Bridgeport Redux

I was going to update my beerfly review of Bridgeport’s brewpub the other day and discovered that it had disappeared. This upset me so much that I decided to put it off.

It doesn’t really make too much sense to wax about how terrific the original brewpub was because it is long gone. Suffice to say that it was easily one of the best brewpubs ever. The Pizza was fantastic, the caesar salad unrivaled, and cask IPA made the trip worth it. We spent a great deal of time there during our first couple years in Portland, but our visits slowed when the Pearl started growing up around it and the menu changed and service required waiting for a table. One of my last experiences at the old pub was standing in line next to a family who was visiting for the first time and had simply stumbled upon it while exploring the Pearl. I couldn’t decide if I was excited or annoyed, but I didn’t have time to decide before Bridgeport announced a 10+ month closure to remodel.

Insert log wait.

A friend was in town the week after Bridgeport’s re-opening and so we included it in our list of places to drink beer. I had heard a few comments through the Brew Crew list serve, but waited to judge myself. When I arrived, some folks that looked like they could have been parallel universe versions of my friends were leaving. One commented to the other that it had turned in to “Henry’s II.” I stuck my fingers into my ears. “La la la la la.”

It’s quite shocking to enter the new building. There’s a lot of room – especially vertical space, that the rather cavernous inside really shrinks you. The warm brick and timber is still there; but it is dwarfed by a darker, classier collection of blacks and whites. On the east end (formerly the quiet room) is a cafe and a few seats. The entry contains a number of standing tables and chairs, and is full of folks enjoying beverages from the expanded bar. Beyond the seats is a dead zone of lonely space that separates people from the bar. I was a little nervous to approach at first, but eventually crossed the divide to order a cask IPA.

The new bar itself is quite lovely. There are serving tanks along the back wall, nice white tiling and stainless accessories. The bar buzzes with activity. What used to consist of taps and pulls and a couple bottles of wine now includes a selection of deep amber liquids and some additional spirits. The bar staff were quite friendly. In fact, everyone was. One thing that was a bit of a change was the army of service that always seemed to be buzzing around.

I took my pint and wandered, checking out the new dining rooms to the east and west of the bar, then upstairs to the cocktail lounge. Up on the sky bridge I found the remnants of Bridgeport that I’d missed. The brick had been re-framed with steel, and still showed that it was the same building. The architecture is very clean, and quit elegant, though much more formal.

The addition of Supris and the new digs reminded me of the Belgo Centraal beirodrome I visited in London several years ago. I loved it there, but I’m still not sure about it here. I need to try again.

1 Response to “Bridgeport Redux”

  • Cool its back up online…nice, now I can use the ABV calculator again.

    As for Bridgeport, still haven’t gotten down there yet but I here its VERY “Pearl districty” now, which I can understand but I loved the laid back chill atmosphere that BP used to have where I could walk in with a t-shirt and flip flops and not feel out of place. OH well, I’ll have to head down there soon and check it out.

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