Rebecca Wolfe is a familiar face to most Portland barflies. The proverbial angel-flying-too-close-to-the-ground, this drop-dead beauty has been bartending in Pabst-land's grittier establishments for almost a decade. The daughter of two artists, Wolfe is herself a painter. She started bartending to allow her to focus on her art, first at the Panama Red Room and, since 2002, at the Matador. Throughout most of 2006, the Matador was for sale, striking dread in the hearts of drunks everywhere. Rebecca and her coworkers had all started looking for new jobs long before the bar sold in October. When the sale fell through, owner Angelo Marchi suggested Wolfe and fellow Matador institution, Casey Maxwell, assume ownership. Maxwell and Wolfe closed the bar for four days in November to give it a facelift. Now Wolfe's artistic eye is very much in evidence: Lush velvet curtains keep out the unwelcome light from Burnside, there's fresh paint and flooring, the ladies' room doors are découpaged, and the men's loo is even rumored to have a door. And it was Rebecca, of course, who designed the awesome new sign: an old-timey directional hand, which is, upon closer inspection, the rocker salute. Her paintings are as lovely as she is; check 'em out at rebeccamoonwolfe.com
How's owning vs. bartending?
It's great, but it's a little overwhelming. Right now I like bartending better; it's prettier. But I didn't want to lose my job. I love this bar.
Now you have job security.
Ha! It's more like job ball-and-chain.Is it hard for you to fend off the hipster boys when you're behind the bar? You're so über-gorgeous.
I have an imaginary boyfriend at all times. My stunt power-cock Austrian dildo model. You haven't met him because he's always traveling.What do you think is the Matador's unique identity in Portland?
The Matador has an anything-can-happen vibe, there's a little bit of chaos theory. That's what people love about the bar, and much of it is Angelo's essence. We plan to keep that rolling. There will be "bag nights." Angelo's under contract to get naked at least once each calendar year.
What exactly is bag night?
If people don't know, they're going to have to come by and find out.Do you remember the Matador pre-Angelo, when it was a bum bar with a sign on the door that read "No Bedrolls Allowed"?
Yes. I remember going in with Ang when he was thinking about buying it and I was like "No way!" But within six months I ate my words, it was so popular. VIVA LAS VEGAS