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PubCrawler - Report Review for Bridgeport Brewing Company and Public House - Portland, OR
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December 21, 2014 @ 06:02 PM EDT
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of Bridgeport Brewing Company and Public House - Portland, OR

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"For what it's worth, I was in Portland last weekend and walked over to the brewery to see what the state of the renovation was. There were people walking in and out, so thinking it had opened back up, I walked inside. The hostess stated that they were doing practice runs for the new waitstaff and kitchen, but would open officially on Feb 23rd, in the meantime I could go ahead and have a look around. First impression? They took one of the best spaces in the country to sit, drink beer, read a paper, have casual conversation, etc., and absolutely, completely, and utterly _ruined_ it. I can not express how depressing it was. For those not familiar with the Pearl District where it's located, this section of Portland used to be a gritty industrial warehouse area. Indeed, the Bridgeport Brewery is located in an old rope factory. In the last few years however, the Pearl has been a neighborhood in transition as it's been zoned for condo development. The development is quite impressive. High density in an urban core with lots of open space. Certainly a model that other cities should emulate. However, Portland is a very artsy city (visit any McMenamin's building for example). And with the arts and urban environment comes a certain amount urban hip. Bridgeport has decided to embrace the urban hip design elements completely. Gone are the wood tables with comfortable wood chairs that you could sit in for hours. In are brushed steel chest high tables, with backless black steel stools with 8" square seats. Pray tell, how are we supposed to sit on that and enjoy a beer or two or three? Gone is the wood bar with 5 english beer engines prominently displayed up front. In, is this god-awful ugly corrugated steel bar with steel bartop and a tap assembly that looks like the glycol chiller has gone stark raving mad (each tap array was covered in a 1/4" layer of ice and frost). Gone is the notion that there's a proper serving temperature for a Bridgeport ale. The beer engines are now hidden behind the bar, and they've reduced the number to 3. I couldn't find them at first, I had to ask if they were still serving cask consitioned ale. A massive step backward. Gone is the pretzel jar where you could get a little paper bowl of pretzels for 10 cents on the honor system. In is a menu of trendy food the same as you'll find at a dozen other Pearl district eateries. Gone is the come-as-you-are, sit-whereever-you-want, order-food-or-don't we don't care atmosphere. In are model-like hostesses who greet you at the door and escort you to one of the brushed steel, uncomfortable chair tables where you are expected to order food, eat it, and get out. Gone is the eclectic assortment of newspapers and bulletins you could find to read and pass the time as you savored their excellent cask selections. In, is the menu, as there's nothing else to read and certainly no space or comfort on the tiny little tables? Did I mention how much yet I hate those tables and chairs? To stick the knife in and twist, to rub salt in the open wounds, they've torn out portions of the second floor. In so doing they had to cut and remove the massive wooden beams that ran across the first floor ceiling. These were beams that reeked history, beams that oozed character, beams cut from old growth wood, incredibly valuable material. Gone. Discarded. All in the name of "upgrading" the space so that it could be a carbon copy of every other establishment in the Pearl district. Shameful. Completely and utterly shameful. The old Bridgeport was a truely unique space set in the context of the historic building it occupied. A place where a beer lover could come and be assured that the beer was served properly and that the staff wouldn't rush you out. The new Bridgeport is a clone of everything else in the Pearl. A place that turns it's back on the history of it's building, and place that pushes commerce over beer, a place that I now have no desire to return to."

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