Former bowling alley
Spare Room steps back in time w/Larry & Teri
There is a very unique nightclub on N.E. 42nd Street in Portland that provides entertainment, refreshments and good food to patrons whose ages span a difference of more than 60 years.
This unique place is The Spare Room, once a bowling alley/bar/restaurant operation. It is now a nightclub on its own merits, as the bowling alley disappeared many years ago.
This writer and a lovely companion stopped in on the Friday before Halloween, and both immediately felt at home. This is a very comfortable, friendly place, and you feel welcomed right away.
Manager Ray Jean graciously took time from a very busy evening to explain a bit of detail about the place. The Spare Room has been a staple of N.E. 42nd Avenue for decades, and Jean couldn't remember exactly how long the Room has been in operation.
"I can vouch for at least 30 years," she says. "I played music here in 1976, when I first came to the Portland area from my origins in San Francisco."
The clientele of The Spare Room is quite diverse, with couples of college-age and those who were four or five decades older. They all shared the dance floor, smiling, laughing and having a great time. There is a good, comfortable atmosphere and very nice employees, all of whom seem to genuinely enjoy working there.
The Spare Room is open from 7 a.m. to 2:30 a.m. every day with a full menu served during all open hours. Both breakfast and dinner specials are served every day with an added bonus of 1980s prices.
Live music is featured Friday and Saturday nights and Karaoke the other five nights. In addition, Monday night bingo from 7 to 9 p.m. has prizes of as high as $700!
On the Friday before Halloween, entertainment was provided by Larry & Teri, a very good, tight duo who've played here at least one weekend a month since 1997; (They have played together more than 15 years). With Teri Colton on keyboards and vocals and Larry Simmons on guitar and vocals, they augment their instrumentation with off-board electronics and play tunes covering most of the last six decades. It was just perfect for this crowd of an extreme age spread. Seriously, couples in their early 20s were dancing happily next to couples in their 70s on a packed dance floor; it was very cool!
The diverse selection of material Larry & Teri perform is impressive, as is the overall volume, low enough to converse easily, but loud enough that the dance floor was bathed in full-range frequencies. Everyone just had to dance!
The Spare Room is a slice-out-of-time with a look that belies the many decades it' been here and a very comfortable feel from the moment you enter. Good food, good drinks, friendly people and terrific prices met with very good entertainment make a visit a worthy outing. (See ad and Music on Tap this issue for future performances and NYE party details.)