Life of Riley Tavern300 NW 10th Ave. Portland, OR 97209
Phone: (503) 224.1680
Located in: Pearl District & near Northwest Portland
BarFly's Review of Life of Riley Tavern
Bi-level hangout belies its Pearl District location with a casual, kicked-back sports bar on the ground level, and jukebox, darts, shuffleboard, pool tables, and other games in the basement. Full bars with 24 taps, on both floors. Reliably delicious traditional grill menu. Sidewalk seating affords excellent people-watching!
$3-7 menu 4-7pm daily.
Open 7 days a week, 11:30am-2:30am.
|Life of Riley Tavern's Happy Hours|
|Monday||$3-7 menu 4-7pm daily.|
|Tuesday||$3-7 menu 4-7pm daily.|
|Wednesday||$3-7 menu 4-7pm daily.|
|Thursday||$3-7 menu 4-7pm daily.|
|Friday||$3-7 menu 4-7pm daily.|
|Saturday||$3-7 menu 4-7pm daily.|
|Sunday||$3-7 menu 4-7pm daily.|
Al's Den at the Crystal Hotel, Andina, Bailey's Taproom, Blitz Pearl, bluehour, Camellia Lounge, Cassidy's, Crystal Ballroom, Deschutes Brew Pub, Embers, Henry's Tavern, Holden's, Isabel's Cantina, Jimmy Mak's, Jinx, Local Choice Produce Market, Lola's Room, Low Brow Lounge, Mary's Club, OBA!, Oven and Shaker, Parish Restaurant, Ringler's Annex, Ringler's Pub, Rogue Ales Public House, Santeria, Saucebox, Scandals, Splash Bar, Sweet Masterpiece, Teardrop Lounge, ten 01, The Paragon, Trader Vic's, Tugboat Brewing Company, Urban Studio, Vault Martini, Vino Paradiso, Zeus Cafe at Crystal Hotel
What a shame. Great beer, lovely TV projection screen, decent food but totally cynical staff with the 'no sound during a Timbers game' attitude. Common' owners! This is Portland, Home of the Timbers. My friends and I were amongst the 15 people watching the game vs the 4 that were at the bar with no interest and the staff insisted that there was not enough people in the joint to put the sound of the game on. I am very disappointed with the patriotism of Life of Riley. You disappoint your patrons and you disappoint Portland. Shame on you!
Awesome lunches. Whenever I stay at my condo in the Pearl and I'm hungover (which is every time) I eat lunch at Life of Riley. The burgers are great and its not busy around 2pm. As far as hanging out there to drink, I don't do it. I usually stop there on my pub crawl to have one drink and move on.
Ordered food and beer. Bartender brought both. Half way through I found a good-sized piece of plastic in the food. Bartender was no where to be found. I finally tracked him down and informed him of the problem. He acted confused, did not apologize and left (to the basement I assume). Girl bt comes around, I tell her the issue - she apologizes like crazy saying she wishes I'd told someone earlier. I told her I'd tried. She does not offer to take the food off the bill. I left a note for them, as if it would make a difference. Don't waste your time here even if you're in the Pearl; just don't.
So I've been to this joint before. Food's alright, a little overpriced, they do have a good selection of beer on tap and their basement is chill, pool tables, tv's with the game, sportsbar shit. The service is alright. My Friend and I went there to play pool Sunday night. The basement is dead, maybe four or five customers. I order a beer, my friend asks for a bourbon ginger. He pours my beer and then goes to check my friend's ID. Then he says he can't accept it because it's not laminated. My friend says, yea it is, and the guy snaps back, are you going to argue about this? Friend asks, should I leave then? and the guy says, Yea! Then charges me for my beer. Fuck him. First of all, yes it was laminated. It's not like their bar is well lit and the bartender hardly glanced at it. Secondly, it was dead in there. He even said in the exchange he'd like to serve us, but he couldn't. BS. He could serve us; it wouldn't have mattered, he wouldn't have gotten shit for it, oh, and, we're both 22. Thirdly, when I clearly am not going to be drinking the beer I ordered, don't fucking charge me for it. It costs probably what?, fifty cents to pour, that's not a big loss not to be a douchebag. I haven't had particularly noteworthy experience at the Life of Riley until now, and it was shitty. The bartender who served on April 18th, 8:45 in the basement, was a douchebag. I hope this hurts him and the business, it's not that much of a stretch to be polite. And this comes from someone who's worked in the food industry for years.
