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