This confirms rumors that have been circulating online the past few days, and it's a sad blow to longtime fans of the Club (and the Mercury specifically, as the quirky building has been the paper's unofficial clubhouse, dating from the years when we were their next-door neighbors). "It kinda sucks, and we're upset about it," said Boothby, referring to himself and business partner Marcus Archambeault. "We gave it a really good try. If I owned the land, I would keep the Club there forever."
There are a couple of silver linings. The bar's decor will be transferred to a new place that Boothby and Archambeault are opening later this year. That new bar is still in the works ("we're 95 percent done," Boothby says), but they're hoping to transfer as much of the bar's interior as they can over to the new space. The as-yet-unopened bar will also provide a home for Club 21's existing food program, which Boothby and Archambeault greatly improved when they took over the space a few years back. And Club 21's employees will all have places to go, including this new spot and the pair's other businesses, which include the refurbished Sandy Hut (just down NE Sandy from Club 21), SE Hawthorne's Gold Dust Meridian, SE Division's Double Barrel, and the newly acquired Alibi tiki bar on N Interstate.
However, the iconic building itself will be demolished at some point to make room for a large mixed-use building, which is a real loss. With the possibility of relocation no longer an option, Boothby and Archambeault recognize that it's time to adapt and move forward with their new projects. Club 21 itself was just one of the many businesses to make its home beneath that odd, chateau-like roof since the 1930s, when it opened as a Russian orthodox church. This is the last weekend to enjoy one of Portland's great dive bars.
Club 21, 2035 NE Glisan