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
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
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
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