Tearin’ it up

After four months of renovation and a torn-up Northwest 23rd Avenue, Laurelwood NW Public House is open again.

After four months of renovation and a torn-up Northwest 23rd Avenue, Laurelwood NW Public House is open again. Those who frequented the pub on Northwest 23rd and Kearney Street before will be happy to find that, aside from the updated menu, little has changed.

Results of the renovation are new wood flooring, fresh paint and some kitchen upgrades. The space has otherwise remained the same. It’s still a cozy place to saddle up to the bar—or a table—for drinks, food and friendly service.

The big remodeling lies in the menu. The old menu has been replaced by a new one created by Executive Chef Scott Clagett, who has been with Laurelwood only a few months now. The old menu hosted a number of entrees, which mostly went unordered. As a mainly beer-oriented destination, the NW Public House rarely sold entrees and instead served mostly appetizers.

The new menu is an array of “tapas”-style foods, as manager Wade Schaible puts it. The smaller plates are a more convenient and more common choice for patrons stopping by for a beer or two. It includes a variety of appetizers, such as poutine and short rib empanadas. Though there is less emphasis on full meals, entrees are still available, only with fewer choices.

Happy hour is one time when Laurelwood has plenty to offer its patrons. The menu runs from $2-8 plates and ranges from simple to swanky. Customers can choose from low-budget plates of olives and peanuts to fancier selections like the meat and cheese plate, which includes a rabbit pâté, fennel salami, fruit chutney and more.

Schaible’s favorite choice of the new selection is the short ribs braised in Laurelwood’s Space Stout with roasted shallots, gnocchi, greens and a Rogue River bleu cheese sauce.

The four-month renovation took place on adjacent sections of Northwest 23rd Avenue and its sidewalks were ripped apart for construction. The construction process, which took longer than originally projected, caused many problems for businesses on site, sometimes leaving only two feet of walkway for bystanders to use. Some local businesses even shut down as a result.

Meanwhile, Laurelwood was ripping out its own floors and revamping its food menu. The Public House was lucky to have remained closed during that time, as business would certainly have been slow.

The reopening of the pub last week brought in a large crowd. Most were relieved to find that the space inside has largely remained the same. It still offers a full bar and a relaxed hangout for day or night.

NW Public House’s main attraction naturally continues to be the Laurelwood beer. A seasonal release accompanies the newly opened space: Organic Deranger Imperial Red Ale. At 100 IBU, the Deranger is bitter and hoppy but surprisingly balanced. The brew also packs a bigger punch than Laurelwood’s other beer options, ranking at 8.1% ABV. It’s the only beer they serve in a smaller glass.

“We call it the stupid juice,” Schaible said, noting that regular patrons seem to tumble off the barstool after a few Derangers.

At least there’s plenty of good food for sobering up after that tumble.