I visited Life of Riley for the first time this friday night, my friend and I hung out downstairs because I love smoky dens. It was a pretty cool place, the servers were quick and and friendly and stayed on top of things even though it was packed. The drinks were good and strong. We managed to meet some cool people, however the majority of the crowd was of the typical pearlite variety. Now I hate it when people bitch about how smokey bars are, and as I have stated, I am a smoker and I love smokey dives, but holy shit!! This was by far the smokest space I have ever been! Our eyes where burning! And this feeling lingered the next day. My advice to the owner: crack a few windows when it gets that busy. I saw several. You gotta have a little more circulation in there.
I have been to LoR many, many times. I don't go there for the owner (who I find rude and not very friendly) but rather for his staff of overly friendly and helpful people. The food is good the beer and drinks are always great. Its a great oasis in the snooty pearl.
Full disclosure: I'm not a big fan of the Pearl District. I only go there occasionally (REI, art galleries, etc.), and I try to never eat or drink there.
So when my girlfriend suggested Life of Riley as a place to get food and drinks before seeing a movie, I quailed. But it looked like a good happy hour and was close to the streetcar line, so I figured what the hey.
We had been wandering around the pearl looking for a coffee shop to kill time before meeting friends at LoR for dinner (this was a Saturday around 4pm) and they were all packed full of those people, so we just decided to hit the bar early. In contrast to the mobs of people in the coffee shops, Life of Riley was maybe 1/4 full. Clean, stylish, bright (but not too bright, bar-bright).
I did wander to the bar after a few minutes, because I wasn't sure if there was table service. (See? Some bars don't have table service, that's why I asked instead of throwing a tantrum.) The waitress was just fine, I have no complaints about the service.
We ordered a few happy hr plates (calimari, pigs-in-blanket, good fries) and drinks. Good happy hour deals, especially for a comfy place in the pearl - on a Saturday, no less. Food: good. Beers: good taps. Cocktails: I didn't order one but my friend said the tuaca sidecar was nice. Location: convenient to Burnside, streetcar, pearl, etc. Sports: this was probably my biggest surprise, to find the NFL playoffs on TV (though no comcast = no Blazers - but this is happening all over town and isn't really LoR's fault or problem).
To sum up my rambling review: Life of Riley Tavern is a bar I will visit again, whenever I'm looking for a happy hour in that part of town.
1) This has become my favorite bar. The staff has always been friendly and efficient. They have a great selection of beer. I've been told the mixed drinks are nice, but I don't drink those personally. The food is wonderful. They are definitely a good place to watch sporting events, and also a nice place to relax while reading a book. Not the "perfect" bar, no dance floor, but they do a fantastic job with what they have! Twice they've screwed up my food order, and both times they bent well over backwards to make things right. Once I didn't even notice and they still made things right.
2) Regarding Definitely Not Brian's review: Sir, I happened to be in the bar reading a book while you had the conversation with the tall bartender/owner. I heard most of your exchange. I have no idea what prompted it, but your review implies that it was bad service. Your conversation wasn't about that however, it was about how you could teach the bartender. He was nodding graciously and trying to listen politely. You were following him around the tavern, loudly lecturing to him about your vast experience and knowledge.
No matter what happened before that, any reasonable observer could see that you had long forgotten the original issue. It had become all about ego for you. You felt slighted not by the service, whatever it was, but how the staff didn't acknowledge your status as a Trump-like restaurant kingpin. Why on earth would you follow around an employee like that as they tried to do their job? You looked foolish, as I told a server at the time. Mr. Miller is correct, you were only embarassing yourself and your companions. I hope you learn something from this experience, but it doesn't seem like you will.
3) Happy hour 4-7 seven days a week! Mini pigs in a blanket at half price! I always order more beer than I expect to when I visit, but I still go at least a few times a month anyway.
