Thebeerchaser Does Montana and Wyoming – Part 1

Hiking in Grand Teton National Park

Hiking in Grand Teton National Park

In a blog post dated January 14, 2016, I included a list of the ninety-six bars, taverns and pubs outside the city of Portland that Thebeerchaser (and in many cases, my wife Janet) has visited during the last five years.   Included in that list were a number in Montana and Wyoming we hit during our road trip to Yellowstone and Grand Teton National Parks last August.

Due to other priorities (and procrastination) those were not timely reviewed and the next two posts will attempt to remedy that because Missoula, Helena and Jackson, Wyoming all had wonderful establishments with colorful people and there was majestic scenery to be described.

Looking down on Missoula and the University of Montana campus

Looking down on Missoula and the University of Montana campus from Mt. Sentinel

We drove from Portland to Missoula in one long day and arrived in time to have a great burger (okay, Janet had a Cobb Salad) and brew at the Tamarack Brewery.

Missoula is a picturesque and fascinating city of about 70,000 with a rich history, a very nice campus (the University of Montana) and more interesting bars and brewpubs than we could visit in one and one-half days.

P1030572After dinner, we walked through downtown stopping at the Stockman’s Bar (“Liquor up front – poker in the rear..”) and subsequently hit the Oxford Saloon, an historic bar and one in which the bartender, Beth, reacted enthusiastically when I explained my hobby of visiting and blogging about bars.

Beth, bartender and expert on "The Ox."

Beth, bartender and expert on “The Ox.”

“Well, you need to buy the book, Montana Watering Holes, because I’m quoted and Joan Meltzer, the author, does a great job describing the “Ox”Missoula’s oldest bar.” (either 1883 or 1888)   Since I had already had success using excerpts from the book “Colorado – A Liquid History and Tavern Guide to the Highest State,”  after I contacted the author, the University of Colorado’s Dr. Tom Noel, I stopped in the next book store and purchased Joan’s book as Beth had insisted.

The Ox - the oldest bar in Montana

The Ox – the oldest bar in Montana

 

And Joan was also gracious in responding to my e-mail request and in a subsequent phone call with her permission to quote some examples of her “(celebration of) more than fifty of the most iconic, eccentric, and entertaining saloons scattered across Montana……” 

She wrote the book in the early 1980’s, when she was in her twenties, and updated it by visiting all the bars in the original volume and adding a few others in 2009.  2016-02-08 16.02.35

Her quest (one which I think is inspired and admirable) was to find “the perfect Montana bar.” Joan’s book is fascinating and this quote at the end of her introduction will demonstrate that those who enjoy Beerchasing will savor it:

“Today, many years removed from Prohibition, the Montana bar has retained its function as the social sanctuary of the West: a place to buy supplies, fill up the gas tank, eat dinner or end a long night of good-timing. 

A place where lifelong plans and promises are made, and just as quickly broken.  A place to cry in your beer over life’s inherent injustice—before you laugh in abandonment in the glow of one too many beers.  A place to dance when the jukebox’s western tawny becomes too melancholy or too exuberant for a body’s rhythm to ignore.  More than anything a place to gather. “  (Introduction – page XXVI)

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The Oxford is like being in an Old-West museum – look at the rifles above the bar

And her description of the Oxford, which includes the fact that after the bar was moved from its original to its present location in 1955, “It’s never been closed.  Open twenty-four hours.  There are no locks for its doors.”  (Page 134).  And the Ox oozes history with its dark wood floors, amazing back-bar, black and white historic photos and collection of old rifles above the bar – a museum in itself.

Not much has changed over the years in the bar aside from addition of a vast array of video poker machines in one room of the bar — oh, and the discontinuation of the once popular “brains and eggs breakfast,”.   The menu item was purportedly discontinued during the scare over mad-cow disease which swept the West about fifteen years ago although the Ox’s menu is still extensive.                                    P1030609

And according to their website, “We have served over 200,000 orders of chicken fried steak with JJ’s special gravy since we introduced it on our menu in 1986.”  (Assuming the website has current figures, this is about 20 per day – every day for the last 29 years, according to Thebeerchaser’s calculation!)  The clientele includes, ranchers, Missoula business people, tourists and college students and the legacy of live poker games continues every night of the week.

Charlie B's - no sign - but amazing interior

Charlie B’s – no sign – but amazing interior

The number of great bars in Missoula requires a longer visit, but there were a few others, most notably Charlie B’s, the idiosyncratic favorite of noted Montana crime novelist, James Crumley (he was also Beerchaser of the Month on this blog in September, 2011 – see link).   Crumley was a curmudgeon who started his crime novel, The Last Good Kisswith what many reviewers have described as the best opening line of the genre’:

2015-07-17 18.27.03

A long table at Charlie B’s and the light in the back is the order window for the Dino Cafe

“When I finally caught up with Abraham Trahearne, he was drinking beer with an alcoholic bulldog named Fireball Roberts in a ramshackle joint just outside Sonoma, California, drinking the heart right out of a fine spring afternoon.”  

The bar is to some extent beyond description except to say that notwithstanding its fabled lack of any external identification and not being listed in the phone book, it’s jammed every night of the week and known for its cheap beer, stiff drinks, young female bartenders, portraits of old (and now mostly dead) regulars and the small Dinosaur Café in the back of the bar renowned for its great Cajun food – you order it yourself.

2015-07-16 20.28.18An article from the Missoula Independent on March 6, 2008, quotes Crumley on Charlie B’s:

“’This is my home bar,’ Crumley says. ‘Home bars can change. They can move around. But when you find a home bar, you stick with it. Charlie knows what he’s doing…I like it in the afternoons. I usually try and get out before the kids come in. The kids today, I don’t know. They bump into you and don’t know, like I do, that you’re supposed to say ‘excuse me.’ I leave before they come in.’”          

Plonk Wine Bar - sleek and classy

Plonk Wine Bar – refined and urbane

And talk about a contrast….after a beer at Charlie B’s, we walked a short distance down the street and had a great dinner and martini at Plonk – a wine bar and “an environment designed to engage the senses in an uncompromised celebration of the beauty of life.”

While Thebeerchaser is more comfortable in a dive-bar environment, Plonk was classy, the food was good and the gin martini  (up with olives) was superb.

Plonk - sleek and modern bar

Plonk –  a sleek bar

 

Plonk - Classy toilets....

Plonk – Classy toilets….

 

 

 

 

 

One reason that we always sit at the bar in restaurants and bars while traveling is to meet people and our experience at the KettleHouse Brewery on the second day in Missoula was no exception.

Beer and conversation at the Kettlehouse Brewery

Beer and conversation at the KettleHouse Brewery

We stopped in for a late afternoon beer and sat next to two women (Cynthia and Lisa) – one a retired teacher at an elite private school in Nashville,Tennessee (tuition is $18,000 per year!) and the other still working there as a PE instructor and coordinating the outdoor school.

The Airstream Ladies..

The Airstream Ladies..

A cross-country road trip

A cross-country road trip

Our conversation revealed that they were “camping” in their Airstream Trailer – pulled by a pick-up truck and fly-fishing their way across the US.

After we talked for about 30 minutes, they insisted that we come out and tour the Airstream.  Great people and typical of those you meet in a new bar on the road.

A highlight was cycling a few miles up the Clark Fork River, riding back along the river through the middle of town (on great bike paths) and then having a noon brewski at the Draught Works Brewery.   P1030594

It’s a captivating little brewery opened in 2011 on the outskirts of the city. The liquor laws in Montana are very idiosyncratic as our bartender explained.  Microbreweries cannot brew more than 10,000 gallons annually if they sell beer on site and Draught Works sells all of its beer on premises.

Why should this brew-pub be limited to hours of 10 to 8 in a college town?

