Helium Comedy ClubSE 9th at Hawthorne Portland, OR 97214
Phone: (888) 64F.UNNY
Located in: Southeast Portland - Visit Website
BarFly's Review of Helium Comedy Club
The dreadful Harvey's finally has serious competition in the Portland comedy scene. A diverse array of well chosen talent - Bridgetown Comedy Festival co-founder, Andy Wood, has a hand in booking - appears Tuesday-Sunday nights (doors at 6pm; showtime usually 8pm, with additional 10:30 shows on Fridays and Saturday). Club space seats about 200, with not a bad seat in the house (you won't be able to miss the requisite comedy club cityscape mural that is the small stage's backdrop). Big names play the small stage, and sell out quickly - unlike just about anywhere else in Portland, you'll want to purchase tickets well in advance for shows you'll be disappointed to miss.
Nobody goes to a comedy club for the service, so you shouldn't be surprised to find it lacking, here. Floor service is abysmal, despite plenty of bodies. Staff expertise is in taking things away - literally hold on to anything you're still working on, lest it be spirited away almost immediately upon being set down. Order taking and delivery is considerably less reliable - prepare to wait long and hard for drinks and dinner (it should be noted that the only thing worse than the service is the food - beware). Separate bar area offers some improvement in service, but no show. Note: the club's "two item minimum" does not apply to orders placed at the bar.
Tuesdays: open mic, no cover.
Analog, Bocci's, Club 720, Gil's Speakeasy, Hawthorne Strip, High Dive, Jolly Roger, La Boheme, Lucky Labrador Brew Pub, Madison's Grill, Oregon Bartending Guild Cocktail Cart at Cartopia, Que Pasa Cantina, Rock Bar (on Hawthorne), Tiny's, White Owl Social Club
They kicked us out for laughing too hard. It was my husband's 32nd birthday and the couple next to us were 60+ and didn't know how to lsugh so our whole party got kicked out.
I've been to Helium a number of times and I've always left wanting to come back for more. The talent Helium brings is world class, and I strongly recommend open mic night where you get to see upcoming local comics. The atmosphere is fantastic - two bars and service in the main room, clean, and happy. The service I've had has been just fine. Perhaps a tab got closed a minute later than I'd like, and on a full night the bar might get backed up with your first drink in the main room which has a 2 drink minimum. But if you're like me that's no problem because you've ordered one in the bar and brought it in with you to enjoy before the bar catches up. Note - this is how comedy clubs work and it sure beats the $7 well drinks you'd pay for the same talent in LA or NY. Plans to go twice this week - trivia night on Wednesday and comedian Andy Kindler on Friday - couldn't be happier!
Great Comedians, service SUCKED! We were supposed to have reserved seating and due to a screw up on the clubs part we got stuck in the very back. It took forever for our waitress to come over and even take our orders. The food was finally brought out half way thru the second act and it was cold. Sent it back and it came back just barely warm. We were a group of 15 and when our Limo driver left early to bring the limo around, the waitress went after him and started yelling at him to pay his tab. Our boss was covering it, and she didn't even ask before she flipped out. Then today I check my bank account and the club charged me 75 dollars, and my tab was only 22 bucks. As far as I am concerned I WILL NEVER GO BACK!!!!!!!
The good: great acts, good beer, & nice building.
The Rest: Awful service across the board... Rude hostesses, forgetful / pouty servers, uncaring management, SLOW kitchen ( over and hour and a half for chips & salsa ), & when they auto gratuity: they put it in the total, don't mention it, and set it up so you tip on top of the auto gratuity.
Enjoy the lucky lab across the street before and you should be fine regarding food n drink.