getting our check, getting attention in general.
The CT is what it is -- a college sports bar. It's got yahoos, pretty waitresses, less-than-good service, and way too much TV and bad noise. I would never ever go there, if there were anywhere else conveniently nearby. And that is the trouble with the CT. There are no other satisfactory options near the PSU dorms, and that is what pisses some people, like Steve, off.
So if you don't like it, and can't tolerate it long enough to swig some cheap pints and appetizers, then take a walk to one of the other limited choices around -- Blind Onion, Market Street McMenamin's, Suki's, Mummy's, or Jasmine Tree.
I'm a Sr. @ PSU and I remember the night Steve had such a bad experience at the Tortoise. He was acting like such a big shot shooting his mouth off about his dad's previous job at Coke (inventor of the "New" Coke circa 1987)and double fisting a Zima. He made a couple of off color general statments about Single Mothers and Folks that have to take the Bus or the Max jsut to get around Portland. Later in the evening he shot some Pool with a couple of Frat Boys and was invited back to a private party where they quickly "Hog Tied" him to a water heater in the basement then he done pissed himself... Sorry Steve, but the story must be told !
BTW you owe us .50$ for that Game of Pool.
Fear the Turtle !
This message is to all of you who feel that you have had bad experiences at the Cheerful Tortoise.
I feel I need to clear up some issues.
First of all, you should not base your assumptions on a single visit to any establishment. And from the generalizations made above, it sounds as if you've all come a merely a handful of times. Not only are the employees drug free, but their children all have great relationships with their fathers.
I'm sorry that you have issues with their appearances. It sounds like some reviews are from some bitter ladies, their men's attention being distracted by the beautiful women slinging drinks. Or maybe the women who can the the jock/frat boys to give them a second look. Oddly, all the staff believe that showering daily is a must and unfortunately, there are no bottle tans, except for a few customers. And if you happened to search their purses, you'd find that they responsibly leave their eightballs with the babysitter.
Not only do they take their jobs seriously, but they treat their customers with respect. And just remember, if you recieve poor service at a bar, its probably because you're treating your server poorly.
As for the rumor that roofies are slipped at the Cheerful. Get real hun. Nobody would want to do you even if you were willing.
I am going to be as polite as I can in reply to your review of the Cheerful Tortoise. Although, the cheerful is a college bar, voted the best by journalists of greater calliber than the "Bar Fly", it is, none the less, a college bar.
It saddens me to hear you slander(libel) the employees. Have you children of your own (and juggle a real job)? There are no foster homes, no meth. Just good people making their way through life. Just like you Steve.
In addition, should you ever sit with the daytime regular croud and not be an idiot, you may find that you could learn a lot from older pillars in the community. Wouldn't you like to have already made enough money to sit and hang in a wooden establilshment run by beautiful women? Given that particular environment and your reveiw, I'm not sure what your problem is exactly. Respecting your elders is an appropriate reply to the innapropriate, and slanderous reveiw that you scribbled for your rag.
I will be in touch with your employer and the better business bureau to take appropriate action in accord with abuse of the first ammendment, as slander(libel} is illegal and punishable. Please, in the future, regardless of where you live, do not try to walk a talk without being very sure you are correct.
Contact me, as I am interested in your reply....
I went to PSU for a year and transferred out because it was too much like a four-year Community College.
When I was there in '98, there were no fraternities. If there were, they were too inconsequential to notice. Where do they stay? College Housing NW? It's not a real fraternity unless you have a house in which to be latently homoerotic.
As for the bar, Thirsty Thursday is alright, but I'd wipe the rim of your glass.
I don't know you. But I do live across the street and have for a year now.Steve did hit all of the major points of this bar. I would wholeheartedly agree with the original poster about her points. If it was a her, because it came across as it was. She apparently didn't like the groping our winning football team had to offer. However, she and Steve are correct about the meth, lack of service, daytime winners, etc... The frat boys don't ever seem to be as rude or vulgar as the football players, maybe even 'suave', when they flirt w/me. However I would almost expect to have someone slip something in my drink there if I was to get smashed so I could wake up after a Viking gang bang that was posted on the internet. Girls stay safe, not there.
Internet reviews rely on several assumptions: the reviewer has no vested and/or ideological interest and/or vendetta for or against the reviewed establishment. I have none. I'm a consumer such as yourself, with similar needs, wants, and tastes. The following are only observations that I've gained in living across the street from the dreaded place for six months.
The afterwork and daytime crowd is the epitome of those who have pretty much given up on everything, but still have the cash to drink. Depressed alcoholic old men, both fat and sallow, line the bar and stare into space or at a television, moving only to take a drag, drink, or ask for another. A few gather in a back area to play video lotto games.
Passing the lotto crowd on the way to the bathroom initiates pangs of mortality and the fear of manifesting a wasted life into my heart. To breathe their dank chainsmoking atmosphere, to see the lotto screens reflect blue light off of their eyeglasses, their reticent faces hidden or contorted by trucker hats, beards, and wrinkles, is to realize there are fates worse than death.
The staff, average age 26 and sporting an orange tan and blonde shade or something similar of Maxim hair coloring, rolls through the drab interior, making brief, sharp heckles that emulate laughter, always managing to look busy, but never quite delivering anthing before one has thought twice that it has taken too damn long. Their attention always lands elsewhere than your direction, though they manage to please the previously mentioned troglodytes, slinging drink after cheap deprecating drink towards them, as Satan might feed souls, indifferently yet purposefully, to his cenobites.
But, seriously, I haven't given the staff enough credit. Between getting up early to reclaim their illegitimate children from foster families and then moving them from daycare to their parents or neighbors, to spending all afternoon chasing down that eightball, because "all this shit is getting expensive," and still having time to primp and make it to the Tortoise, one begins to realize this is a talented group.
As for violence among the evening crowd, or the lack of, the establishment is reasonably safe. Aside from professional athletes fighting on the televisions, the only damage wrought at the Cheerul Tortoise is on the pocket, mind, and soul. I haven't personally met the violent frat boys. The only two fraternity representatives I met were having a slow night, so perhaps or perhaps not as a result of, the chubby one with the lisp admitted to a group of strangers that, "Yes, I probably am gay. It only comes out when I'm drunk like this."
Having said all of this, I'd like to end on a Cheerful note and mention that one can be reasonably sure they will not be the most enibriated patron at the Tortoise.
i love this place.. being a frat boy makes me love it even more.. great place to meet that special lady! Peace
I hate the cheerful tortoise. Let's see where to begin.... 1) Must be a Frat/Jock boy to be in there. 2)Frats/Jocks make the rules, they can get violent without provocation 3) Bartenders have yet to go to sleep because of their meth habits. 4) Bartenders/Employees let drunk Fratboys/Jocks grope whomever they want and if you complain, you get ousted. Those are the dominate traits of the patrons/Employees of this fine establishment. I cannot generalize to every individual there, but if you read this rave review before you visit you will see what I say is true.
Overall Rating of Cheerful Tortoise
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