Why should this brew-pub be limited to hours of 10 to 8 in a college town?

 

If beer is sold on site, the hours of operation can only be from 10:00 AM until 8:00 PM and the amount is limited to 48 ounces per person daily in “sample rooms” – a reason that we were given a ticket when we purchased our pints (and also something that I’m sure that University of Montana students are clever enough to get around).  And I thought the Oregon Liquor Control Commission rules are onerous at times.

James Crumley had a reserved seat in this bar

James Crumley had a reserved seat in this bar

Now there were quite a few bars in Missoula that really looked interesting, but our time there precluded visiting until next trip.  These included the Depot Bar – another favorite of James Crumley, the Silver Dollar (an eighty-year old institution), James Bar, Flathead Lake Brewpub and others.

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The University of Montana dominates Missoula – a scenic and historical university town and the UM Grizzly Football Team is legendary.

P1030590The stadium is impressive and the city supports its team with passion.  John Krakauer’s 2015 book  Missoula: Rape and the Justice System in a College Town  provides a viewpoint (disputed by many Missoulans) on how that devotion can go to far.

Krakauer

A recommended read on a topic which is a national issue

He chronicles some of the court trials and legal issues based on sexual assaults by members of the football team and the division in the community over the prosecution which ultimately resulted in a Department of Justice investigation.  The book is controversial but a recommended read.

On to Helena, Yellowstone National Park and the Grand Tetons.

Yellowstone Falls

Yellowstone Falls

 

 

 

 

The Grand Tetons

The Grand Tetons

 

 

Sloan’s (Tavern) – It’s a Lot Like Home

Sloans - Like walking into a living room.......

Sloans – Like walking into a living room…….

Having visited seventy watering holes in Portland during the last fifty-four months, Thebeerchaser can assert that there are really no bad establishments in this group of bars, taverns and pubs.  While some may be a little bit drab, the service may be less than stellar or the atmosphere has little charm or ambiance, all can be equated to a bull market – “When it is good, it is fantastic and even when it is bad, it is still pretty good!”

P1040012It can also be stated, however, that a few of the saloons I’ve visited have a charisma or charm that  registers as soon as one enters.   Those gems which I’ve reviewed and come to mind are Crackerjacks Pub in NW Portland, the Old Oregon Saloon in Lincoln City, Darwin’s Theory in Anchorage, Alaska and The Sink in Boulder, Colorado.

Thebeerchaser outside Sloan's

Thebeerchaser outside Sloan’s

Well, I am adding another Portland bar to that group – Sloan’s Tavern in NE Portland – right near Legacy Emmanuel Hospital.  In an era where many new bars have sleek corporate-type environments with more taps than you could sample in a lifetime, it is refreshing to discover a family-run operation that epitomizes a charming old-fashioned gathering place.

The bar was opened by Bob Sloan and his wife, Shirley in 1979.  The Sloans owned and operated a custom auto body and paint shop next door – started in 1954 and still operating – they specialized in Freightliner trucks.  As evidenced by the amazing pictures in the bar, Bob Sloan also did skilled body and restorative work on classic autos.  When a café next door to the body shop run by an elderly lady closed, they bought the property and opened the bar. (The entire property was originally a creamery that opened in 1926.)

Evidence of the Freightliner legacy on the west wall of Sloans

Evidence of the Freightliner legacy on the west wall of Sloans

A charming aspect of Sloans is the décor, and Shirley, a beautiful and personable lady of 80, who graciously answered all my questions, pointed out that none of the furnishings were purchased new.

The bar stools – described affectionately by one reviewer as “adult high-chairs” – acquired from a diner, are classic as is the supplemental horseshoe bar near the west end of the establishment.  Bob Sloan died in 2013, and Shirley still is owner, manager and does the cooking – and she is an excellent cook.  P1040025

I might add, that one of the factors in making the evening one to remember was being accompanied by two friends:

Beerchaser Regular, West Coast Dave Hicks, a San Francisco-based legal consultant who has been on more Beerchasing expeditions than anyone except yours truly.

First-time Beerchaser, John Horvick, with West Coast Dave Hicks and Thebeerchaser logo

First-time Beerchaser, John Horvick, with West Coast Dave Hicks and Thebeerchaser logo

Portlander, John Horvick, Vice President and Political Director at DHM Research – Oregon’s premier survey research and polling firm, also joined us.  Unless you have been living in a cave or alternatively blocked all broadcast and print media to escape the 2016 political races,  you have undoubtedly heard John speak or seen one of his quotes in the papers or media.

Young Portland leader, Horvick. Still throws a mean strike...

Young Portland leader, Horvick. Still throws a mean strike…

He is a young leader in Portland as evidenced by his recent term as President of the City Club of Portland.  John was born in Nebraska and graduated from the University of Minnesota after first spending most of his college years at University of Nebraska on a bowling scholarship…..! 

In fact, his dad was a professional bowler and even though John wore loafers rather than bowling shoes while we drank, he was animated when discussing bowling hall-of-famers such as Don Carter, Dick Weber and Earl Anthony (1938 – 2001) who he reminded us was from Cornelius, Oregon.

Hall of Fame Bowler, Earl Anthony - he would love Sloans!

Hall of Fame Bowler, Earl Anthony – he would love Sloans!

When asked about his time in the fast lane(s) – so to speak – John replied, My bowling days were at Nebraska. I bowled for three years, and also taught the University bowling class. My students included NFL players and a first round pick pick in the WNBA.  I had a great run bowling in college, but ……as my coach would remind us, no one ever retired on their bowling winnings.”

John hung up his bowling shoes in his senior year and graduated at Minnesota where he got in-state tuition and funding for a research project.

Distinguishing Characteristics of Sloan’s

The Food – Consistent with the family-owned orientation, the bar closes at 10:00 PM each night and is not open on weekends.  When Shirley stops cooking in the afternoon, there is only a minimal menu of nachos, burgers, etc. available.  But this former North Dakota girl stated, “Lunch is our prize!”  She makes all the sauces and soups and puts together a great sandwich and lunch specials such as fish and chips with slaw ($6.25)  In fact, try the Emanuel Special (ham, turkey and jack and cheddar cheese on a French roll – $6.25) named for the regular lunch customers from nearby Legacy-Emanuel Hospital.              

Reg, the night bartender talking to some patrons

Reg, the night bartender talking to some patrons

And the prices are very reasonable, for example, a great Reuben and fries for $8.25 or a 1/3 pound burger with fries for $7.25.  Although they only have seven beers on tap and a slew of bottled beers, the environment to consume it is certainly far superior to some of the “beer shops” with 50 to 100 taps and the ambiance of a dental reception area.   Besides, you can get a $1.50 draft PBR – all the time!

P1040021The Décor – The individual lamps and bar lighting, wall hangings, carpet, booths and bar stools, the mirror on the ceiling by the bar along with an old time rotating Schlitz beer globe all give a very comfortable neighborhood bar vibe as do the photos of classic cars on the wall.

Shirley describes it as “My living room,” and based on the amount of time she spends at the bar, the description is apt.  While the Freightliner truck cab jutting out the side of the building is notable, the truck grill built into the bar itself, is also pretty cool.

A grill in the bar separate from that in the kitchen.....

A grill in the bar separate from that in the kitchen…..

And in what was described in 2012 by Willamette Week as “the best juke box in Portland”, you can watch a Chicago Coin’s Animatronic Big Band Box go into action while one of your favorite oldies is played.  It’s one of about ten still working in the US and was manufactured in the 1950’s.  As described in the “WW 2008 Bar Guide”:

“The true gem of the place is the jukebox—an ancient machine, it’s capped with a glass dome containing a miniature (eight-piece) plastic band (and singer) that moves in time to the music (mostly oldies).” 

