Update: Ryan’s comment below about the Platypus is correct, I’ve updated accordingly.
Some less-than-stellar beer news items that came out in the past week to start the new year off with, both reported by the Bulletin:
The Oblivion Brewing Brewpub, which (was) located on Galveston Avenue on the westside next door to Versante Pizza, closed as of yesterday (the 31st). However it’s not quite as dire as it sounds—the Bulletin article sounded a bit like the brewing company itself was closing, which is not the case. Rather:
The partnership that created the pub — owner Jon Sargent and brewers Darin Butschy and Meghann Butschy — agreed to part ways, Sargent and Meghann Butschy said Tuesday. The pub will probably end its short run on Thursday, New Year’s Eve, Sargent said.
“We came to a mutual agreement, and that was fine,” he said. “I’m just wanting to get my stress level back to a normal situation. Even this week, we’ve been slammed; the lines were out the door. It’s not about not being successful; it’s about getting my old life back.”
The Butschys will turn their focus to a planned business expansion, and Sargent said: “I’m not going to lose anything; it’s a good story, to be honest.”
“The pub did phenomenal,” Meghann Butschy said. “It still is. It was packed last night. That’s not the issue. Sometimes the stress outweighs the money. We’re happy with Jon; if he wants to get out, that’s fine.”
Sargent said another, similar business is moving into the same space, but he declined to identify it, citing a nondisclosure agreement. He said all Oblivion restaurant employees, about 13, will have an opportunity to work with the new business.
Sargent will continue to operate Versante Pizza, his neighboring business in the same building as the Oblivion pub. The operation there is less complicated than a full-service restaurant, he said.
Ultimately, Oblivion should be expanding their brewing operations and you’ll see them on tap more places around town. As for the “similar business” taking over that brewpub space, I assume there is an announcement coming but it’s all rumors right now.
Meanwhile, in the center of town the Brew Shop and Platypus Pub will have to find a new location to move to, because the property owner wants to potentially demolish the building and put in new retail:
The owners of Platypus Pub and The Brew Shop, both located at 1203 NE Third St., are looking for a new home, said business co-owner Jeff Hawes.
Compass Commercial Real Estate Services is advertising space for lease in a potential retail development at the site, about two blocks north of NE Greenwood Avenue.
Russell Huntamer, a broker with Compass Commercial, said a preliminary site plan includes razing the existing structure, which has been a church and restaurant before becoming a pub and homebrewing supply and retail beer shop, to make way for new construction.
A “national coffee chain” had signed a letter of intent to lease part of the space shown as 1,850 square feet on a flier for the property. The plan shows 9,400 square feet of total new construction, a possible drive-thru window and a parking lot with room for 42 cars. The design is “very preliminary,” Huntamer said.
“It would definitely be an improvement for that corridor,” he said Dec. 15.
The real estate firm needs a sufficient number of prospective tenants to move the project forward, Huntamer said. He declined to name the coffee chain. Deals that would bring tenants to the prospective retail project are “still in process,” he said at the time.
The property was home to a Nazarene church, and in August 1976, Bend’s first French restaurant, Le Bistro, opened there, according to The Bulletin archives. Ernesto’s Italian Restaurant followed Le Bistro and remained at the location until 2008.
I talked with Jeff [co-owner] the other day and he told me they’d need to be out by the end of February, 2017 (13 months). No ideas yet on where they would move to, or if a potential space would even allow them to keep the Pub open.
Quick bit of disclosure: the owners of the Brew Shop and Platypus are friends, I buy beer making ingredients and equipment there, and they sell my book. So take this next bit of editorializing however you like it.
I think tearing down that building to build boxy, generic retail space is a terrible, terrible idea. That building itself, while not officially an historic space, is unique and has historic value to Bend, and the current tenants have done an amazing job with it between the beer and brewing supply shop on the main floor and the Platypus Pub space downstairs. Granted the parking isn’t the best (name a place on Third Street where the parking is good, though) but I don’t see how they can magically increase parking to 42 spaces unless they tear down an adjacent building (and remember the 2nd Street Theater shares the lot with it).
The days of the building being a church were before my time, but I ate at Le Bistro at least once, and of course ate there a number of times when it was Ernesto’s, which did such a great job with the basement bar that the Platypus continued. The building is (to me) interesting from an architectural viewpoint, with a distinctive look, and how can you not like the speakeasy feel of a basement pub? There is no way tearing it down for a boxy Walgreens-type development would “definitely be an improvement for that corridor” — quite the opposite.
So the Brew Shop and Platypus Pub will have to move, by the end of February 2017. Any ideas on where they should move to?