Reagan was president, Milli Vanilli was popular, and Mount Bachelor skiers were still wearing bibs when Bend’s downtown Deschutes Brewery Public House first opened its doors in 1988.
As the popularity of the pioneering Oregon microbrewery swelled with each passing year, so did visitors to the tiny Bond Street brewpub. By 2011, wait times for a table inside the snug space sometimes ticked two hours. Once seated, patrons crammed around tables like little T-Rex’s, elbows tucked in, bending arms only enough to lift glass to lips for fear of knocking some neighboring table’s Black Butte Porter to the floor.
Now we love Mirror Pond Pale Ale (and Inversion IPA and Obsidian Stout and and and….there are 15 beers on tap) as much as the next Oregonian, but there’s a limit to our patience, even for good beer. Fortunately, with the February 1st debut of Deschutes’ expanded bar and restaurant, we no longer have to choose between slaking our thirst and exhaling completely.
With an additional 7,500 square feet, the expansion joins the old property to a new dining room built on a neighboring lot, boosting Deschutes’ seating capacity from 141 to 306. Blown-up images of past Deschutes beer label art dot the walls of the two-story dining room, which is reminiscent of the Pearl District location: it stars massive timber beams, extensive brickwork, and large street-facing windows, perfect for letting Bend’s 300-plus days of sunshine stream in. (In fact, leftover reclaimed wood from the construction of the Portland pub was used to build the new area’s stairs and trellis.)
A shiny, sleek open kitchen lines almost the entire length of the adjoining wall, while upstairs you’ll find more tables and even a private event space that holds 75. Happily for the nostalgic among us, the old space remains much the same. The bar sits where it always has, albeit with a few more seats, and where you once found tables near the entrance, you’ll now find chairs and a waiting area.
The physical expansion hasn’t been mirrored on the menu, which boasts largely the same collection of belly-filling sandwiches and pub grub that it did before. But there is one notable addition: the flatbread pizzas found at the Portland pub have joined Bend’s menu (we particularly like the grilled pear and goat cheese version).
Of course, all the buzz about the new Deschutes means wait times can still come close to 60 minutes at peak hours. But at least now you’ve got a place to stretch your legs and sip a pint of Hop Henge IPA while you wait. Still impatient? Check out our slideshow for a look inside without having to wait.