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A classic and outstanding juke box

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———–

There were some comments on social media that referenced Sloans as a dive bar.  From one who has great affection for such establishments (see Thebeerchaser post “Analyzing Dive Bars Head First” – September, 2011), these reviewers don’t have a clue as to what constitutes this category and the mislabel is the equivalent in this wacked-out 2016 political scene of  describing Donald Trump as an intellectual….

I’ll close by quoting excerpts from two authoritative sources – Portland Barfly and Willamette Weeks Annual Bar Guide for an apt picture of what you will encounter at Sloan’s Tavern and why you should visit it:

Portland Barfly:   The absolute cutest bar in North Portland, by far!  A retro-lover’s paradise – everything is vintage, down to the 50s diner coffee-maker.  A former greasy spoon, this spot cleaned up into a perfect date destination with its deep booths, and fantastic mirrored ceiling.  Command the bar in the really fun swiveling captain’s chairs! Beautiful wall hangings, combined with kitschy relics of bars past – it’s like the ultimate estate sale you hope desperately to stumble upon (though, sadly, everything is NFS).                          P1040024

Willamette Week 2013 Bar GuideThroughout a vibrant but never cluttered ’70s interior, the high art of low culture has been lovingly assembled to breathtaking effect utterly shorn of irony or, strange as this may sound, excess….The blend of fashion-forward cocktails with time-swept food (our visit, the food special was beef stroganoff; the drink special, house-infused cucumber gin) reflects a clientele with both neighborhood holdovers and gay and lesbian transplants.

It’s the sort of hard-earned integration of clientele easily spoiled by nightlife tourists, but Sloan’s schedule and locale just far enough from several beaten paths have thus far prevented the wholesale invasion. There’s no better way to avoid weekenders than to avoid weekends.

Sloan’s Tavern             36 North Russell Street

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

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You’ll Want a Fork at the Hop N Cork – also a Mug!

Lake Oswego's Newest Brew Pub

Lake Oswego’s Newest Brew Pub

One lesson learned in the fifty-three months of Thebeerchaser’s Tour of Bars, Taverns and Pubs is “Don’t judge a bar by its external appearance. ‘Tap’ what’s inside.”  (My high school literature teacher would have been pleased if I had alternatively used novelist George Elliot’s purported hypothesis “Don’t judge a book by it’s cover”; however, she probably would not approve of the mission of this blog).

Support from the neighbors

Support from the neighbors

So it is with a new establishment in Lake Grove right off SW Boones Ferry Road on the east side of I-5 near Bridgeport Village.

Established in September of 2015 in what used to be the Franz Bakery’s store in which bread slightly over the freshness guidelines was sold to many people including my wife and me, the Hop N Cork (hereafter the “HNC”) looks a bit stark on the outside.

Cozy niches for good conversation

Cozy niches for good conversation

That was also true of the Ecliptic Brewery in North Portland reviewed on this blog in May 2015.   Unlike the Ecliptic, however, the character and warmth emanating when you enter the HNC is totally contrary to the former.

Ecliptic may have good beer and a cool name, but lacks any atmosphere (inside and outside) that would motivate Thebeerchaser to return as evidenced by the picture below.

The Ecliptic - good beer but no ambiance....

The Ecliptic – good beer but no ambiance….

The warmth of the HNC is a direct extension of co-owner, Michelle Faubion, based on my three visits to this cool neighborhood gathering place. Michelle, has a charisma and enthusiasm that once you hear her story, makes you want this endeavor to succeed and gives confidence that it will do just that.

Hop N Cork co-owner and manager, Michelle Faubion

Hop N Cork co-owner and manager, Michelle Faubion

Partnerships can often be on delicate footing, but it appears that the partnership between Sunil Kumar and Michelle in the HNC is very complementary. They met when Michelle worked at the Growlerie in Portland and started talking about a joint venture in 2014.

After a lot of planning and some real land-use issues with the City of Lake Oswego which took perseverance to resolve, the HNC became a reality in September, 2015 with the two as co-owners and leasing the building that Kumar owns adjacent to his Prestige Cleaners.

Sunil and ichelle

Sunil and Michelle

Prestige goes back to 1979 when it was founded by Sunil’s parents and he bought the business from them in 2002. He is a U of O graduate who used the time after college graduation in retail management to hone his business skills.

Sunil stated that the capital investment in HNC is not intended to be a “one time deal” and don’t be surprised if you see similar brewpubs in the future based on the early success of HNC. Michelle handles the day-to-day operations of the bar while Sunil takes care of the business end – accounting and logistics. The pair works well together as evidenced by the picture below.  IMG_4315

The HNC has an impressive rotating tap list of 27 beers – their consumption is about 10 to 12 kegs per week.  One of the beer taps is their own brew and one is a gluten-free option, a dark nitro tap.  They also have four Kombuca (fermented tea) options, two ciders an adult root beer and a non-alcoholic root beer.  They do a lively growler business.

The impressive tap list is displayed digitally

The impressive tap list is displayed digitally

 

And the tap list is displayed digitally behind the bar similar to bigger and more established bars such as Bailey’s Tap House and Apex.  You can also review and order on one of the i-Pads in the bar or on your i-Phone.

Adding to the draft beer choices are eighteen wine taps and even prosecco on tap – “It’s a big seller.”

I was accompanied by Beerchaser regulars, Dan Swift and Mike Jones.  We were each pleased with the micro-brews we downed: a Pelican Brewery’s McPelican Scottish AleSantiam Brewing’s Bramble On (honey wheat ale) and I liked Hop N Cork’s own White Belgian Ale.

But I have to tell you about the alcoholic root beer (Not Your Father’s Root Beer with an alcohol content of 5.9%).  After downing a sample, I am enthusiastically waiting for the time I can add ice cream as does the individual on this 8/2015 Beer Advocate review“It is hard to review this as a beer, since it smells, tastes, and feels just like root beer. I enjoyed it. Pours like a dark root beer, and has the carmel smell. Tastes like root beer. I might try to make a float out of it. Skol.”

Beerchaser regulars, Dan Swift and Mike Jones with Michelle and Thebeerchaser logo

Beerchaser regulars, Dan Swift and Mike Jones with Michelle and Thebeerchaser logo

 

Locally sourced and this guy is good at his craft!

Locally sourced and this guy is good at his craft!

The food is a strength of the pub and a reflection of Michelle’s standards and future goals.  The menu is slightly limited, but they have a nice selection of appetizers and nine choices of sandwiches.

We had two good appetizers (the spinach dip and the charcutrie platter – locally sourced meats and cheeses) and on my return visit, I sampled the smoked steel head which will be the first item I order on my next trip to the HNC.

Michelle talks with passion about their menu notwithstanding a very small kitchen which is planned to expand in March as will be the case with their patio.  In fact, 50% of the pub’s sales are from food  – higher than the average for similar venues.   cheese and food

 

“Our food is all ‘farm to table’ and it comes in fresh every day.”   The traeger, as evidenced in the photo, is used extensively and the food is also infused with their beers for added taste.

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Specials for the day…….

The HNC reviews on social media to this point are virtually all positive – there were two that mildly complained about confusion on how to order food.

You can see from the sign in the photo, however, that it is pretty clear – you go to the bar to order, although in my three visits, a waiter took my order twice.

Not too difficult to understand.

Not too difficult to understand.

Michelle said that as she grows, she will hire additional people so bar ordering isn’t necessary, but when things are not hopping, waiters circulate among the tables – a plan typical of most new pubs or bars.

The Hop N Cork is a family-type venue – striving for a living room environment and children are welcome.   Michelle appreciated the support of the community when she went through the ponderous zoning process with the City of Lake Oswego and a big part of her clientele is neighborhood people.

