Taylor's Bar and Grill

Portland restaurateur Ramzy Hattar (center) has purchased Taylor’s Bar & Grill, a student hangout near the University of Oregon, that will be run with help from director of operations Kai Mangarin (left) and general manager Dwayne Davis.

A University of Oregon graduate and Portland restaurateur has purchased Taylor’s Bar & Grill in Eugene, a popular student-oriented tavern.

Ramzy Hattar purchased Taylor’s from Charles “Chuck” Hare, one of the founders of local beer producer Hop Valley Brewing Co., for an undisclosed amount. The East 13th Avenue bar is across Kincaid Street from the UO campus.

The sale did not include the building, which is owned by MTR Co., an investment group.

Taylor’s was closed on Tuesday and Wednesday while Hattar waited for people associated with MTR to sign paperwork approving the transfer of the building’s lease to him.

“We just finalized everything,” Hattar said Thursday. “The first day of business is today.”

Hattar, 40, owns the River Pig Saloon in Portland’s Pearl District, and he said he is opening another one in Bend. Hattar also has been an investor in Portland restaurants.

Hare owned Taylor’s for 17½ years.

Hare said he decided to sell it mainly because his duties with Hop Valley don’t allow him to spend the amount of time required to oversee the bar and grill.

Taylor’s is one of the busiest bars in Oregon, he said. It caters heavily to the student crowd.

Occasionally, the business gets in the news for problems that occur at the bar. A year ago, for example, a customer allegedly threatened Taylor’s employees with a gun after they stopped serving him.

“I just don’t need the benefits or the stress of running the business,” Hare said. “I just need to focus on what is important in my life, and that is Hop Valley.”

Hare, 41, also owns stakes in Oregon Taxi and CJ Eateries, a video lottery deli.

Taylor’s, which dates to 1922, is known for drawing crowds of students in the evenings, including after UO football games and other sporting events.

Hattar said bartenders and the other employees will try to make sure students and other customers don’t drink to excess.

“We don’t want people drinking too much and being intoxicated,” he said. “If we see signs of intoxication, we will cut people off. There will be a hard line on that. We want our student body to feel safe and to have fun at Taylor’s.”

Hattar said the business will cater to UO students and alumni.

Taylor’s recently began imposing a $5 or $10 cover charge for nonstudents to get into the business on busy evenings, he said.

He said he will continue the cover charge.

“Those are small ways to suggest that the student body is a priority for us,” Hattar said.

He also said he will change the grill’s menu.

“Our kitchen manager has already come up with some ideas for the menu,” Hattar said. “One of the things that the River Pig Saloon is known for is that we offer good food at all hours.”

Hattar graduated from the UO in 1999 with an international studies degree. He and Hare have known each other since they attended the university together.

Hare worked at Taylor’s as a bartender while he went to college. He purchased the business from Tony Sustare after learning that Sustare and his wife wanted to sell it.

Hare said he learned more in the first week of running the business than he did during his entire time at the UO.

Last year, Hare and five other owners sold a majority stake in Hop Valley to MillerCoors. Hare is Hop Valley’s director of business operations. He said he travels frequently as Hop Valley expands into other markets with help from MillerCoors.

Taylor’s made it into the news last October when authorities said they had started an investigation into allegations that a Taylor’s bartender had spiked the drinks of five women during several months. A UO police spokesman in February said the investigation had been suspended, though not closed.

After the allegations became public in October, Hare suspended the bartender, who was not named in news reports. The bartender no longer works at Taylor’s, Hare said on Friday.

“It was a very serious accusation that I took very seriously,” he said. “I am happy that nothing has come out of it. I am a little upset that if, indeed, these charges were false” that the employee was accused publicly.

In November, UO football player Eddie Heard was arrested by UO police for allegedly assaulting a woman outside Taylor’s.

Heard, who is no longer on the football team, pleaded not guilty to a misdemeanor charge of fourth-degree assault.

Follow Ed on Twitter @edwardrusso . Email ed.russo@registerguard.com .

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