Venue notes: Euphoria Tavern, Portland OR

Longtime music venue whose owner decided to experiment with booking punk bands in 1981. Apparently long defunct. Was located at 315 SE 3rd Ave. The site is currently (2006) occupied by a club called Rotture.

Onetime club employee Perrin Coman, writing in Jan 2008, recalls:
      I came to Portland in 1981 from San Francisco, where I was an art student at what was then the Academy of Art College. Within a week of landing in Portland... I was working nights as a waitress/bartender/ticket-taker at the Euphoria.

As I recall it these many years later, the Euphoria was in a cavernous old brick warehouse down on the Willamette. It was the shape of a giant shoebox inside, with the stage at the far end from the entrance. It was raucous most every night. The main bar was against the back wall at the entrance and there was a second bar next to the stage at front.

The Euphoria booked bands that were established and those coming up. I recall working the bar next to the stage when Tina Turner came through on what was considered her comeback tour after her divorce from Ike. She hadn't been much on the scene in the US. She was considered old at that time, about 50 (I was in my early 20s) I do vividly remember working that bar about 20 feet from those famous legs and thinking, "Wow!"

Another band that came through, then relatively unkown, was Los Lobos.... Straycats also played the Euphoria and I remember loving them. As I write this, I can't seem to recall some of the other better known names, but suffice to say the Euphoria was the place to be in Portland in the early 1980s. I heard a lot of good music....

When I was there, rumors were rampant that the current owners, two guys, funded it with cocaine. This would hardly be surprising. Cocaine was rampant on the club scene on the West Coast and in Portland dating at least back to 1974.... I did find one reference stating that the owners were investigated for cocaine trafficking circa 1980s.

All told, I worked at the Euphoria for about one year.... I remember making decent pay on tips, enjoying the frantic energy, working the bar, and getting to hang out and drink some beers with bandmembers after hours.

The Euphoria reminded me of clubs in San Francisco of that time period, although it was larger.... [It] could pack in 200 to 300 easily.

"Savannah," an employee in the club's early days, adds in Aug 2015:
      I have heard that there is a "new Euphoria" in Portland. I was there at the inception of the '70s Euphoria and can say it was a glorious venue for talent and patrons alike. I don't know and don't really care how it was funded. It was great. I worked there in the restaurant that was vegan, if you wanted, the first time I had ever heard of vegan; and delicious no matter what. Truly homemade soups from housemade stocks, inventive sandwiches, homemade desserts. Trust me, handmade, there was no hand mixer or blender in that kitchen until later.

The bands were great. My band warmed up for fledgling Jimmy Buffett band in 1974, first West coast tour. Euphoria hosted Tom Rush, Albert Collins, Maria Muldaur, The Amazing Rhythm Aces, Elizabeth Cotton, to name a few. I sat next to Roger Daltrey on a couch in the back after their BIG venue show. The whole ambience was great.

It was a memorable time, a wonderful venue, and a delicious part of Portland's musical heritage.

[Do you have more information about this venue? Please email me.]

Return to Hüsker Dü dates page