I love classy things. I love sophistication. I love throwbacks and vintage. I love pool and jazz. “Can this all be found in one place?” I said to myself. For years, the answer to this question was right under my nose but I couldn’t see it. That is, until I discovered Uptown Billiards Club located at 120 NW 23rd Avenue in Portland, Oregon.
I couldn’t answer this question for years because Uptown Billiards is intentionally invisible. There are no big signs, no big windows, no big doors; just a simple black awning over a black door which opens to their stairs. Stepping into Uptown Billiards Club is like stepping into a Prohibition-Era speakeasy.
Now in its twentieth year, “Uptown Billiards is a vintage jazzy joint with sultry decor, down-to-earth staff, fun things to do, and a commitment to serve the best food and drink in Portland (at) prices everyone will think are more than fair.”
Despite the throwback vibe of the joint, Uptown Billiards is genuine. There’s no rehearsed sales pitches, no neon signs advertising Miller Lite and Budweiser, no high pressure sales tactics or up selling: just laid back, devil-may-care relaxation.
With a bar built in 1880, with waitresses in slinky black dresses and slick backed, bottled blonde hair, with eight beers on tap, with 206 varieties of wine bottles and with over 2,000 songs in their musical library, Uptown Billiards Club promises a new and exciting experience with each visit.
I remember fondly my first visit here. My wife and I stepped in: me with my fedora, tailed tuxedo and cane, she with her scandalous red dress, red rose in her hair, and Clara Bow hat on her gorgeous blonde curls. We enjoyed libations; we snapped along to the tunes and shot a few games of pool. I remember looking over my shoulder, worried at any moment that Elliot Ness and his Untouchables might make an appearance. I was ready for those coppers… but I didn’t have to be. This is 2014. The only speakeasies that exist are in memory and the only time the cops will bust you for drinking is if it’s accompanied by driving.
This was the best and most unique night out that I’d had for a long, long time and, because Uptown Billiards Club is so conveniently located—it’s an experience I can have again and again. It’s a little spendy, but well worth the pretty penny. They’re open late so parking and travel there is a breeze. Come on down, guys and dolls. You won’t be sorry.