P1030990So they had a pig roast last summer and several times a month hosts a “Tap Takeover” with several breweries, with specific food pairings and swag brought in by the breweries.

In January there was a pinewood derby contest with the proceeds donated to Golden Bond Rescue of Oregon, and the Ovarian Cancer Fund.    You’ll see cornhole tournaments this summer and there is also music on many weekends by local groups.

And the environment is warm and friendly – keyed by this entrepreneurial woman’s charisma.  The vendors don’t leave before receiving a hug and she responds to people with “Certainly, honey..” without pretense.   She’s an Oregon girl, having graduated from St. Mary’s Academy and then attending University of Washington in nursing.   After graduation, she followed family tradition getting involved in the hospitality industry.

Another amazing St. Marys Academy grad besides Thebeerchasers daughter....!

Another amazing St. Marys Academy grad – besides Thebeerchaser’s daughter….!

She worked for two years at Portland Brewing until “they let everyone go.” She used her severance to travel to Mexico and worked as a diving instructor before returning to the Northwest and  pharmaceutical sales (“a tough business”).

Nifty chandelier...

Nifty chandelier…

The Hop N Cork is one establishment which will see future visits by Thebeerchaser and I expect to see Michelle Faubion’s dream continue to grow and prosper. The following excerpt from the November, 2015 Newschoolbeer.com entitled, “The Eleven Best New Oregon Tap Rooms and Beer Bars” is typical and why you should check it out.   And be sure to say “hello” to Michelle:

 

“Recently opened in a tiny unassuming business park, Hop n’ Cork is a little bit of downtown Portland’s Pearl District in quiet Lake O. One of Hop n’ Cork’s founders spent time at Portland Brewing and The Growlerie in Progress Ridge, and brings business knowledge and a craft beer acumen to the tap list and extensive bottle selection……With 75 seats and a full farm-to-table menu that keeps it simple with soups and sandwiches, live music on Saturday’s, Hop n’ Cork has already become a very popular destination. Pop in and check it out for yourself.”

The Hop N Cork

 17450 Lower Boones Ferry Rd.  Lake Oswego, OR 97035.

503-305-5903

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Thebeerchasers List of Bars, Taverns and Pubs – the US and Europe

Those who follow this blog know that Thebeerchaser’s journey, begun in August 2011, was intended to be a tour of Portland bars, taverns and pubs with observations posted on the blog.   Since we had just retired and started traveling with much greater intensity than during working years, the hobby expanded to include watering holes throughout the United State and Europe.  You can probably understand how that might happen!!

Beerchasers-of-the Quarter, John Terry and Jim Westwood in our 2012 visit to the historic Goose Hollow Inn

Beerchasers-of-the Quarter, John Terry and Jim Westwood with former Portland Mayor Bud Clark in our 2012 visit to the historic Goose Hollow Inn

The “dedication” to Portland watering holes has not been compromised during the ensuing four and one-half years as evidenced by the list of 69 Portland establishments listed by sector of the City on Thebeerchaser post dated 12/26/15.  The list of the 96 bars outside Portland is at the bottom of this post.

Dave, Steve and animals at the Central Pastime in Burns

Dave, Steve and animals at the Central Pastime in Burns

A 2013 trip to Central and Eastern Oregon with my brother-in-law, Dave Booher and his good friend, Steve Larson from Pendleton was so enjoyable that it “compelled” me to expand the geography on the bars visited. For example, stories from the Central Pastime Tavern in Burns and the Long Branch Saloon in LaGrande just had to be told.

When my wife and I visited Europe for the first time in 2013 on a Rick Steves’ Best of Europe tour – six countries in twenty-one hectic but glorious days – our experience at the Devil’s Forest Pub in Venice, the Publican Bar in Beaune France, having a brewski at 9,700 near the summit of Mt. Schilthorn, as well as being chased out of the Beer Station in Paris (the only establishment in 53 months that objected to me taking pictures in their bar) also deserved relating.

Bier at the top of Mt. Schilthorn in Switzerland

Bier near the top of Mt. Schilthorn in Switzerland

Well, you understand the story….the next year, Dave, Steve and I repeated our prior three-day journey to Oregon’s desert country in 2013 with a similar sojourn along the Central Oregon Coast.

Aided by studying the wonderful blog of author and journalist, Matt Love, entitled “Let it Pour – An unconventional drinking guide to the north and central oregon coast” –  a worthy predecessor to my blog – we hit thirteen taverns in three days in Lincoln City, Newport, Depoe Bay and Pacific City.

The legendary "Death Tank" at the Tide Pool Inn in Depoe Bay

The legendary “Tank of Death” at the Tide Pool Pub in Depoe Bay

We tasted the wonderful pizza and marveled at the Tank of Death at Depoe Bay’s Tide Pool Pub “a salt-water glass coffin….. packed with all manner of marine creatures caught by local fishermen who bucket in their curious finds and dump them in.  Eels, crabs, sea bass, perch, Dick Cheney, octipi and urchins all end up in the mix. 

According to the bartender, aquatic creatures regularly stage a battle royal to the death and the tank serves as a Roman arena of savagery and merciless predation  – with bets slapped down and accelerated drinking when the water turns a creamy, cloudy red.”   (Matt Love – “Let it Pour” blog)   P1020662

We heard stories about Paul Newman’s inebriated exploits during the filming of “Sometimes a Great Notion” in Newport, by Steve the friendly bartender in the historic Bay Haven Inn and we reveled in the great bars along the coast.

Tales of Paul Newman while filming Ken Kesey's classic

Tales of Paul Newman while filming Ken Kesey’s classic

Oh yeah, I forgot the “splendor” of one of the West’s great dive bars – the Sportsman Pub and Grub in Pacific City.

Dave and Steve at the Sportsman Pub and Grub in Pacific City

Dave and Steve at the Sportsman Pub and Grub in Pacific City

As I have stated before, I owe much of the “success” of this blog – 17,906 views by 14,179  visitors in 2015, to my wife, Janet’s, (Beerchaser-of-the Year in 2014) willingness to switch from her preferred beverage of wine to beer when we visited breweries.

New Belgium was our favorite in Fort Collins, Colorado.  We raised mugs and talked to wonderful people in bars in Alaska (2014), Colorado (2015) and the Southeast U.S. (2015 – Atlanta, Asheville, Charleston and Savannah).

The New Belgium Brewery in Ft. Collins

The New Belgium Brewery in Ft. Collins

 

And the summer of 2015 also included outstanding visits to Yellowstone and Grand Teton National Parks after visiting some great bars and brewpubs in Missoula and Helena, Montana.

Listening to live music in the bar at Jackson Lake Lodge in the Tetons

Listening to live music in the bar at Jackson Lake Lodge in the Tetons

               

Some great Montana beer!

Some great Montana beer!

                                                             

A bar with Southern charm in Charleston, South Carolina

A bar with Southern charm in Charleston, South Carolina

Janet has one inviolate rule – “No dive bars for her!”  I might add that this is notwithstanding my explanation on the ambiance and hospitable nature of dive bars as asserted by the author of this quote:

“Dive bars can be a wonderful thing — I’m not talking about the type of place where you’re afraid of getting a shiv in the bathroom, but a comfortable, neighborhood establishment where locals go to enjoy each other’s company and a drink or five….It’s like sitting in your own living room – only with a bunch of surly strangers who are on the verge of inebriation.”  

The Ship in Multnomah - one of my favorite dive bars

The Ship in Multnomah – one of my favorite dive bars

Well, the end result appears below in a chronologic listing of bars visited outside Portland – broken down by state or country – a total of ninety-six during the 53 months of Thebeerchaser’s tour.