Life of Riley is very relaxing, inviting, and the staff is super friendly. I have never had any problems here. I especially like how the upstairs is non-smoking, while the downstairs is a smoker's paradise. I highly recommend their cucumber gin and tonic. They make the cucumber gin themselves!
I've gone here since they opened. I haven't been in a couple months, but I will totally vouch for the awesomeness of this place. FANTASTIC food. They have Chimey on TAP. I guess they put a pool table upstairs for the non smokers, but the rest of us black lungers can still go down stairs.
Good grief - what a crappy type of person. I will be going to the LIFE tonight for the first time. But I got to tell you man, please, please post all the clubs , bars and taverns you own in the Pearl. After I get done verifying your information, I'll be sure to stage a protest to all that I know who do in fact patron the Pearl in different locales. I'll be sure that they understand that the LIFE IS the place to go and to stay clear of your clubs. How pathetic you are sir!
i dig this bar, its the place to go when you're in the pearl and fancy-pants places like Vault make you retch. Great happy hour the wings and pigs in a blankey are worth wrecking my diet. Only criticism i have is sometimes the owner is crabby to his employees in front of the customers. Brrr...wouldn't want that large man yelling at me!He's kinda cute though. Try the long island they are ten times better than those nearby yuppie bars.
The service "sux"? Didn't you say yourself there was only one woman serving? This is the problem with people in the world, they only see things from their own selfish perspective. Maybe she didn't get to you because there were people that were there before you and she had to service them first. Before you come on here and trash a great bar, pull your head out of your a**, and take a look around. It's because of people like you, I HATE serving, especially the ignoramus jerk-offs of the world.
Here is the honest poop about Riley's. Later in the evening they work with a bartender (upstairs) to take care of most of the clientele. Meaning she/he is at the bar, pouring the drinks and working the floor. Sure this sometimes leads to longer waits, but it is worth it. “Life” IS the most casual, laid back, friendly and unpretentious bars in the Pearl (props to Low Brow Lounge too, just a totally different place).
I spend most of my time upstairs, so I can speak too much about downstairs (although it can get pretty smoky). I just speak the truth about a bar I go to a few times a month. Clean, good food, above-par service, comfortable and not a place where you have to be “cool.” Whatever that means. Great Portland bar….and I have been to many of them.
Upstairs: Casual low key vibe, big TV's, lots of beer choices and my choice as the better half. Downstairs: dirty smokey frat house..... cant stand it and i lived in one for half a decade.
I understand that Life of Riley has sponsored my former dart team--the Portland Thorns! That's about as cool as it gets! And, even though I currently live in South America, I can't wait until I can come home and check out Life of Riley, which is obviously a perfect place for real P-towners to relax!
My husband and I dropped in here on a rare child-free afternoon and were pleasantly surprised by the genuinely friendly service. Our bartender acted as waitress, and was attentive and chatty without being overly sweet and fake in that "hi, I'm your server" way. We would definitely return when craving a cold beer & greasy yummy fries. All I can say is, thank God we weren't there on the same day as Mr. I Own Several Bars in this Neighborhood and I Enjoy Humiliating People In Front of My So-Called Friends!
Living in the Pearl, I've been to the Life of Riley a few times and have found the staff to be nothing but extremely hospitable and customer service oriented- not something that we see that often in many establishments in Portland. Once I went in by myself, which as a single woman, I rarely if ever do but was walking by on my way home from an event and thought I would stop by for a bite and a beer. I was made very comfortable by the bartender (possibly the same woman that Def. not Brian belittled) who was very friendly, introduced me to a couple of regulars next to me at the bar and was very attentive with both my food and beverage order. The next time I went in, I sat at a table with my sister and her husband, the bartender came over to our table to say hello (someone else took our order earlier), having remembered me from the time prior which had been at least a month. I agree that they could probably use an additional staff person from time to time, yes, but also despite how good of a casual hang out it is, much of the time the number of people in the place doesn't warrant the expense of additional overhead without having the prices raised.
