Per the Portland Mercury, Portland’s longest-standing tiki bar, The Alibi, is changing management. Partners Warren Boothby and Marcus Archambeault are taking over from the White family, who have leased The Alibi since 1992. Boothby and Archambeault own the Portland-area bars Club 21, Double Barrel, and Gold Dust Meridian, and they recently oversaw a restoration of the beloved Sandy Hut. It will be a few days before all the licenses transfer, but they hope to take over any day now. Boothby told the Portland Mercury that they intend to keep all of the tiki intact, perhaps adding some pieces, and will also keep and augment the staff. They do plan to revamp the cocktail program.
“We really want to be stewards of this place,” Boothby added. “Like the White family, we want it to be there forever.”
The business that today is The Alibi we know and love has undergone many mutations over the years; it initially began as the “Chat n’ Nibble” back in the late 1880s, when Interstate was just a dirt road and its customers were hitching the horse they rode in on out front. It turned tiki in 1947, and continued to evolve and expand through the 1950s to the 1970s. It’s a vitally important example of rare, genuine mid-century Polynesian Pop, and it is one of my very favorite tiki bars on the planet. I’m holding my breath on this one. Boothby and Archambeault: you’re holding our hearts in your hands. Please let me know if I can help you in your new role as The Alibi’s keeper!
UPDATE: My nearest & dearest fellow tiki-lovers in Portland are all very hopeful about this. In their book, the work done at the Sandy Hut struck the just-right note between restoration and needed upgrades, demonstrating a real understanding of the space, what to change, what to leave alone. Hopes are high that this is exactly the right move to guarantee a solid future for The Alibi.
- The Alibi, Portland [Critiki]
- Club 21 Owners to Take Over Classic North Portland Tiki Bar, The Alibi [Portland Mercury]