Note:  I have not yet posted the reviews of the bars we hit in the Montana-Wyoming trip or on a short weekend sojourn to Gig Harbor and Poulsbo, Washington. They will be published in early 2016.

Stay tuned for the posting on this Poulsbo, WA. brewery

Stay tuned for the posting on this Poulsbo, WA. brewery

——

How to Use This List of Bars Outside Portland

The date of the posting (not the date we visited it) for each bar or pub on the list below is in the far right column, so if you want to glean some details or see pictures of a particular bar, just click on the link of the applicable month and year shown in columnar form on the right side of your computer screen and you will see each of the bars reviewed in that particular month.

You may also want to do a search in the box at the top right of the blog header although a number of the bars are mentioned in multiple posts and you might not get the most comprehensive review unless you scroll down a bit.  And if you want to receive an e-mail with a link each time I do a new Beerchaser post, sign up in the small box at the lower right hand side of your screen.

 Cheers!

1 2012 Port Townsend, Washington Pour House August
2 2012 Astoria Desdemona September
3 2012 Astoria Wet Monkey Cafe September
4 2012 Joseph Embers Brew Pub October
1 2013 Prineville Solstice Brew Pub November
2 2013 Prineville Horseshoe Tavern November
3 2013 LaGrande Long Branch Saloon November
4 2013 LaGrande Hideout Saloon November
5 2013 LaGrande 10 Depot Bar November
6 2013 Baker City Bull Ridge Brewery Closed in 2014
7 2013 Baker City Mt. Emily Ale House November
8 2013 Burns Central Pastime Tavern November
9 2013 Lauterbrunnen, Switzerland Horner Pub and Tavern September
10 2013 Lauterbrunnen, Switzerland Mt. Schilthorn Tavern September
11 2013 Arnheim, Austria Bier Brewery July
12 2013 Rothenburg, Germany Hell’s Tavern July
13 2013 Amsterdam, Netherlands Café Karperschoek June
14 2013 Vernazza, Italy Blue Marlin Café September
15 2013 Beaune, France Publican Bar September
16 2013 Rome, Italy Miscellana Café September
17 2013 Venice, Italy Devil’s Forrest Café July
18 2013 Venice, Italy Bacaro Jazz Café July
19 2013 Paris, France Beer Station September
20 2013 Paris, France La Vin Cover Café September
1 2014 Anchorage Darwin’s Theory July
2 2014 Anchorage Humpy’s Great Alaskan Ale House July
3 2014 Anchorage Pioneer Bar July
4 2014 Anchorage Glacier Brewery July
5 2014 Anchorage Snow Goose Brewery July
6 2014 Haines Haines Brewery July
7 2014 Juneau Red Dog Saloon July
8 2014 Lincoln City Old Oregon Saloon September
9 2014 Lincoln City Rusty Truck Brewery –  Road House 101 October
10 2014 Pacific City Sportsman Pub and Grub October
11 2014 Pacific City Oar House October
12 2014 Pacific City Pelican Pub and Brewery October
13 2014 Lincoln City Snug Harbor Bar and Grill November
14 2014 Lincoln City Nauti Mermaid November
15 2014 Lincoln City Cruise Inn November
16 2014 Depoe Bay Tide Pool Inn November
17 2014 Newport Hoovers November
18 2014 Newport Bay Haven Bar November
19 2014 Newport Mad Dog Country Tavern November
20 2014 Dundee Lumpy’s Landing November
1 2015 Boulder Crystal Springs Brewing February
2 2015 Boulder The Sink February
3 2015 Boulder Avery Brewing February
4 2015 Boulder Gravity Brewing February
5 2015 Boulder Post Brewing February
6 2015 Fort Collins New Belgium Brewery May
7 2015 Breckenridge Gold Pan Saloon May
8 2015 Fort Collins Town Pump May
9 2015 Fort Collins Mayor of Old Town May
10 2015 Colorado Springs Ritz Bar and Grill May
11 2015 Colorado Springs Phantom Canyon Brewing May
12 2015 Breckenridge Angel Hollow Bar May
13 2015 Breckenridge Apres’ Handcrafted Libations May
14 2015 Breckenridge Ollie’s Pub and Grub May
15 2015 Dillon Dillon Dam Brewery May
16 2015 Breckenridge Breckenridge Brewery May
17 2015 Breckenridge Broken Compass Brewery May
18 2015 Atlanta, Georgia Max’s Wine Dive July
19 2015 Atlanta, Georgia Eleventh Street Pub and Bistro July
20 2015 Atlanta, Georgia The Nook on Piedmont Park July
21 2015 Asheville, North Carolina Wicked Weed Brewery July
22 2015 Asheville, North Carolina Lexington Avenue Brewery July
23 2015 Asheville, North Carolina Jack of the Woods Public House July
24 2015 Charleston, South Carolina Blind Tiger Pub September
25 2015 Charleston, South Carolina Charleston Beer Exchange September
26 2015 Charleston, South Carolina The Gin Joint September
27 2015 Charleston, South Carolina South End Brewery and Smokehouse September
28 2015 Savannah, Georgia Pinky’s Master Lounge September
29 2015 Savannah, Georgia The Boar’s Head Grill and Tavern September
30 2015 Savannah, Georgia JJ Bonerz Sports Bar September
31 2015 Savannah,Georgia Moon River Brew Pub September
32 2015 Missoula, Montana Tamarack Brewery Pending *
33 2015 Missoula, Montana Stockman Bar Pending *
34 2015 Missoula, Montana Big Sky Brewing Pending *
35 2015 Missoula, Montana Flathead Lake Brewery Pending *
36 2015 Missoula, Montana Draught Works Brewery Pending *
37 2015 Missoula, Montana Kettle House Brewing Pending *
38 2015 Missoula, Montana Charlie B’s Bar Pending *
39 2015 Missoula, Montana Oxford Bar Pending *
40 2015 Missoula, Montana Plonk Wine Bar Pending *
41 2015 Helena, Montana Blackfoot River Brewing Pending *
42 2015 Helena, Montana Lewis and Clark Brewery Pending *
43 2015 Grand Teton Natl. Park Jackson Lake Lodge Bar Pending *
44 2015 Jackson, Wyoming Local Restaurant and Bar Pending *
45 2015 Jackson, Wyoming Gather Food and Drink Pending *
46 2015 Jackson, Wyoming Million Dollar Cowboy Bar Pending *
47 2015 Jackson, Wyoming Melvin Brewing Pending *
48 2015 West Yellowstone, Wyoming Wild West Pizzeria and Saloon Pending *
49 2015 West Yellowstone, Wyoming Madison Crossing Lounge Pending *
50 2015 Gig Harbor, Washington The Tides Bar Pending *
51 2015 Gig Harbor, Washington Seven Seas Brewery Pending *
52 2015 Poulsbo, Washington Slippery Pig Brewery Pending *
Cheers!

Cheers!

Outside the Horner Pub in Lauderbrauden, Switzerland

Outside the Horner Pub in Lauterbrunnen , Switzerland

 

53 Months of Thebeerchaser’s Tour – Where we’ve been and you should go!

Thebeerchaser outside Crackerjacks Pub - probably his favorite bar on the Tour to this point!

Thebeerchaser outside NW Portland’s Crackerjacks Pub – probably his favorite bar on the Tour to this point!

Denny Ferguson at the historic Cheerful Tortoise downtown

Denny Ferguson at the historic Cheerful Tortoise downtown

 

Since the inception of Thebeerchaser’s Tour of Bars, Taverns and Pubs in August 2011 I have had the pleasure of visiting and writing-up sixty-nine Portland establishments.   And what was originally intended to be posts about the history, regulars and distinguishing characteristics of watering holes strictly within the Rose City, transformed into an expanded mission based on our retirement travel.

