Denizens of Portland's Northside, prepare to weep! The beloved karaoke joint Chopsticks III—featuring the famed "How Can Be Lounge"—has been sold, and their last night on earth is this Saturday, March 17.
From the Chopsticks III Facebook page:
The original Chopsticks (which is no more, and where singer Elliott Smith reportedly sang karaoke) was followed by Chopsticks II on Burnside (next to the Laurelhurst Theater) which shut down in 2015 to make way for rampant development in the area. It was reopened on 3390 NE Sandy in the old Mynt Gentleman's Club space, and after after Saturday, it will be the sole Chopsticks remaining.
Chopsticks III had a very particular, enthusiastic following, that was at once supportive, competitive, and open to wild experimentation in the art of karaoke. The crowd was a welcome mixture of old-timers, hipsters, drunks, lesbians—a virtual rainbow of bar diversity that's hard to find in other parts of the city. Here's a description of the bar's vibe from a 2013 New York Times article, when Chopsticks III was at its height of wildness:
How Can Be Lounge is located between a heavy-equipment rental shop and a Hanson pipe factory. It’s the kind of awful nightspot where if your watch was broken, you could keep time by the diminishing height of the melting heap of ice dumped in the urinal in the men’s room. When the heap of ice read 10:00, Chopsticks III was jammed with 50 people or more: groups of women out for a night away; a dwarf with an Afro who submitted his power ballads under the stage name Micro; a group of four buddies whose Monday-night karaoke club requires them to sing any song a friend challenges them to, blind. Also, a troupe of puppeteers from a local children’s theater, their snakes, ducks and cowgirls laid carefully across a table in the back of the bar.
This was puppet karaoke.
Yup, that pretty much sums it up. Chopsticks III—you will be missed. Join them on Saturday for one last joyful, tune-filled blowout.