Portland >Food & Dining > Virginia Caf�
820 SW 10th Ave, Portland, OR | Directions 9720545.518854 -122.682732
Mon. - Sun. 11am - 2:30pm
Neighborhoods: Downtown, Neighbors West - Northwest
This super cozy old school Portland bar right on the streetcar line has booths, cheap drinks, and friendly service-- everything you need--PLUS the most magnificent deconstructed nachos.
A watering hole for locals for nearly 100 years. It's low key and certainly not fancy but rich with Portland memories. In 2008 the Cafe literally did a pub crawl with owners, staff and patrons moving bar stools by hand to their new, current, location after the block that originally hosted the Cafe was sold. Dum Dum suckers in rocks glasses dot the top of the well worn & loved bar. I've found they make excellent and tasty swizzle sticks!
OVERPRICED and rude – The last time I was in the Virginia Cafe was before it moved from the old location. It was so smoky that we had to leave; couldn't see, let alone taste the food. I thought I would try the new location, across from the Central Library, to see if it was any better with the new non-smoking laws in effect.
I was waiting for the Library to open and walked over to check out the menu. A lady (owner/waitress?) came out and said that they did not open until 11am. I said that was OK, I was just checking the menu. She said "But we aren't open."
I thought this a bit rude, since I was reading the menu posted in their front window, not blocking the doorway.
Anyway, I see from the menu that they have nothing special to offer, mostly burgers and salads. WAY OVERPRICED.
I will not bother coming back when they are open.
Terrible Service!!! – Went here whild downtown at the winter beer festival. Two of my guy friends went in there thinking it looked like a good local spot...
Well thats where the good time ended, the service was slow slow slow and Rude! To the point we almost walked out. Had we not already ordered our food I would have left.
Our server singled out the guys... I think she is just a man hating lesbian.
Nice little down town spot – VC has been a nice spot to grab a drink and bite to eat DT. Service has been pretty friendly and prompt when I've been there. Only complaint about the service is that the waitresses should make it a point to check on their tables a little sooner than later after meals have been delivered. There seems to be a huge gap there and drinks sit empty for a while. My other complaint is the house salad. It is nasty. I barely could eat all of mine last time. Just a bunch of watery iceberg lettuce that looks brown and limp. C'mon VC step it up on the house salad front! How much could it cost for a nice fresh baby green salad!? I'd even pay a little more! Otherwise, great pour on the cocktails, friendly staff, non-smoking! (at least it hasn't been smokey when I've been in?), fantastic atmosphere, good music spinning, and a great location!!
Just as good – The new location is almost as good as the old one. I have to say it's cleaner smells better and the food is just as good. I go to a lot of bars both high end and low brow, the new VC fits perfectly in the middle.
No Longer Known For Their Food! – My co-workers and I thought we would give the "new" VC a try since the move. We used to go to their previous location on occasion. Well - they aren't anything like they used to be! The service was terrible. Our waitress acted like she didn't even want to be there! We were almost ready to walk out the door when she finally came to take our order (the place wasn't that busy either - you will know why in a minute). I ordered the fish and chips. The fish seemed to be out of a "Gordon's The Fisherman" box from the local market. The French fries were cold, soggy and just gross! The other 3 in the party ordered different types of burgers. Two were requested medium rare. All three came overcooked and dry as a bone. Because the waitress never came back to see how our orders were - we couldn't let her know. When she delivered the check, we told her how disappointed we were with our lunches and she just placed the check on the table and walked away! So - if you like soggy, cold, gross French fries, overcooked burgers and terrible service - this is the place for you. Otherwise, find somewhere else to spend your lunch hour and money......
No call for that – The young lady from below was encouraging family members to call VC repeatedly, usually during happy hour, to harass VC employees about the billing error. She was not banned, but advised to stick to her usual Pearl District haunts, where they may be more amenable to the bourgeois sense of entitlement she displayed during this entire episode. Good day ma?am. I said good day!
STAY AWAY unless you like to be double-charged. Not cool! – I was double-charged and then BANNED for trying to resolve the problem!! (and then my character was attacked--SEE ABOVE--with lies and accusations!) I really don't know where they get off treating people like they do, but you all should know the real story:
Leah Douvris, the GM at the VC, double-charged my card recently. I noticed a double charge on my account for $15.50 and went by the cafe with a print-out of my online statement. I expected that the manager would simply refund the amount, especially when a customer came back nearly a week later with evidence of a double-charge in hand.
Leah told me to give her time to figure it out. She called me back two days later saying she had double charged my card instead of running my friend's card for his $15.50. She asked that I collect the $15.50 from my friend. I told her that I would rather she refund my card. To which she replied that she could not do that until they had my friend's credit card info. So she asked for his phone number, said she would call him. I asked her to give me a call back when it was resolved, to which she got snippy, rattled off a list of how she was breaking her back trying to take care of this for me today, then hung up the phone on me.
On talking to her again, she was terribly unpleasant to deal with. She talked to the point that a word could not have gotten in edgewise. She said that the phonecall was inappropriate, and then she suggested that it would be best if I never came back to the VC again!
In sum, Leah (the GM) will double-charge your card (perhaps out of carelessness or perhaps on purpose), then tell you to do her work for her, act like it's a terrible inconvenience for her to try to fix her error, then tell you that you are inappropriate for checking in on the progress of getting your money back, then tell you not to come back. The Pearl is a joke, but sadly so is the Virginia Cafe.
Avoid if you have children. – The new location was very tempting right across from the Main Library on 10th downtown. They had no highchairs but the booth we had was comfortable with a nice view of a bustling street. No children's menu. Service was very slow. I had no clue that the place was aiming to be a smokers' bar with cheep drink deals until after I was talking about my post-experience with friends. I was looking for home-style frenchfries. They don't want children in the establishment, please don't be fooled by the booths and sandwich menu this is a college date spot only. The place was full of happy people getting drinks, food orders from my one experience were not a priority of the clients or the staff.
Convenient bar near park blocks – I met up with some coworkers after work at the Cafe. We took the seating on the upper floor. It was a very cozy environment up there. The server was very nice, and everything came pretty fast. I had a cosmo, and it was really good. I didn't have any food, but it looked tasty. It wasn't too rowdy or too quiet in the bar, and it is a great conversation place.
I do have to point that it was a little bit smoky for my preferences. All the smoke rises into the upper floor. The decorations were kind of bland for a bar in downtown Portland. I thought it would use a little more appeal for a bar that has been in the area a while.
Popular bar and grill is still cozy after all these years. – In Short
Though the venerable VC served drinks to its current clientele's grandparents, the place still emits a siren song to scruffy hipsters, journalists and low-key professionals. Barstools are pleasantly crowded, while semi-private booths and an upstairs loft level boost the intimacy quotient. If a neighborhood bar sentiment exists downtown, this is it. A well-attended happy hour rotates around storied burgers, fried appetizers (sans gloppy grease) and a full bar.
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