When Crystal Maddox and Liz Hanna met several years ago at Bink’s Neighborhood Bar on Northeast Alberta Street, Hanna had already known that she wanted to own a bar someday. Conversations between the two eventually ripened into their buying and opening the former Rovon Inn on Northeast Fremont Street and 62nd Avenue in January 2013 and renaming it Mad Hanna’s. Maddox is a Westside native, raised in Vancouver who moved back to Portland after college, and Hanna is a more recent arrival to the Northwest, moving to Portland from her native New Hampshire in 2008.
Hanna explained how their decision to buy a bar progressed from jokes between good friends about owning a bar, then the Rovon Inn became available, “…and it was the perfect site with an established clientele in a good neighborhood.” Mad Hanna’s sits on the convergence of Cully, Roseway and Rose City Park neighborhoods.
The bar’s name “Mad Hanna’s” is a natural derivative of the partners’ surnames. In planning to celebrate the first anniversary of their business venture, it was also natural for Maddox and Hanna to ask next-door tenant, Zeph Shepard, who owns Proletariat Butchery, to roast a pig and provide pulled pork for the party.
Arriving patrons, friends and guests moved through the bar, picking up their beverages and out into the bar’s spacious backyard for a barbeque with all the trimmings. The gathering was complemented by Hanna’s father, visiting from New Hampshire, who assisted with flipping burgers. Hanna opined about why establishments such as Mad Hanna’s are doing brisk business amid recent economic woes: “People are concerned…they see their neighborhoods changing, and they want places where they can continue to make connections.”