Back to the my response to "The Worse" comment-- I'd say that Definitely Not Brian should just go to one of the stuffy "Pearlized" places that he apparently owns, as despite the sometimes slow service, Life of Riley is a comfortable place to hang out. A forgotten sandwich or delay in service doesn't warrant badgering of anyone and if you're going to voice a complaint like he apparently did, be willing to accept an apology. Otherwise, be quiet, leave and don't bother everyone else. I know Todd, the owner, and he is an up and up guy. After reading his posting to the customer, I believe that he did the right thing with the customer. Possibly too right- if someone is acting like that, they shouldn't just be allowed to leave, they should be thrown out!
I would like to say how sorry I am that your experience with us was not a pleasant one. I do remember you and although we screwed up your order I feel that the service was excellent in other ways. It is not many places that an owner/manager will try to apologize (seven times) for mistakes made while enduring the rants and raves of a gentleman telling them off for fifteen minutes about how many properties they own and how important they are in the pearl district, all the while embarrising the others in their party as well as everyone else in the room. Never mind the disrespectfull manner in which you insisted on pointing and invadeing ones personal space. Two words of advice "mouth wash". I assumed that this is the manner in which you like to enjoy yourself so I let you carry on. And to you now for the eighth time I am sorry about what happend. To set the record straight I am the owner of Life of Riley and I take full responsiblity for the mistakes concerning the service on July 3rd. The girl working the floor at the time was new to us and made a mistake. I was in the back trying to catch up on paper work when I should have been on the floor. With this in mind please realize that every other table in the place was quite happy with their visit and many we have seen since. We have a ever growing number of regulars that keep comming back and love our casual demaenor and personal service as well as our food and drink. If a missing tuna sandwich is the worst thing that ever happens to us I think we will be all right. I am honestly sorry that this happened and promise everyone that we strive to provide the highest quality service, food and drink that we possibly can.
Sincerly Todd Miller
So I'm sitting next to this guy at the Life of Riley a week of two ago. Biggest Piece of Pearl dog shit I have ever laid my eyes on. There was no pleasing this man. The second the bartender walked around the bar and to the table that they were sitting at he was not happy. She's a bartender, walk you unhappy little ass up to the bar and order!! The Poor girl was so patient with this table, maybe she screwed up but that is no reason to cut her down in front of the whole bar even after she apologized profusely. If that wasn't bad enough you insisted on making the matter even worse! The owner came out and apologized several more times and you still were not happy! GO to a different bar, go to one of yours, since you so obviously announced to the whole bar that you pretty much own the whole Pearl District. Yes they are completely understaffed there is no question in that. But again if you want fast service go to McDonald's. As and overworked bartender who has to play waitress for people like you who cant walk to the bar and order I think your lucky you got service in the first place. I would have let you walk out. No one else in the bar seemed to have a problem with her, what the hell is your problem! She was cute, and had a smile on her face even when you were belittling her. I would consider that excellent service. Cause after dealing with you she still came to my table, put on a smile and apologized for the delay.
The worst service I've had in a very long time. The waitress was horrible with customer service. One meal never did arrive even after the rest had eaten. Needs more employees. I will never go there again and will tell all my friends how bad it was.
I was only there once, but the owner was bartending, and he's a really nice guy. They don't have too many TVs, but they did put up the NFL game that we wanted to watch (note, I am writing this in March, so it was a while ago). Comfortable bar. Felt like a neighborhood bar that does (or should) have a bunch of regulars.
The downstairs bartender leaves much to be desired. He could use a course in customer service and in the basics of bartending.
Downstairs has a couple pool tables, and a shuffleboard. Also, there's smoking and a much more casual atmosphere. If you're looking for a good dive in the Pearl District, look no further.
I wrote a review for PortlandFoodandDrink.com. In it, I also said the prices were too high. I visited recently and noticed that they lowered their prices to $4 for pints. Oh, the power of the internet!
P.S. Higgins, your prices are too high :)
I walkedd into this place Sunday evening for some dinner with my SO...we sat down and noticed only 1 woman was serving, waitressing and bartending, but we weren't in a hurry or anything. She never even acknowledged that we came in. We sat at a table for 10 minutes while she completely ignored us. Of course we finally left. I'll never go back.