In 2009, I left Portland with fond memories of the vegan bar, The Bye and Bye. Now three years later, I got to return to that bar to see if it was how I remembered it to be.
The bar has a cool setup with a lot of outdoor seating both in the front and back as well as an open air dining room, which I assume has some sort of window that will close it off in bad weather. On this particular day, it was quite chilly, but in Portland, you have to take the sun when you can get it so the dining room was open to the elements.
It was a Monday afternoon and I was meeting four friends at The Bye and Bye. In the bar area where I was seated, there did not appear to be table service so I grabbed a table, then headed to the bar to order a drink. I asked if there was a spicy drink on the menu. They told me that there was just a ginger drink that had a little kick so I went with the North Williams made with Rebel Yell bourbon and Blenheim's spicy ginger beer in a pint. I also ordered pretzel knots with a nutritional yeast-based cheese sauce to start.
By the time I sat down, everyone had arrived and they eagerly awaited my pretzel knots. Yikes - I didn't realize there were only two. The pretzels were good, but the cheese left much to be desired. Regardless, they didn't last long and were a good starter.
The bar has the laid-back Portland feel to it with tattooed bartenders and limited table service. We enjoyed people watching and taking it all in. I wasn't all that excited about the menu. For some reason, I remembered having a great faux chicken sandwich several years ago. This time, I didn't see anything like that on the menu.
I went with the Weeping Tiger Sandwich. I felt like I had taken a step back in time when they brought out nutritional yeast-coated tofu cutlets on white bread with lettuce, tomato, onion, avocado and jalapenos with sriracha and vegan mayo. You don't see nutritional yeast-based sandwiches much anymore, but that kind of made eating here fun like back in the day. I enjoyed the sandwich, but not the bread so much as I'm not a big fan of white bread. I subbed the chips and salsa for a side of smokey collards, which I enjoyed.
My friend ordered the Samarai bowl, which had the same tofu with carrot-cabbage slaw, brown rice, and miso chile sauce. I found myself wishing I had ordered that as I liked it better. Oh well.
Overall, I enjoyed my time there and will be sure to come with different expectations next time. The Bye and Bye is a fun, laid back vegan bar. If you come for the atmosphere, you will love it. The food is so-so and more what I would deem bar food. The drinks are okay too. So, come with your friends, hang out, have a few vegan small plates, and enjoy a mixed drink. And realize that there really aren't that many vegan bars in this country.
The Bye and Bye
1011 NE Alberta St.
Portland, OR 97211