“They Stopped Drinking There Today….”
Last month, Joe’s Cellar, the fourth stop on Thebeerchaser’s Tour (“Step Up to Joe’s Cellar” – 9/17/2011) served its last Budweiser and “Pork De-Lite” lunch (a pork chop, two eggs, cottage cheese and tomato slices for $7.50).
Unfortunately this great dive bar, in an historic building on NW 21st – down towards the industrial section rather than the trendy shops and cafes farther south – closed after Portland code officials condemned the building. Now the legendary ’50 style bistro and the lounge – one which had a Happy Hour at 7A.M. for the factory workers getting off night shift – is gone for good.
Similary, the Original Safari Club in Estacada (Beerchaser post on 3/18/13) has gone out of business and a report in Willamette Week, also says another historic dive bar, the Black Cat in Sellwood, has closed because of building problems. The latter was on Thebeerchaser’s list for a future visit – sob!!
And another legend sang his last tune in April when country crooner, George Jones, died. A verse from his hit vocal, “Bartender’s Blues,” written by James Taylor, was featured in a post on this blog on November 9, 2011.
“Well I’m just a bartender And I don’t like my work, But I don’t mind the money at all. I’ve seen lots of sad faces, And lots of bad cases of folks with their backs to the wall
But I got four walls around me, to hold my life. To keep me from going astray. And a honky-tonk angel, to hold me tight to keep me from slipping away.”
Ruggers – Some Other Legendary Bar Guys
Jay Waldron is an outstanding Portland environmental and energy lawyer who practices at the Schwabe Williamson firm. Jay wasted 40% of his undergraduate study years and spent the other 60% drinking and partying at Providence College. He appears to have changed his ways while both getting his Masters in English and graduating from one of the nations leading law schools at the University of Virginia.
Somewhere along the way, (Some say it happened when he heard the motto, “Lose the first two letters of ‘scrum’ and drink what’s left,”) Jay started playing rugby and his passion for the sport evolved into playing, coaching and broadcasting rugby on a regional, national and international level and stints as a director of the U.S. Rugby Foundation. He reminded me after reading the December 2012 post (“All Hands on Deck at The Ship Tavern”), that this great dive bar had once been the site of the Portland Rugby Club’s ”Book and Brew” discussions.
He also urged me to visit the “shrine,” of sorts, to ruggers in the bar at Jakes.
Yes, I was skeptical, but these pictures attest to the fact that an alcove leading into the men’s room preserves some rugger nostalgia – thanks to John Underhill, Jake’s former manager and rugby player.
“….. we were assaulted by 5 to 8 of your largest patrons. My arms were pinned behind my back while a third cut my tie with a pair of scissors…..one mustached individual bounded over the bar to break up a possible ensuing riot.
As each offending participant was twice as large as (we were) and a full four times as large as your bartender, a riot did not ensue, and my party bid a hasty (although loud) retreat.
…..I believe the ‘gorillas’ that attacked us belonged someplace other than at a high-class place like Jake’s and should have been evicted……I would like to consider the incident closed…but my bruised ego is preventing me from making a clean break……
I would appreciate it, if you would reimburse me for the nominal amount of $20…… for my silk tie. If you decline, I’m afraid…..people who wear ties will start avoiding your restaurant. Please consider my flippant tone a measure of my sense of humor and not as a lack of seriousness of this matter.”
Since the statute of limitations has tolled, Waldron is pretty candid about the incident and provides this perspective:
“We placed the cut portion of the tie on the bar with a double margarita as compensation —I cut it with the scissors from a Swiss army knife — A warm night in Jake’s after rugby practice, we in shorts and practice gear, he and others were in suits .
He made a loud remark about the inappropriateness of our attire. We reacted immediately—Two 250 lb. players lifted him off his feet and pinned his arms , a Swiss army knife appeared on car keys from one of the player’s pocket and I cut cleanly.”