These trips resulted in visits to 97 additional saloons in Europe, Alaska, the Southeastern US, Montana, Wyoming, Washington and central and eastern Oregon and the Oregon coast described in Thebeerchaser posts.

Laura Williams, Ryan Keene and Kenzie Larson outside Stammtisch – a great NE Portland bar

Besides being able to list the alehouses visited, as a tool for Thebeerchaser followers and visitors I have now categorized those Portland watering holes by sector of the city for those who are looking for a place to raise a mug in a certain geographical area.

Former Portland Mayor, Sam Adams, Beerchasing at the Beer Monger in SE

Former Portland Mayor, Sam Adams, Beerchasing at the Beer Monger in SE

 

 

 

 

—–

 

They are broken down into Northeast (10 bars), Southeast (23 bars which includes the fabled Barmuda TriangleNorth (11 bars in the vicinity of Mississippi, Killingsworth and Interstate Avenues and St. John’s), Northwest (13 bars) and Southwest (10 bars which includes downtown or the Central Business District and Multnomah).

There was one bar in the suburbs (Brannons in Beaverton which unfortunately is now closed) and the Pedalounge – a traveling chariot which visits several bars on its amazing tour of Southeast Portland.  Towards the end of this post, the bars and brewpubs outside the Portland area are listed.

University of Portland's Dr. Sam Holloway and Brian Doyle at the St. John's Pub

University of Portland’s Dr. Sam Holloway and Brian Doyle at the St. John’s Pub

 

How to Use this Chart

If you are interested in finding more about one of the taverns on the list below, there’s two ways to do this:

In the second column on the listing below, you will see the year and the month of the post for the bar.  On the right side of your computer screen, you will see an enumeration of the years and months of all the Beerchaser posts.  Click on the month to get to the write-up. There may be several posts that month so you might have to screen down.

OR

Just go to the upper right corner of your screen and enter the name of the bar in the search field and those posts were it is mentioned should show up.

# Year/Month Area Name Type
1 2012 – 2 NE Migration Brewery Brewery
2 2012 – 2 NE Laurelthirst Pub Neighborhood
3 2012 – 6 NE County Cork Neighborhood
4 2012 – 7 NE Bottles Bottle Shop
5 2012 – 12 NE 1856 Bottle Shop
6 2013 – 12 NE Church Neighborhood
7 2014 – 2 NE Sandy Hut Dive
8 2014 – 7 NE Stammtisch Neighborhood
9 2014 – 9 NE Club 21 Dive
10 2015 – 3 NE Oregon Public House Neighborhood
 
1 2011 – 11 SE Coalition Brewery Brewery
2 2011 – 8 SE Brooklyn Park Pub Neighborhood
3 2011 – 8 SE Yukon Tavern Dive
4 2011 – 9 SE Gladstone Street Tavern Neighborhood
5 2012 – 3 SE Hawthorne Hideaway Neighborhood
6 2012 – 4 SE Muddy Rudder Public House Neighborhood
7 2012 – 8 SE Lutz Tavern Historic
8 2012 – 10 SE Gold Dust Meridian Neighborhood
9 2012 – 10 SE Bar of the Gods Dive
10 2012 – 11 SE Claudia’s Historic
11 2013 -1 SE Grand Café   *1 Historic
12 2013 – 3 SE Belmont Inn Neighborhood
13 2013 – 4 SE Belmont Station Neighborhood
14 2013 – 4 SE Tanker Bar Dive
15 2013 – 4 SE Beer Neighborhood
16 2013 – 5 SE Horse Brass Pub Historic
17 2013 – 8 SE Slammer Dive
18 2014 – 1 SE Nest Neighborhood
19 2014 – 4 SE Bazi Bier Brassiere Neighborhood
20 2014 – 6 SE Beer Monger Bottle
21 2014 – 11 SE Richmond Bar Neighborhood
22 2015 – 4 SE Double Barrel Neighborhood
23 2015 – 12 SE Produce Row Historic
 
1 2011 – 9 N Twilight Room Historic
2 2011 -11 N Amnesia Brewery Brewery
3 2011 – 11 N Prost Neighborhood
4 2012 -5 N Mock Crest Tavern Historic
5 2012 – 5 N Interurban Neighborhood
6 2012 – 11 N White Eagle Saloon Historic
7 2013 – 6 N Sidecar 11 Neighborhood
8 2014 – 3 N Saraveza Neighborhood
9 2014 – 6 N Lost and Found Neighborhood
10 2015 – 5 N Ecliptic Brewery Brewery
11 2015 – 11 N St. John’s Pub Historic
 
 
1 2011 – 9 NW Joe’s Cellar Dive
2 2012 – 2 NW Dixie Tavern Dive
3 2013 – 2 NW Davis Street Tavern Misc.
4 2013 – 10 NW Slabtown   *2 Historic
5 2014 – 1 NW Skyline Tavern Historic
6 2014 – 4 NW Bailey’s Tap Room / Upper Lip Misc.
7 2014 -4 NW Crackerjacks Neighborhood
8 2014 – 4 NW Quimby’s Neighborhood
9 2014 – 4 NW Sniff Café Misc.
10 2014 – 12 NW Marathon Taverna Sports
11 2015 – 6 NW Low Brow Lounge Dive
12 2015 – 6 NW Pope House Bourbon Lounge Misc.
13 2015 – 11 NW Lompoc Tavern Historic
         
1 2011 – 11 SW Buffalo Gap Tavern Historic
2 2012 – 2 SW Ash Street Saloon Misc.
3 2012 – 6 SW Cheerful Tortoise Historic
4 2012 – 7 SW Goose Hollow Inn Historic
5 2012 – 12 SW Ship Tavern Dive
6 2013 – 3 SW Tugboat Brewery Brewery
7 2013 – 7 SW Sasquatch Brewery Brewery
8 2014 – 2 SW Cheerful Bullpen Sports
9 2015 – 5 SW Yamhill Pub Dive
10 2015 – 8 SW Kelly’s Olympian Historic
         
1 2015 – 3 Burbs Brannons in Beaverton   *3 Brewery
         
1 2014 – 8 Peda Lounge Misc.

*1 Franks Peters’ Grand Café closed in 2014 and Pour Sports has now opened in the historic building.

*2  The historic and iconic Slabtown closed in 2015 and unfortunately has not reopened.

*3   Kevin Brannon’s brewery and pub – Brannons’ in Beaverton closed in 2015.

The Dicksons, Lamberts and McAdams at Produce Row

The Dicksons, Lamberts and McAdams at Produce Row

And in closing this post and 2015, it needs to be stated that besides the adventure of exploring so many new and interesting saloons, it has been wonderful meeting the bartenders, the regulars and sharing stories with those who have Beerchased with me.

The Faust clan, Jim Westwood and Jennifer Johnson at Kelly's Olympian

The Faust clan, Jim Westwood and Jennifer Johnson at Kelly’s Olympian

 

 

Swift, Eller and Jones with waitress, Jennifer, at Pope Bourbon House

Swift, Eller and Jones with waitress, Danielle, at Pope Bourbon House

P1010302

Proost!  Salud!    Skal!

And finally – a special thanks to the 2014 Beerchaser-of-the-Year, Janet Williams, my spouse of 35 years who has good naturedly switched from wine to beer when we have visited watering holes in Oregon and all over the U.S. and Europe.   

 

Produce Row Café – Take a Hike and have a Brewski!

Originally opened in 1974 and now resurrected (again) in 2014

Originally opened in 1974 and now resurrected in 2014

“There are so few of these elusive establishments, the everyday-worthy ones that time and time again just hit the spot with reliable food and atmosphere. I suppose you could find that at a super $$$ place with staff wearing coattails if you’re the 1%, but this is real life, and I don’t know how to use silverware properly.

