Beerchaser Miscellany II

One Year of Touring Taverns, Pubs and Bars and Still Going Strong

Thebeerchaser Tour – One Year Anniversary

It has been one year since Thebeerchaser’s Tour of Portland Bars commenced.  During that year I have reviewed 23 bars, pubs and taverns and the original premise for taking this journey has been confirmed — each bar has had its own personality, ambiance, flaws and character.  From the first stop – Brooklyn Park Pub (August 2011) to Lutz Tavern (July 2012) and even the one in Washington (Pourhouse – August, 2012) – all have been worth the visit.

As a result, I strongly disagree with the quote from a review of one of the bars I visited:

“I’m beginning to understand the formula for what constitutes a popular bar in Portland….Make it dark, create some reason for the service to suck and make PBR cheaper than soda….”

Good – But Doesn’t Make the Bar Necessarily Great

Because of the sheer number of Portland bars, my original guidelines were to visit a bar from each letter of the alphabet and then restart the cycle; however, I have thrown that practice out.  I go where you suggest or where I happen to see bartenders, bar stools, PBR or microbrews sold, etc. ……The guideline of reviewing only Portland bars also fell by the wayside when I reviewed Pour House – a Port Townsend establishment.  It was too good not to share and I will occasionally do future non-Portland venues.


During the last year, seven Beerchasers-of-the-Month (or Quarter when I get lazy) have been designated – an “honor” for which the person may or may not have a direct or indirect with beer or bars – I just wanted to tell you about them.  They include:

Craig Hanneman – Former OSU and Pittsburgh Steeler Football Player and Business Executive

The Crew of the USS Constitution

PSU Economics Professor, Dr. John Walker

Retired Oregonian columnist, John Terry

Author Dr. Frankfurt – Emeritus Professor of Philosophy at Princeto

Dr. Harry Frankfurt, Author of On Bullshit             

Crime Novelist James Crumley *

Four Portland Bartenders

Retired Chemical Engineer, Harold Schlumberg

* Crumley, a now deceased Montana writer, had an affinity for bars and beer (and gin) and was credited by some reviewers with the best opening line of any crime novel.  From his book, The Last Good Kiss:         

      “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 of Sonoma, California, drinking the heart right out of a fine spring afternoon.”                  

Drinking Buddy — Fireball Roberts

After reading another of his novels – The Mexican Tree Duckone gets a taste for Crumley’s perspective:

“I went through so much help that I actually hired a woman so drunk that she had forgotten that I had fired her the week before.”

Noted Crime Novelist


Bar Joke Update

Occasionally, I have posted a few bar jokes from my collection.  This month’s selection is timeless – so to speak….:

“The past, present and future walk into a bar —

 It was really tense…..”              

It’s All Relative….

Becomes “light” headed when he drinks too much!

% * @ + !




What Distinguishes Portland Besides Its Beers and Bars?

Voodoo Donuts, of course –

Brewer’s Inspiration

and as The Week, a national magazine in its August 17th issue reported on the new Rogue Brewery  Voodoo Donut Bacon Maple Ale. “This brew combines the flavors of wood-smoked malts and real maple syrup and bacon to create a ‘smoky, porky, nutty’ taste.”

Do you want pancakes or hasbrowns and eggs with that beer?

Makes Thebeerchaser wonder if he should stick to Keystone Light….!

Phoenix Sign

This sign from our visit to a bar named “The Speakeasy” in Phoenix last spring was worth sharing:

John Mansfield Update

A good friend and one of my favorite lawyers and former colleague, Schwabe Williamson and Wyatt’sJohn Mansfield, accompanied me on my visit to Mock Crest Tavern last May.  John is a patent lawyer and one, like many lawyers, who is extremely literal as contrasted to literate.   For example, after reading the phrase in the Mock Crest menu, “Breakfast Served – Any Time,” he tried to order “French Toast from the Renaissance Era.”                      

John and Hanna

Since our visit, he turned 50 and had a wonderful birthday party planned by his wife, Hanna (“John Mansfield Goes to L”) – As pointed out previously, John is a Renaissance Man having majored in music at the U of O before getting his law degree Magna Cum Laude at Cornell.  Highlight of the evening was John dazzling the crowd with classical (Dvorak) and then some more contemporary George Gershwin selections on the piano.

The Piano Man Will Also Prosecute Your Patent

He revealed to me another example of an attorney’s tendency to be literal causing a problem.  “A lawyer walking to the courthouse is waiting at a corner for a “Walk” signal next to a German Shepherd and a teenage boy walks up.  The boy asks the lawyer if his dog bites and the lawyer says “no,” so the kid leans down and pets the dog, who promptly sinks his teeth into the kid’s arm.  The boy says to the lawyer, “I thought you said your dog didn’t bite.”  The lawyer responds, “I did.  That’s not my dog….”

Not the Lawyer’s Dog…..

I was glad that John related this tale rather than that of the lawyer he knows whose last case was Budweiser.


Phoenix Sun – Not!  And Speaking of Keystone Light….

Most basketball fans know that former Phoenix Suns guard, Steve Nash, was traded to the Lakers recently.

I loved the story from his first trip to SmogTown.  Some fans, saw him driving down the freeway.

