aholmans-inBy Nancy Tannler

 

 

15 SE 28th Ave. at Burnside St.

503.231.1093

www.holmanspdx.com

Daily 8 am – 2:30 am

Holman’s Bar and Grill has become an institution here in SE Portland serving people food and libations for more than eighty years. Back in the thirties, it opened as a small lunch counter and rumor has it that it also served as a bootlegger’s saloon. After Prohibition in 1933 it became The Hello Inn until Alice Holman became the proprietress in 1946.

Current owners Bill and his sister Judy, Craine entered the picture in the 1970s. Bill owned B.C. Auto Body around the corner on E. Burnside and came in regularly for lunch since there weren’t a lot of restaurant choices around. He told Alice Holman it was the worst food ever and her response was then why don’t you buy the business? Bill thought “How hard could it be?” and said yes.

Judy Craine was ready for a change in her career and got on- board with brother Bill – after all, how hard could it be? “God looks out for fools and little children,” Judy said. Running a bar and restaurant took some skill which neither Bill or Judy were totally prepared for. Fortunately longtime Holman alumnus bartender Donna and Mary the cook stayed on, helping to guide the siblings in those first tremulous years.

Holman’s eventual acquisition of the game room to the south, the dining area to the north and the outdoor patio expanded the capacity to serve about 150 people. The place has an ambience sure to move the imagination of those looking for that comfortable, down home place for food, drink and entertainment.

The customers these days may seem like a younger crowd but Holmans is still the welcoming restaurant it’s always been for older generations. “It’s changed because the younger people are still awake in the evenings,” Judy said.

With walls creatively decorated with cool thrift shop kitsch, old time promotional beer posters and neon in the bar, they uncovered original cigar box art made into large posters hanging up. “…A real surprise to find when we took down the white paneling,” Judy said. In the game room, the Craine’s have  a pool table, a Big Buck Hunter game, a PacMan and several retro-vintage pinballs which are rotated regularly.

The new manager Chris Durand is revving up their first pin ball tournament to be held on February 12 at 7 pm; once again become a popular indoor sport. Another game, Cornhole–bean bag toss–is being revived and becoming competitive.

The food heralds from the fifties with a large selection of burgers and fries – including veggie; sandwiches, French dip, hot turkey and steak; fish and chips, chicken strips and corn dogs; chicken-fried steak and top sirloin and they serve breakfast all day.

Holman’s famous “Meal Wheel” boasts over 17,000 winners. If you spin the wheel and the red arrows match, your food is free!

The Holman Whiskey Club was started in 2011. Originally the plan was to decide what the best whiskey was, but after months of enthusiastic tastings, it was decided there wasn’t just one winner. They selected their favorite Bourbon, Irish and Scotch whiskeys and when members of the club try them all, they get a T-shirt and their name emblazoned on a Whiskey Club plaque.

Saturday and Sunday mornings Holman’s hosts Portland’s Original Bloody Mary Bar where customers can customize their own Bloody Mary with a selection of over 100 mixes, hot sauces and fresh garnishes.

The back patio is open all year. In spring the fountain begins to flow and the foliage flourishes. It’s a satisfying, out-of-the way place to hang out.

Since Holman’s began as a bar and the entry is through the bar, Bill and Judy decided to keep it an over 21 place. They are open seven days a week from 8 am – 2:30.

Judy, Bill and their fine staff look forward to serving you.