Tonight at the Matador on Burnside, bartender Laura Caroll will be working her last shift. She’s been behind the bar at the storied Portland watering hole since 1970, pouring drinks for the thirsty dive bar denizens of Portland’s Westside. She’s worked through three changes of ownership, and has probably seen more hip young people try to hook-up than any other bartender in town. She’s probably watched a few barflys bite the dust too.

Earlier today I spoke with Matador owner Casey Maxwell about Caroll’s retirement. “She’s a hard worker,” he said. “She can still outwork most of us.”

He’d love to see her stay, but her family has built a home in North Carolina for her and she’s ready to move on.

“She’s part of the Matador,” Maxwell said. “This place has its own soul and she’s a part of that. It’s not going to be the same without her.”

Stop in to the Matador tonight, have a shot, and say goodbye. Oh, and you better make up for all the times you’ve stiffed her on the tip, too.

God bless you, Laura, from the bottom of the Mercury’s boozy heart!