Queer Guide 2024

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This Portland Gay Bar Is Opening a Family-Friendly LGBTQIA+ Lounge

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In keeping with the bar's title, Scandals found itself the subject of rumor this spring, after architect Iain MacKenzie tweeted out a liquor license application for a "Scandals East" on NE Alberta. The gossip engine roared to life—was the downtown location moving? Was it closing?
 
It is not, but Scandals East won't be more of the same. The bar's owner David Fones confirmed with the Mercury that he's planning a family-friendly LGBTQIA+ lounge with food, a full bar, and a large outdoor patio space, to open this summer in the big orange house that occupies the corner of Alberta and NE 9th.

Fones says he's wanted to open a family-focused queer space for a while, and purchased the Scandals East building in 2018. Once a convent, it has since been occupied by office spaces, a wellness clinic, and an açaí cafe that specializes in juices and superfoods, Carioca Bowls.

Everyone is staying on; Scandals East will operate out of the same ground floor space as the cafe and serve similar fare: vegan and plant-based entrees that come with optional protein add-ons. "We'll build off a couple of bowls, proteins, some dips, and some sort of bread," he ventured.
A new mural in the outdoor space. mural by Saleam Bey
Sharing space with Carioca Bowls means the decor won't change much—it'll still be a superfruit spot in the morning. "If anything, we'll add a little bit of our flavor," Fones said. "The cafe already has a sizable outdoor area. I love the space; it's got a lot of plants."
 
Right now, Scandals East is waiting on liquor license approval. Fones says that once the OLCC gives the go ahead, the Scandals team can move in quickly.
 
The most important build-out is the vibe. Fones has worked to make the downtown Scandals a straight-friendly, over-21, gay bar with big windows that let in light and street-sized, summertime block parties. "When I was coming out, gay bars had black windows," he explained. "They were dark inside and people were embarrassed—you'd look both ways going in."
 
Fones hopes Scandals East can continue the downtown location's "Gay Cheers" feeling, but in an all-ages space. He stressed: "We want to be sensitive to the neighborhood and to the neighbors, making sure everyone feels part of the vibe we're trying to create."