Produce Row is one of my special oases of goodness in a world full of soggy fries and loud bars with sports on TV.  I had only been to the Row about 3 times in the year before it was shut down so abruptly, to my dismay.”  (Yelp 8/21/15)

P1030894While Portland has many new and interesting bars and pubs, Thebeerchaser’s favorites are generally the old, and many times, historic, watering holes that have been around for decades.

The Mock Crest Tavern, the White Eagle Saloon, Kelly’s Olympian and the Lutz, to name a few, are joined by the original Produce Row Café down in the Industrial District on Portland’s East Side. (See the links above for prior Beerchaser reviews on these bars.)

Kelly's Olympian - another historic bar

Kelly’s Olympian – another historic bar

It opened in 1974 and according to a 9/2/14 Oregon Live  article “One of the first owned by Mike McMenamin (yes, that McMenamin) – one of Portland’s first bars devoted to ‘good’ beer — i.e. quality imports and craft beer.”  Produce Row was sold by the McMenamins to the bar’s employees in 1978 because the McMenamins could not brew beer at that location.

Alan Davis, who now owns the Multnomah Whiskey Bar, purchased and remodeled the café in 2008.   He closed it suddenly in the fall of 2014 only for the bar to be resurrected in 2015 by Josh Johnston and James Hall, the owner of Paddy’s Bar and Grill and several other Portland bars.  Produce Row Café is now thriving and a bar worth visiting.

Historic industrial surroundings

Historic industrial surroundings in the 1940’s – Portland Archives – Vintage Portland

While we were dating in the late 1970’s, my wife and I used to hit the original establishment for a good draft beer and buy a few of the many bottled beers they sold, followed by a stop at Corno’s Market to pick up some fresh fruit and vegetables.

The Produce Row District served farmers and industry well because it was accessible both by truck and the Willamette River besides having economical real estate.

Now, a resurrected Produce Row Café (see details below) joins other popular eateries such as Olympic Provisions, Bunk Bar and Clark Lewis, to name just a few, in an Urban Renewal District formed in 2012.  P1030906

The area is now:

“….home to a vibrant mix of more than 1,100 creative and industrial businesses, spanning such industries as athletic and outdoor, software, clean tech, advanced manufacturing, design, professional services, and food and beverage…….

‘More than any other neighborhood in Portland, Produce Row embodies a mindset of resourcefulness, creativity, and, above all, visionary innovation that inspires business growth,’ said (former) Portland Mayor Sam Adams. ”  (Portland Development Commission newsletter 3/2/12)

Great views from Tilikum Crossing

Great views from Tilikum Crossing

What has become a walking group of Beerchaser Regulars (David and Kate Dickson, Roy Lambert and his spouse, Mary Maxwell and Dave and Nita McAdams) had drinks and dinner at Produce Row after a stimulating several mile walk.

Starting at the east side of the Tilikum Crossing Bridge, we walked through Tom McCall Waterfront Park and across the Steel Bridge.  Then south along the Vera Katz Eastbank Esplanade before our final destination – Produce Row Café.  The scenery reaffirmed how scenic Portland can be.

P1030891P1030888

We ordered off a reasonably priced menu and all of us were pleased with our selections of appetizers (a plus for the fried Cauliflower, salads (the Chicken and Apple got an A+), sandwiches (the Row Burger) and entrees which included outstanding Beer Cheese Mac and Meat Loaf.

Orders Up - the Beer Cheese Mac was the most popular!

Orders Up – the Beer Cheese Mac was the most popular!

This Nikasa Dawn of the Red IRA was great

This Silver MoonVoodoo Dog ISR was great

The draft beer selection was robust with 23 beers and 2 ciders on tap.

 

P1030895

Nita and Dave McAdams and Manager, Marcus Chase

A bonus was a conversation with Produce Row’s Manager, Marcus Chase, a product of Pleasant Hill High School, whose parents farmed hazel nuts in the same area in Washington County as Dave and Nita, both of whom have other careers (Dave, a tax attorney and Nita, an educator).

Dinner and beers after a good walk

Dinner and beers after a good walk

 

The patio in the rear part of the bar has not changed much.  It is spacious and was filled with patrons: The back patio, a snug oasis of sunshine and wood tables hidden amidst neighborhood warehouses and train tracks, was among the city’s best.”  Oregon Live 9/2/14

One of the most enjoyable parts of Thebeerchaser Tour, initiated in 2011, is the stimulating people I have met in every bar ranging from the regulars, the bartenders and the managers.  This was reaffirmed when I returned to the bar and had an extended conversation with Marcus, who was joined by Nick Guest, the Bar Manager, who came to Produce Row in April, 2015.                            

Marcus and Nick with Thebeerchaser logo

Marcus and Nick with Thebeerchaser logo

Both were very knowledgeable about beer.   Marcus started his journey while being “hungry for knowledge” and living in Australia.

When asked about those who made social media comments about yearning for the original Produce Row, he responded that they want to hold on to the nostalgia but add energy through good food, creativity in their beer selection and an atmosphere that makes people want to return. Nick stated, “Our goal is to stay relevant in Portland’s burgeoning beer culture.”                 2015-11-10 18.00.24  

The Beer and Whiskey Pairings are a good example.  A concept initiated by Alan Davis that Marcus expanded and refined when he came to the bar.  “The beer and whiskey are chosen to complement each other.”

The eight pairings are interesting and diverse ranging from $8 (“The Departed”Guinness Stout and Tullamore Dew Irish Whiskey) to $19 (“Werewolves and Vampires” – Silver Moon Voodoo Dog ISR and Blood Oath Whiskey – a blend of three (6 yr old wheat whiskey, 7yr old rye and 12 yr old rye).

P1030901

It appears that Marcus and Nick are succeeding based on my two visits which generated the same reaction as this review Yelp review on 6/18/15:

Traveled from the east coast and met a local couple here for dinner recently. Very eclectic atmosphere. Great staff, very helpful and friendly. Each of us had something different, and no one was disappointed. Great stop in a really nice town.”                    P1030914

And if you visit Produce Row or one of the other good eateries or bars in the Produce Row Industrial District, consider exploring the Esplanade and learning more about this vibrant area of the Portland landscape:

“More recently, that combination of access and affordability has attracted the city’s savviest entrepreneurs and forward-thinking creative professionals. These businesses have benefited from Produce Row’s adaptable urban landscape, potential for repurposing buildings, and proximity to the scenic views of the Willamette River from the Eastbank Esplanade.”

And as an aside, having two tax lawyers (Dave and Roy – now retired) added to the conversation on the hike.  I am now well-versed in the nuances of the Trade Priorities and Accountability Act as well as the IRS repair regulations project for the widely discussed and closely related Modified Accelerated Cost Recovery System.  Both made me thirsty!

2015-10-20 19.39.18

Produce Row 204 SE Oak Street

 

The Lompoc Tavern – A Long and Continuing Tradition

Lompoc Tavern - The Tradition Continues

Lompoc Tavern – The Tradition Continues

Thebeerchaser Tour of Bars,Taverns and Pubs commenced in 2011 – initially including only watering holes in Portland, but based on the positive results, the concept was expanded to include establishments in Europe, Alaska, Washington, Montana, Colorado, the Southeastern US, central and eastern Oregon and the Oregon coast.  After four years, over 150 have been visited and reviewed with about 45% of those in Portland.

The Lutz - one of Portland's classics

The Lutz – one of Portland’s classics

Many of the Portland venues such as the Horse Brass Pub, the Lutz Tavern and the Mock Crest Tavern have rich histories.

