Comic Book Curious

Books and Brews in the City of Roses

July 28, 2021

There’s a certain peace that comes from the simple act of reading. When you couple that serenity with a good drink and good food, it transcends into a feeling of being whole. People around the world spend millions of dollars every year trying to create the perfect atmosphere where everything comes together, but it inevitably fails because at the end of the day you still have to clean up after yourself, and the outside world always comes a-callin’.

Except for one place.

In a city that has become known for its unique perspectives and attitudes, for being singularly weird yet welcoming, there’s a place where you can gather with friends to share each other’s company without having to say a word - where you probably won’t say much of anything at all, yet you’ll draw closer through a shared solitude…

Or maybe not. Maybe you’ll pull down a board game you haven’t played in years and have a round of drinks while navigating chutes and/or ladders, lands of candy, Baltics and Boardwalks, or a pursuit of trivial knowledge.

Until public libraries start serving beer and handcrafted meals, the only place to get this experience is at the Rose City Book Pub.

Opened in 2018 by Elise Schumock, the Rose City Book Pub is reminiscent of a fantasy; part art gallery, part book store, part public house, part entertainment venue, part meeting place… It’s the kind of place where adventures begin, and where adventurers return. In almost no time at all, it has become a staple of the community, thanks entirely to Elise’s incredible dedication to giving.

A headshot of Elise Schumock

A native of Portland, Elise has always loved Portland, believing wholeheartedly in the people who make up the lifeblood of the city. After graduating with a BA in Classics from Whitman College, she initially moved to Los Angeles and earned a MS in School Counseling from California State University - Northridge. She established herself as a highly sought-after teacher and private tutor, but always with the intention of coming home and setting up shop.

“I love this city, and the people truly make it what it is, so I knew that if I were going to be a part of the community, I’d have to give back. I can’t just take - I want to make it better for everybody however I can.”
— Elise Schumock, owner

As part of her campaign of giving, Elise set up a textbook scholarship for graduating seniors from her alma mater Grant High School, awarding over $1,000 since opening in order to help students cover the cost of college textbooks.

Additionally, she encourages students to bring their homework to the Book Pub with free stickers and answers to questions (she is a teacher, after all), as well as having a well-stocked children’s section so people of all ages feel welcome (Note: minors are welcome at the Book Pub until 9pm every night).

She has also donated over 6,000 meals to the Oregon Food Bank since opening, and routinely recycles books - giving away hundreds every year as more and more people donate (including myself - I’ve donated books, CDs, and DVDs, as well as an old bicycle, knowing that they’ll all go to good homes because Elise will make sure of it). And because her heart and her spirit know no boundaries, she even donates books to prisons, and to the houseless - all while asking nothing for herself.

Unfortunately, the pandemic has hit the Book Pub hard; having been in existence for just over a year, the forced closing of restaurants in Oregon pushed patrons to go online to show their support. Elise offers a number of items through her online store, including merchandise, books, and the very popular “Mystery Gift Book” where users can indicate what type of book they’d like for themselves (or a friend - they’re a huge success as a gift item) and resident book publican Elise will hand-select a book, wrap it, tie it with ribbon, and send it to a lucky recipient.

A book wrapped in brown paper

Tragically, after applying for and being granted an award from the SBA Restaurant Relief Funds, the money was later revoked after an embittered applicant (who was turned down for the grant) filed a lawsuit claiming discrimination due to the fact that women and minority-owned businesses were prioritized for the grant, and now the situation grows dire. In response to this, friends of the Book Pub have set up a GoFundMe to save the Book Pub, and we ask that you do what you can to help save this local treasure.

So if you find yourself in Portland, looking for adventure, entertainment, peace of mind, or a just feeling of belonging to a place you’ve never been - find your way to the Rose City Book Pub. Elise gives the best hugs, serves incredible food, pours from 18 taps, and always has a great book in mind to recommend to anybody who asks. It’s always worth the trip, and I’m sure you’ll want to come back.

©2021, The Groovy Projects. All rights reserved. |