The Old Market Pub and Brewery was opened in 1994 by Andy and Shelly Bigley at the confluence of SW Multnomah Blvd. and SW Garden Home Rd. The main building of the current pub was built in 1945 by the co-operative Garden Home Community Cannery. The building and business was purchased in 1950 by Mark and Leona Whitney, who continued the community cannery service in addition to selling produce and floral arrangements. Frank and Betty Comella opened a fruit and vegetable store here from 1978 into 1992. Andy and Shelly Bigley purchased the Old Market Pub’s building from the Comellas in 1994.
The Bigleys started with a huge empty space with a leaking roof, hundreds of fluorescent light bulbs, inadequate bathrooms, and almost no walls and no money for renovations. They did have lots of young energy to do all their own demolition, and good friends with architectural and artist talent to help create the interesting Pub of today. They opened the Old Market Pub in 1994.
Andy Bigley had grown up in SW Portland, graduating from Lincoln High. Shelly graduated from Cleveland High on the east side. From an Oregonian story:
“The Bigleys also have leaned heavily on an old adage: location, location, location. The couple opened Old Market a bit off the beaten path for a brewpub, buying a local produce market at the confluence of Southwest Portland’s Garden Home, Ashcreek and Maplewood neighborhoods.”
“They built a place that would be a consistently popular neighborhood draw for a quarter century and counting. ‘I got out of school and I didn’t want to get a real job,’ Andy says. ‘I started working for the McMenamins, and that was one of the funnest jobs I ever had. I had a great time, so I thought, ‘Well, let’s give it a shot.’”
Garden Home History artifacts on display
Thank you to Andy and Shelly Bigley for displaying the historical artifacts that Colin Lamb has so generously given us from his Garden Home Thriftway store which closed in 2019. So stop by the Old Market Pub & Brewery for maybe a Famous Reuben or possibly Mr. Toad’s Wild Red, a dark red ale. While you are there, look around the dining room to find our vintage Garden Home Post Office safe, the two large photos of the Lewis & Clark Centennial Fair of 1905, and three interesting train reliefs which remind us of our railroad history.
By Elaine Shreve, August, 2020, from interview with Shelly Bigley.
- Old Market Pub and Brewery official website
- The Garden Home Co-op Cannery (early 1940’s-1950)
- Mark and Leona Whitney and the Whitney Cannery, 1950-1976
- Bernie Rice recalls working at Whitney’s Cannery
- Colin Lamb and the history of Lamb’s Garden Home Thriftway
- January 30, 2019 Move of the Historic Post Office Safe