It was a sad day earlier this year when the Know announced it would be closing at the end of November. The Portland dive bar and punk venue has been ground zero for Portland's music underground, as well as a stalwart bastion against the encroaching gentrification of NE Alberta. More importantly, it was a great place to drink beer, play pinball, and listen to bands.
Today the Mercury learned that the Know just picked up the keys for a new location, meaning that Portland's finest sanctum of all things loud and proud has a new home. Fittingly, the new address is 3728 NE Sandy—which old-school Portlanders will recognize as the address of the Blackbird, the legendary indie-rock venue that closed in 2003.
That spot has been several businesses in the years since, including its longest incarnation as the previous location of Tony Starlight's, and more recently as jazz venue Mazza's Club (although some of us will never forget when it was Atkins-friendly restaurant Uncle Butchy's Low-Carb Creations). The fact that the Know, after almost 12 glorious years, has found a second home there (and will be remaining in Northeast Portland, no less) is more than appropriate—it might be the best news the Portland music scene has heard all year.
[UPDATED] Ryan Stowe will be the sole owner of the new establishment, as his current partner Danny Bortfeld is moving to Pittsburgh. Stowe thinks it'll still be called the Know—"for now," he says. He tells the Mercury that they'll be putting a new roof on the spot over the Christmas holiday, with hopes of opening at the end of January at the earliest. The interior space, at roughly 3,000 square feet, is a good 1,000 feet more room than what the Know has now (the entire property, including basement and the upper level, is around 5,000 square feet), which means there's space for a proper kitchen that will make good, actual food—a big improvement over the peanuts that are the staple of the Know's current menu. Stowe also says that the philosophy of the Know will not change in any way, that it'll still be a relaxed place to hang out, drink beer, and see bands. "It's the end of an era here on Alberta," says Stowe, "but we're very much excited to bring a venue back to the Tony Starlight's spot and keep the Know going."
In the meantime, the Know ends its run at its existing location at 2026 NE Alberta on November 30, so there's plenty of time to bid it a fond adieu. Check out the Know 1.0's calendar of final shows here. And you can read about the closure of the Blackbird in the Mercury's archives.