Last week Tinker Tavern received building permits for for their new Montavilla Tavern. This project has been delayed due to COVID-19 related shutdowns and was in a holding pattern, waiting for the city’s approval. Now work will begin in just a few weeks.
Tinker Tavern is going to have an “old school tavern look… classic.” Said Erik Mahan, owner of Tinker Tavern. He described Tiffany style lamps and swivel bar stools as elements of the design esthetic. The goal is to create a comfortable space, Mahan explained. He is not looking to challenge the customers through design but instead create a welcoming neighborhood bar.
The location of Tinker Tavern, 7980 SE Stark Street, was formerly a retail store. Transforming the space into a tavern, with a kitchen, will take some time. Mahan expects construction to last 10 weeks, as long as trade work is not overly delayed due to social distancing measures.
The added delay in opening, has given Mahan time to adjust his buildout to deal with the COVID-19 restrictions. He anticipates opening Tinker Tavern in phase two of Multnomah County’s reopening process. Currently he’s operating his other location, Bantam Tavern on NW 21st Ave, under the general restrictions. That has provided him the experience needed to make smart design choices for Tinker Tavern. Choices that will help him open safely and still function as a Tavern.
To meet the phase two guidelines, he has eliminated a table from his original interior layout, allowing for the required distancing of guests. Further interior modifications will include the use of plexiglass, to provide separation between groups. Fortunately the building is setback from the sidewalk and that will allow for outdoor seating. Mahan will use planters to create an 8 foot by fourteen foot outdoor seating area. He also plans to apply for Street Seating through the PBOT program, when he is closer to opening.
When asked why he chose Montavilla for his new Tavern, Mahan explained he has been a longtime fan of the area. He was impressed with other bars in the area, like Roscoe’s and has watched how they have grown. Mahan’s girlfriend lives in the neighborhood and they frequently walk the streets of Montavilla. It was on one of those walks that he saw this space available and knew it would be a great fit for his next Tavern. Being on SE Stark Street and a corner property made it an ideal location. Mahan described the location as an “attractive newer building.” Taking a space in an older Montavilla storefront, would not be as easy to upgrade with all the features he wanted to add.
Mahan sees a neighborhood bar as more than just serving neighborhood customers. He wants to incorporate items from other local businesses in the tavern’s offerings. Look for local beers and food items to be on his menu.
Construction will start soon and residents should expect to see activity at the site in the coming weeks. They have set up a Tinker Tavern Instagram as the primary way to communicate about their progress. Mahan said he will be posting updates and construction pictures there as things progress.