Now, while we do not condone social upheaval in bars, there should be consensus that unless you’re a client, it is better to hear Waldron’s authentic rugby stories than his legal theories on siting of mining facilities or the definition of major stationary sources under Title V of the Clean Air Act.
Thebeerchaser is conducting some additional research to determine if there is any other info on this historic incident to update you. For example, were there eight “gorillas” or three participants? There is a Steven G. Haywood, who is a “Think Tank Professional” in San Diego who is approximately 60 years old …. who might be the victim – er, guy!
New Bar Opening in N Portland
A new bar in North Portland will be having its Grand Opening on May 11th. Check out the brews and food menu at the Lost and Found not too far from the University of Portland at 5426 N. Gay Street – right off Killingsworth. Let’s try to help the two young women owners, who have a vision, achieve their dream and see if they can deliver on their promise below:
“While you sip fresh-made signature cocktails, craft beer, or local wine, you can enjoy the truly unique atomic Northwest atmosphere, custom-made works of art, great music, delicious snacks, and a huge patio. And you can rest easy knowing you are in the care of the friendliest and hardest working staff in the entire city.”
Emotional Disequilibrium, Rotating Metaphors and “On Bullshit”
Dr. Harry Frankfurt, Emeritus Professor of Philosophy at Princeton University, wrote a brief but brilliant and witty book – On Bullshit. His marvelous work was quoted extensively in this blog when Dr. Frankfurt was named Thebeerchaser-of-the-Month in January, 2012.
I thought of the good professor when I read this excerpt from a recent interview of David Shields, a University of Washington Professor and author, who gave this response to one question:
“What I am good at, I think, I hope, is meditating with rigor and candor on my emotional disequilibrium and trying to rotate that out as metaphor so it comes to feel, God forbid, somewhat universal and it makes the reader feel as Phillip Lopate says, ‘less freakish and more human.'” (For the unwashed, Phillip Lopate is a writer, media critic and professor of English at Hofstra University.)
Shields has written fourteen books including some on sports. While he is the Milliman Distinguished Writer-in-Residence at the University of Washington, and his latest book, The Thing About Life Is That One Day You’ll Be Dead, was a New York Times bestseller, his statement led me to the following conclusions:
- I would not want to have a beer with Shields, and if he frequented a bar where there were ruggers, they would cut his shirt off (as an academic he would not deign to wear a tie) and run him out of the bar after he uttered his second sentence.
- While there were a few favorable reviews, the U.W. students who wrote the following reviews should have the pleasure of listening to Dr. Frankfurt in lecture, instead of Shields:
” I learned almost nothing from this class. He accepted very few deviating opinions; not available outside of class at all. Find another prose teacher ASAP.”
“I never got the impression that he actually wanted to be there, or had any interest in helping students improve, and certainly didn’t seem to want to actually read any student writing. He only wants you to listen in awe while he muses about why fiction is so useless. He thinks everything he has to say about writing is gospel and it gets old fast.”
“David Shields is a nice guy. But he’s kind of a snob. He told us in class repeatedly he didn’t think we were capable of any “good” writing because we were too young, had too little experience.”
Or to quote On Bullshit:
“When we characterize talk as hot air, we mean that what comes out of the speaker’s mouth is only that. It is mere vapor. His speech is empty, without substance or content. His use of language accordingly does not contribute to the purpose it purports to serve.”
Now perhaps Thebeerchaser is not erudite enough to appreciate Shields need to pontificate although a reviewer of his two books (How Literature Saved My Life, and Reality Hunger: A Manifesto in the 2/13 New York Times seems to agree. Maybe it would be worth having a beer with Shields rather than making a big inferential leap about his pomposity from one interview. I think, however, I’ll pass and drink with a regular at The Ship Tavern.
Thebeerchaser Tour Continues…..
After almost 21 months since the commencement of this blog, Thebeerchaser has visited forty-one bars, pubs, taverns and breweries. Forty-three of you follow this blog regularly and it received view number 12,000 last month – beerchasers from all over the world.
If you have an establishment that should be visited in the future, please leave a comment on the blog.