Tag Archives: River City Saloon

New owners to keep ‘River City’ hopping … as The Waucoma Club

2 Apr

Mike Allen and Jane Harris will be perfect for the Gorge. They wear multiple hats. Coming soon to their heads, the hat of ownership and management at the space now occupied by the River City Saloon.

Soon to be known, according to Jane Harris, as The Waucoma Club — in homage to the original name of the building.

Building owner Bob Carnahan says the Portland couple were attending an event with Friends of the Columbia Gorge, for which Jane has been the longtime development director. They got into a chat with Scott Cook about opportunities out this way. Cook, author of “Curious Gorge,” told them about Carnahan’s plans to shutter the River City on May 1, and his desire to find a new tenant.

The next day, Allen and Harris were meeting with Carnahan, and very interested, to hear him tell it. But he demurred. Another couple from Seattle was also interested, and apparently on their way down to see it, and Carnahan felt obligated to let them at least have a look. Well, turns out they didn’t show up. And Allen and Harris were eager.

Deal done.

They bring a little hospitality experience to the Hood. They own The Rocking Frog Cafe in the Belmont district of Portland, which Harris’s son operates.

“We just sold our home in the Alameda district, and we’re moving out on Thursday,” Harris says.

They’ve got a 5-year lease for the space. “We plan to close for a few weeks to do some redecorating,” Harris says. “And we plan to upgrade  the food. We’ll be serving good organic soups, salads, sandwiches, pastas, and focusing on entertainment.”

Harris says they’ll keep rock ‘n’ roll in the mix, but add a lot more jazz and blues and bluegrass and maybe even some classical stuff.

Panic alert! Carnahan says Allen and Harris will discontinue sales of canned beer. Whaaaa? No more cheap PBR for the shaggy masses? Well, life IS tough. But Harris said not to worry. You’ll still be able to get PBR, just in bottles. Classier, doncha know?

Dave and Jody Barringer, owners of the Naked Winery next door, are excited that new energy will arrive next door. On top of which, Jody  learns that she and Jane attended schools in the same California town, and had spoken on the phone, because Harris was selling the book that Jody and Ruth Berkowitz authored, “Kidding Around the Gorge.

Small world.

Carnahan steers River City in a new direction

5 Mar

To paraphrase the old recruiting poster, Bob Carnahan wants YOU … to take over the space occupied for years by the River City Saloon. It was the Wauna Room up until 1984, became the River City then and came under new ownership in March 2000, when Carnahan bought the fomer Waucoma Hotel (1904) building.


“It was a pretty nasty place until we took it over,” he recalls. “We redid the basement and ground floors, did seismic upgrades.”

He even had a letter of intent from a broadband tech startup, which wanted the upper floors, but that deal collapsed when financing fell through.


Carnahan says 10 years is enough time operating a bar and live music venue. May 1 will be the last day. Then?

He’s flexible. He would like to lease the space, complete with all the audio gear and bar equipment, for around $5K a month. The name comes with the space, if the renter wants. Or they could re-brand. No worries. Carnahan would like at least a 2-year lease.

Heck, a new occupant could probably work a deal with longtime manager Shawn Robarts, who Carnahan says “is as solid as gold.”

Carnahan knows something about the hardness of metal. He still has business interests back in his native Michigan. One, Thixomat, developed an injection molding process for magnesium. In lay terms, they would get the metal soft enough — but not liquid — to extrude into the desired shape.  Curious? The home page has an auto-loaded video explaining how it works.

After retiring from the corporate world and moving to Park City, Utah, Carnahan tried his hand at the restaurant business, then got involved in another company, Radius Engineering, that does high-performance carbon fiber composites. They do carbon fiber bike frames for Trek, for instance.

If you’re interested in the River City space, call Bob at 541-490-0750, or e-mail him.

Ch-ch-changes … @ River City Saloon, Ikote space

4 Mar

No confirmation on any of this yet, but awaiting calls back, let me relay word fromsomeone who should know that the River City Saloon is apparently closing, as of May 1. You may have seen the commercial property for rent ad offering space near Columbia Arts in a historic building. That would be it.

You knew, too (didn’t you?), that Ikote Bead has been transitioning to an online-only operation. The space, at 3rd and Oak, will next dish up … lingerie. Ooo-la-la. More when I know it.