The bartenders in these venues tell stories about the tunnels below the downtown bars used by smugglers (Kelly’s Olympian) or the brothel and law office that concurrently shared the space (Buffalo Gap Saloon) or the ghost that purportedly still inhabits the upstairs space at the White Eagle Saloonwhite eagle

 

I have visited bars that once housed an ice cream parlor, dry cleaner’s, grocery store, auto-body shop, thrift store, trolley station, Greek Orthodox church and petting zoo to name just a few.

Unfortunately, I never frequented the original Old Lompoc Tavern before it closed or when it was initially resurrected as the New Old Lompoc Tavern.   To remedy that, in part, I met my old friend Denny Ferguson and his colleague, Tygue Howland (both employed by another resurrected organization – the Portland State University Athletic Department) on a sunny October afternoon at the NW 23rd Street patio fronting the current Lompoc Tavern.

Fergy on the patio of the Lompoc

Fergy on the patio of the Lompoc

My friendship with Fergy goes back to 1979 when he was President of JBL & K Insurance and I worked at the Oregon State Bar.   He tried to teach me about employee benefits. Denny maintains, however, that rather than insurance concepts he tried to educate a young and naïve manager about business practices and life.

I have to admit that Dennis B. Ferguson is one of the most positive people I have ever known.   As I reported when we went Beerchasing at the Cheerful Tortoise in 2012, he is so optimistic that he will again, commence his new diet on the day before Thanksgiving – probably because he runs most of it off in the traditional Ferguson/Murphy Run at 6:15 A.M. Christmas Eve morning.  (Sign-up using the  link.)

Denny at the Cheerful Tortoise in 2013

Denny at the Cheerful Tortoise in 2012

And Tygue is Associate Athletic Director for External Operations at PSU – more about Tygue below. Our visit to the Lompac was greatly enhanced by Rosie, the Manager who also served us and has worked at the bar for the last eight years after moving from Michigan.

Rosie told us that the building structure is over 100 years old and the original Old Lompoc Tavern was opened in 1993.  In 1996, they started brewing and then in 2000, the current owner, Jerry Fechter, bought it with his silent partner – legendary beer entrepreneur, Don Younger, best known for his Horse Brass Pub – it then became the  New Old Lompoc.

Tygue, Rosie and Fergy

Tygue, Rosie and Fergy

All the buildings on that block on NW 23rd were demolished and the bar closed in 2012, but then reopened in May, 2013. Based on the number of previous monikers and potential confusion, the new name was simply the Lompoc Tavern and it joins the four other Portland bars under the Lompoc Brewing umbrella – the Fifth Quadrant, the Oaks Bottom, the Hedge House and Sidebar.

For history buffs, the Lompoc name emanated from the WC Field’s film The Bank Dick with the setting in Lompoc California.

The patio in the rear of the original Lompoc, a favorite of regulars, had to be abandoned and was replaced by the tables which now extend beyond the sidewalk in front of the bar.  But as you can see, the new patio is a great setting for beer and food and when I returned after 5:00 PM, it was filled and lively.  P1030838

What distinguishes the Lompoc? Rosie enthusiastically stated that it was the beer – 14 on tap in addition to one cider and quality seasonals from the Lompoc Brewery in Portland.  (It’s brewed at the Fifth Quadrant.)

The Lompac space is nicely laid out with some widescreen televisions to watch games, a spacious horsehoe bar and a nook with some historical mementoes from the original bar.  A recent Yelp review summed it up nicely:

A lot of cool *#@+ hanging on the wall....

A lot of cool *#@+ hanging on the wall….

“The atmosphere is cozy and dark. There is lots of crazy *%#@ hanging on the walls. A beer paddle, trophies, used malt cans, and concert posters decorate the interior. This is a brewery but the feel is a cross between a roadhouse and a yuppified neighborhood meeting place.

It’s cool, familiar, and comfortable.  The clientele seems to be older neighborhood-dwellers, outdoorsy 30-somethings, and long-bearded regulars. This is not a quiet place to nurse a pint. This is a bustling place to swap loud stories and share the weekend’s exploits with buzzed friends around tall pints of tasty beer.” (Yelp 2/16/15 by Jacob M)

P1030834The Willamette Week newspaper office has is only a few blocks from the Lompoc and in an effort to be humorous – which Lompac Management did not appreciate –  ran a “tongue-in-cheek” piece when the bar reopened in 2013 entitled, “A Complete Catalog of Everything Wrong with New New Old Lompoc”:

“So, yeah, while the New New Old Lompoc (they call it the “Lompoc Tavern”) is pretty great, it lacks the mildewed charm of the old bar which, apropos of nothing, was the closest watering hole to Willamette Week’s office.  Here’s two of the complaints they enumerated:

It’s rainy today — It sure would have been nice if they’d opened the pub last week, when it was nice and sunny.

The entrance may be about five feet farther north. — That’s five feet farther from the WW office. Given the journey involved, you guys aren’t going to catch us here any sooner than 6 pm today…”      P1030833

On a more serious note, the weekly in its 2014 Annual Bar Guide endorsed the Lompoc by stating:

“(It’s) a poor substitute for the delightfully shabby original – well aside from the food, which is better now.   And the beer is better and more adventurous……— (It’s) a neat little nook on the ground floor of a tony condo complex……..”

And since one of the joys of Beerchasing is meeting new friends, a little more about Tygue Howland.   He is smart, personable and understands athletics.  Besides his place in Washington sports lore as the only all-state high school athlete in three sports (football, basketball and baseball at Sedro Woolley High School), he knows and believes in the organization he now represents.   His job description includes fundraising, ticket sales and marketing for the Athletic Department.

All-State in baseball, football and basketball at Sedro Wooley Tygue on left)

All-State in baseball, football and basketball at Sedro Wooley

2015-11-05 13.57.36

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

In fact, having just finished the book, I suggested that  inviting author, Jon Krakauer, to a book-signing to autograph his most recent book, Missoula – Rape and the Justice System in a College Town at PSU’s away game in Missoula that weekend with the University of Montana.   It could  be a creative way to generate publicity although it might not be enthusiastically received by the Montana Grizzlies or for that matter the University of Montana Administration.

Missoula - a college town with a football history and culture

Missoula – a college town with a football history and culture?

For those who have not read it, Krakauer’s  387-page non-fiction best seller is the account of the sad legacy including University of Montana football players’ involvement in a series of sexual assaults on campus, which were so numerous that it ended with an investigation and report by the US Department of Justice.   The feds criticized the University, the Missoula Police Department and the Missoula  County Attorney’s Office for their roles in tacitly permitting the perpetuation of this environment.

The University of Montana campus

The University of Montana campus

Tygue and Fergy rejected the suggestion and Portland State beat the Grizzlies 59 to 41 improving their record to five wins and one loss in what has been a remarkably successful season, which now stands at 8 and 2.

Tygue has a history at PSU, having played quarterback starting in 2005 under Coach Mike Walsh. Because of a severe injury (two torn ACLs) his football career took place over six years at PSU and he also played for Coaches Jerry Granville and Nigel Burton.   Keep your eyes open for this guy who in addition to his work at PSU, had a short stint at the Oregon State Athletic Department adding to his resume.

PSU Quarterback Howland before the injuries

PSU Quarterback Howland

And give the Lompoc a try – The patio is a terrific place to raise a mug and watch people.   And we found the Lompoc, while understandably not a duplicate of the original, a welcome addition to some of the sterile offerings on NW 23rd.

It has a nice ambiance, diverse and ample selections of beer, reasonably priced and tasty menu selections and a friendly staff (Say hello to Rosie!!!)

And maybe Willamette Week staffers will return and focus their criticism on more serious issues — like the ongoing and precipitous decline of The Oregonian……

The Lompoc - not the original, but a nice ambiance...

The Lompoc – not the original, but a nice ambiance…

The Lompoc Tavern 1620 NW 23rd Avenue