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The London Underground

Take a trip across the pond to The Cellar for food and beer

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I've worked downtown on and off for over a decade and if there's one thing I've learned in that time, it's that the older I get, the more I want a place to go that I can have a pint, some good food and a conversation without screaming over a Hootie and the Blowfish song. Maybe it's a sign that I'm an old-ass man, but it seems like the older I get, the younger and louder everyone in the bars are and the more desperate they are to be seen and, more importantly, heard.

The Cellar's meat pies pair perfectly with its smooth brews. - JARED RASIC
  • Jared Rasic
  • The Cellar's meat pies pair perfectly with its smooth brews.

Enter The Cellar, an authentic English pub set underground, downtown beneath Silverado on Wall Street and Oregon Avenue. The entire space is designed to make the customer feel like the moment they start traveling down the stairs, they aren't just headed into another bar in Bend, but taking a portal out of Central Oregon completely and traveling across the pond to mellower times.

I love the iconic exposed lava rock walls and wooden beams, the comfortable chairs set near a gorgeous classic lamp, perfectly placed atop a cozy fireplace, near an excellently curated mini library. It's priceless, the feeling of discovering one of the rare places not overrun with hordes of humanity. The Cellar has me sighing with pleasure that something so uniquely its own could exist in a town where it's becoming more and more rare to enter a bar without some form of sports ball blaring from a TV on the wall.

But none of the vibe of The Cellar feels kitsch; instead feeling like an authentic throwback to the kind of hole-in-the-wall English pubs we always hope to stumble across on a rainy fall afternoon. From Deven and Avara Roberts, the team behind Redmond's excellent Porter Brewing Company, The Cellar feels like a place you can go on a first date, or have a pint with friends after a long day of work, or go to with a book on a day where you're feeling a bit more introverted.

I tried each and every one of the cask-conditioned real ales on the menu and am now a bit obsessed with the self-carbonated treats. Unpasteurized, unfiltered and having gone through a secondary fermentation process in the cask, each beer held a smoothness almost as if it came from a nitro tap, but without sacrificing an ounce of flavor. With each beer hand pumped from eight beer engines into 20 oz. imperial pint glasses and served at the cellar temperature without any additional carbonation, the beers aren't as filling as your average craft brew; instead each one I tried was perfect for sipping and conversing and paired excellently with food.

Sit down and have a pint. Or two. - JARED RASIC
  • Jared Rasic
  • Sit down and have a pint. Or two.

From the smooth Reg the Great bitter that goes down sweetly to the 1772 English Porter that combines a low gravity creaminess with a mellow roasted flavor profile, the beers from Porter Brewing were mouthwatering across the board. I've never been much of a fan of red ales, but the Irish Redmond has these subtle hints of malted toffee that I couldn't get tired of tasting.

On top of the excellent beer selection, delectable scratch-made savory pies (made by Deven's mother!) are served at The Cellar. My friend Foxy described the food/drink/vibe combination perfectly: The Cellar feels like being at that cool new friend's house you met in middle school who had the video game system that you didn't have, so you go over to their house and their mom plies you with homemade treats that you never get at your own home. Everything is exciting to try because everything seems new and unique.

The Scottish Meat Pie was covered in a decadent brown gravy and filled with complexly seasoned beef and instantly made me want three more. Don't even get me started on the subtle deliciousness of the Chicken Curry Pie and its light and lovely coconut curry sauce or the Mac & Cheese Pie topped with a tangy and dish-stealing beer cheese. Served with a pickled onion and mushy peas (which I am now very much in love with), the food at The Cellar pairs so well with the malt-forward beers and the relaxed and friendly atmosphere that it wouldn't surprise me if it became a destination location downtown for locals and tourists alike.

The Cellar
206 NW Oregon Ave
Open seven days a week
Check porterbrewingco.com/ for hours

About The Author

Jared Rasic

Film critic and author of food, arts and culture stories for the Source Weekly since 2010.

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