Portland Sports Bar Series: Cheerful Bullpen
The Cheerful Bullpen is a self-described Bills bar, as in a Buffalo Bills bar, as in a New York Bills football bar. That is not so surprising after you learn that Portland is said to have the second largest Bills fan base outside of Buffalo. But don’t let that fool you, when game day comes and Portland’s own take the field, the Bullpen is filled to the brim with die-hard fans rooting for our home team.And when we say home team, we’re talking Timbers and Thorns.
Aside from the Timbers paraphernalia lining the walls and the ceiling, the Bullpen has another unique draw for the Timbers Army – proximity. The bar is mere feet away from Portland’s Providence Park. So close, the cheers from inside the bar are echoed by the cheers erupting from the stands next door. Go outside and you can almost smell the freshly cut sawdust after each goal.
From the outside, the Bullpen looks like it can fit about three strangers and a small to mid-sized family. But don’t judge this bar by its cover. However big you think it is, times that by two and then add an outdoor patio.
Seating is what you can expect from a traditional sports bar. There are booths, there are couples tables, there are large group round tables and there are about 20 seats at the bar. If you can snag it, there is a large corner area in the front with cushioned seat along the wall with its own TV. It is upholstered with Bills fabric but still comfortable nonetheless.
On a non-game day you can chew the fat with a handful of locals with a steady ebb and flow of small groups coming in and out. The food menu is actually a lot better than you would expect. Think classic pub fare and then some and then a little more. Gourmet pizzas, salads and sandwiches are not a bad addition to your viewing experience but really it’s the wings that people come for. Tuesday is the day to get your moneys worth – three wings for five bucks in any variety of flavors. And if you have a penchant for oral discomfort you can try to tackle the “Cheerful Inferno Wing Challenge” – eat 12 of their Inferno wings in five minutes and not die (also you can’t use napkins, dressing or cut the heat with veggies). Good luck!
Early birds – there is also a full breakfast menu, which is served all day, so you can actually be a little late and still get the worm.
Game day at the Cheerful Bullpen is hype. Know that. Any Timbers game and the bar will be full, and the more important the game, the larger the crowd. This is what we especially like about the Bullpen experience. The crowd is a mix of Portland’s finest, and everyone knows when to cheer. Service is still good with the crowd. The Bullpen team comes prepared with three bartenders and about five servers to keep your glass full and your wings aplenty.
And did we mention the outdoor patio? When the weather is nice, they also have a bar open outside so that you don’t have to forfeit any vitamin D to top off.
Things to Write Home to Your Mom About:
• Viewing parties during away games, often with ticket giveaways for future home games.
• During Timbers’ game window, if you come with a ticket to the game or wearing team gear, you get some sweet happy hour discounts.
• Cocktails are actually good. They are currently playing with ginger and rhubarb infused vodkas.
• Each booth has its own TV.
• There’s a pool table.