September 10, 2012

‘Have a Pint—Change the World,’ New Oregon Bar Says

Pub is in vanguard of recent philanthropic trend

A new pub is coming to the gentrifying Woodlawn neighborhood of Portland. When it opens, the Oregon Public House will serve locally brewed beer and food sourced from the region.

Bar patrons will also find another item on the menu: a choice of local nonprofit groups to which they would like their tabs to be donated.

The Oregon Public House will be a nonprofit pub, and all its profits will go to charity. Its tag line is “Have a Pint—Change the World.”

The effort is headed by Ryan Saari, pastor of The Oregon Community, a place of worship.

The bar is located in the same building as the Village Ballroom, where church members congregate on Sundays. The opening date is uncertain because renovations to the restaurant space where it will be located are yet to be completed.

Saari and other volunteer founders are intent on finishing the work without going into debt. This will allow all profits to immediately start going to charity after the opening.

According to the bar’s website, nonprofits receiving donations from the bar will be rotated semiannually.

The founders are currently seeking volunteers and soliciting contributions to complete the renovation work. Proceeds from managing the ballroom pay rent on the space.

Donors are incentivized to make large donations. Level 1 Founders ($2,500 contribution) will receive one beer a day for life, while Level 2 Founders ($1,500) will get one beer a week for life.

Once it opens, a handful of employees will be hired to manage and run the pub.

As a philanthropic enterprise, the Oregon Public House is unusual, offering an opportunity both to imbibe and do good, and may be the first of its kind as it purports. If so, it will soon have company.

Bloomberg BusinessWeek recently identified similar establishments about to open in Washington, D.C., and Houston and a new brewer in Minnesota that intends to give 100% of its profits to charity.

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