In December’s Know Your Venue feature, High Water Mark Lounge aims to be a neighborhood beacon during dark winters and tough times, with many metal and punk offerings to boot.
On any given night, there might be a line leading up the The Lovecraft Bar’s red door on SE Grand Avenue. Portland probably doesn’t have enough themed bars, and this is a dark, horror themed bar inspired by the stories of H.P. Lovecraft. But the crowd that forms isn’t just because it’s a bar for goths or Portland’s darker sect, nor it because the Lovecraft serves as a spooky novelty for curious tourists.
The Lovecraft is incredibly relaxed. Incredibly friendly, and simply a good time. There is an array of different events that cater to anyone and everyone that wants to check them out and come dance. This is not a place where people can complain that there isn’t anyone dancing.
Events include Monday’s Black Mass Dance Party, Burlynomicon (Burlesque with a dark twist), and a variety of lectures and book readings. DJ Patrick Buckmaster (Have you seen that Skull Diver video?) hosts gay goth dance party Necro Nancy, and drag queen dance party Club KaiKai. Random events like a recent Kawaii night makes for colorful energy.
One of the true “goth” nights though, is during Thursday night’s Shadowplay, which DJ Derek Moore, AKA DJ Carrion, moved permanently to The Lovecraft after The Fez Ballroom closed. He and other selected DJ’s curate a variety of industrial, darkwave, and goth rock, electronic, and post punk tracks for all to move to. He also books a variety of DJ’s and musicians to share the stage with a giant Cthulhu sculpture. In October The Lovecraft will host Skeleton Hands, Of The Dark I Dare, Teach Me Equals, among others.
Moore tells me one of his favorite things about the Lovecraft is the dedication that owner Jon Horrid (yes that’s his name), puts into the place. He travels to horror conventions in order to pick up wares that pack The Lovecraft with mysterious eye-candy.Strange hieroglyphics and skulls glow among black lights and darting lasers. It’s dark in style, but also just dark.
The bar recently had the opportunity to expand, meaning there is now a whole back-half to the venue. There’s a room with a coffin, and a second bar and dance floors with mirrored walls to watch yourself sway in the fog.
The bartenders are fast and their shelves are stocked with jarred creatures and fine spirits, including absinthe. But it’s important to note that The Lovecraft is also a tea bar, with an immense selection. They also serve up yummy sandwiches from Snackriledge, like the “Hail Chic’n Seitan”.
So yes, it’s October. And this is Portland’s horror themed bar. There will be a Halloween dance party to rival all Halloween Parties. Expect a variety of punks, goths, normies, and drag queens to all be enjoying it together. »