Rates a Keystone Light Before Even Playing……

They recognized him in the back seat of his chauffeur-driven vehicle and shouted to  him when they pulled up beside him – both vehicles still traveling at full speed.  As the story goes, they proceeded to hand him a Key Stone Light, which he said he appreciated.

Perhaps when he has his first good game, he’ll rate a Stella.

Mock Crest Tavern – A North Portland Classic

Founded in 1947 and Going Strong!

This wonderful neighborhood bar in the historic Kenton District of NE Portland is on N. Lombard – about two miles east and slightly north of the University of Portland and one of thebeerchaser’s other favorite venues – The Twilight Room (see review from September 2011)

The visit was prompted by the following:

Its history – operating for 60 + years, named after North Portland icon, John Mock, and previously operated as a meat market and an ice cream parlor.

Classic Furnishings and Ambiance

Identified repeatedly as a “Classic Portland Bar”  – affirmed by the fact that the only “substantive” negative comment in five years of reviews on websites was one guy’s gripe that there were red onions served with his salad.

  • The urging of my friend and former colleague, John      Mansfield – one of the excellent Intellectual Property (patent, trademark, copyright, cyber security, etc.) lawyers at the Schwabe Williamson firm.  John, who is a litigator, had previously used John Batchellor, the co-owner of Mock Crest, as an expert witness on a computer software case with good results.

    Attorney John Mansfield

Mock Crest Tavern has a number of colorful slogans to describe the venue – all of which seemed very accurate:

Home of the North Portland Blues

Easy to Find – Hard to Leave

Where Friends Meet

Laurie, the Director

Some might wonder about the wisdom of hitting a bar with any lawyer, but especially an IP lawyer (people whose Cliff Notes in college were on quantum mechanics rather than “orginating”  ideas for an essay on Charles Dickens’ Tale of Two Cities).  

John is a Renaissance Man, however, having graduated magna cum laude from Cornell Law School, after undergraduate degrees at both Portland State and U of O (in music!).  For example, he played the keyboard in a four-person 80’s funk and rock band named The Core “one of the least successful bands to come out of Eugene in decades…”  — possible reunion tour on tap?  John has also appeared in many Portland theatrical productions ranging from “Pump Boys & Dinettes” to “Rocky Horror Show”.

Mansfield and “Core” Values in Eugene

Besides, how can one resist drinking with a person who recently authored a stimulating article entitled, “Metadata and Public Records Requests.”

Mock Crest has 8 draft and 14 bottled beers in addition to classic 16 ounce cans of Hamms and Rainier.  We started with a Miller since at Mock Crest “Every Day is Miller Day” and a Miller draft is $1.50 from 6:00 to 7:00 PM. (we couldn’t figure out why Miller Lites were $1.75 except for possible paternalism by the owners)

I was watching the Mariners lose 3 to 1 on one of the multiple wide-screen TVs when John then told his first Intellectual Property bar Joke:

A neutron walks into a bar and says, “I’d like a beer.”

The bartender serves him and says, “For you – no charge!”

Free Beer for Neutrons….

The staff at Mock Crest adds to the bar’s charm.  We talked to Laurie, the Director, who has worked there for ten years with the original intention of staying only two months.  She was very helpful, let us see the deck area, which is temporarily close while being extensively reconstructed and told us about the rich history of the pub.

Deck – A Work in Process

Lisa, our waitress, was wonderful and gave us some complimentary jello shots besides being the epitome of good service and courtesy.

For example, she did not get mad when after seeing the caption on the menu, “Breakfast Served – Any Time,”  Mansfield ordered “French Toast from the Renaissance Era.”  I tried to apologize for the endearing practice of lawyers to take things literally.

Would You Believe French Toast??

Distinguishing Characteristics

The Ambiance – It was described by one patron as just small enough to be cozy, and just big enough to be comfortable.”  Besides the friendly staff, its interior of dark wood and a great bar reflect its history.

There are neat signs with slogans such as “No Sniveling”and they have fried pickles and other gems on the menu – reviews were overwhelmingly favorable on the food.  (We had sandwiches and tator tots which were great..)  They have Texas Hold-em Poker nights every Sunday and Monday nights.

Lisa, John and theBC logo – she even laughed at his jokes….

The Music – there’s live music, described in one review as “quite an eclectic mix” (and no cover charge) on Tuesdays-Sundays .   For example, on May 1st we heard “Eagle Ridin Papas” featuring Johnny Ward.”

Jonnie Ward and Crew and No Cover!

An excerpt from a NW jazz publication stated, “Johnnie Ward is a name we all say often and with much love and respect…… extraordinary musician, composer, American Folk Artist, and native Portlander….. a ‘living study’ of the Northwest Roots & Blues Movement with nearly 40 years of performance art to his credit…..”

As we listened to Johnnie Ward, Mansfield felt compelled to attempt his final science-laden bar joke:

An atom walks into a bar and says, “I lost an electron.”

The bartender says, “How can you be sure.”

The atom says, “I’m positive.”

Harkening back to my Cliff Notes on Charles Dickens, this led thebeerchaser to conclude that the visit to Mock Crest was, in fact, “the best of times and the worst of times….”  and it also negated the Mock Crest slogan,Hard to Leave.”

Mock Crest Tavern    3435 N Lombard Street