Beerchaser Miscellany

Thebeerchaser’s tour of Portland pubs, taverns and bars and this blog commenced in August 2011.  My education on blog software is continuing and I hope to make it easier in the future to find items on the site; however, it may be helpful until that time to recap the venues reviewed in categories during the last ten months.

The next review will be posted this week and recaps our visit to Interurban, which will be followed by a visit to the historical Mock Crest Tavern.

Neighborhood Bars

  • Brooklyn Park Pub
  • Gladstone Street Pub
  • Hawthorne Hideaway
  • Laurelthirst Public House
  • Muddy Rudder Public House

“Taking the Plunge…”

Dive Bars (Not a negative connotation – see post entitled “Analyzing Dive Bars – Head First” from September)

  • Ash Street Saloon
  • Dixie Tavern
  • Joe’s Cellar
  • Yukon Tavern

Brew Pubs

  • Amnesia Brew Pub
  • Coalition Brew Pub
  • Migration Brew Pub

Miscellaneous Bars and Pubs – In a Class of Their Own

  • The Buffalo Gap Saloon
  • Proust
  • The Twilight Room (Could be considered somewhat of a neighborhood pub but also a traditional  “hang-out” for watering hole for University of Portland students)

Followers  of the blog have asked if I have identified a favorite establishment to this point.  While every visit has been positive, probably two tie as favorites for different reasons:  The Laurelthirst and The Twilight Room.

Beerchasers of the Month

This label above is a misnomer because only five of the ten months have named an “honoree” as follows:

  • Princeton University professor and author of On Bullshit, Dr. Harry Frankfurt
  • Crime novelist, James Crumley
  • Retired chemical engineer and drinker, Harold Schlumburg
  • The bartenders of the Brooklyn Park Pub, the Gladstone Street Pub, Prost and the Twilight Room

Efforts will be made to bestow that honor more frequently, however, my favorite to this point is the esteemed Dr. Frankfurt, who responded to thebeerchaser’s e-mail informing him of the distinction and he became a follower of the blog.

BS Expert – Dr. Harry Frankfurt

Beer-related Lawsuits

Having worked in a law firm for twenty-five years and at the Oregon State Bar prior to that time, I collected a lot of law-related articles and memorabilia. In reviewing old files, I came across my favorite law suit – reported in The Oregonian in 1976. It documents a $53,000 suit filed against the Mount Angel Oktoberfest in Marion County.

The plaintiff, Robert Rispler, claimed the portable toilet he entered at the annual Oktoberfest was pushed over by unruly patrons and he was “violently thrown about inside said portable toilet, became intimately mixed (emphasis supplied) with the contents thereof and sustained a fracture of his right wrist and other contusions and abrasions.”                                                          

A Lawsuit Dr. Frankfurt Might Appreciate

Unfortunately additional research on the results of this suit are beyond the resources of thebeerchaser although a quick search of the internet found two Robert Risplers – one, a 1974 graduate of Reynolds High School in Portland (he would have been too young to drink legally….) and one who is now Director of Accounting at Fannie Mae in Washington DC.  Thebeerchaser avoids political commentary (at times) and will omit any direct or indirect implications related to federal agencies.

Favorite Bar Jokes

Although my archives has more lawyer jokes than bar jokes, this blog needs to return to more relevant topics in this post and will finish with a few bar jokes, which will also grace future posts:

  • A grasshopper walks into a bar and the bartender says, “Hey, that’s really cool.  We have a drink named after you. The grasshopper looks at him skeptically and says, “You have a drink named Murray?”

  • A piece of toast, a glass of orange juice, some hash browns and a side of eggs walk into a bar and they order four beers.  The bartender says, “I’m sorry we don’t serve breakfast here.”
  • A physician, a nurse, a rabbi and a bulldog walk into a bar and the bartender says, “What is this, some kind of joke?”

Spring Training in Phoenix

Thebeerchaser and spouse were privileged to take in a few games during Spring Training in Phoenix in March.  While the tour of pubs is restricted to Portland, we visited and observed a number, which generated these observations:

It seemed like every bar we passed was jammed with people especially from about 4:30 to 7:00 and not necessarily because of Happy Hours.  It may be that given urban sprawl in this badly planned metropolis, that people don’t try to drive during rush hour and just hit a bar each day.  Rotating designated drivers keep things legal.         

It also seemed that many of the venues had multiple levels to accommodate all the patrons (see pictures below).  Perhaps it was also the hot weather.  It was ironic that it cost $4 for a bottle of water at the baseball games when one could get a PBR for $1.50 at the pub across the street.  It brought to mind, beerchaser of the month, Jame’s Crumley’s  request from his main character, C.W. Sughrue, “I want a beer as cold as my ex-wife’s heart.”

Of special interest was the Irish Pub, shown below, that also served as a saddelry.    

Did you hear the one about the horse that walked into the bar? **

*Bartender says, “Hey! Why the long face?”                     

The Laurelthirst Public House – A Classy and Comfortable Neighborhood Bar

The Beerchaser’s Spouse Enters Laurelthirst

The Laurelthirst is a neat and old neighborhood-type bar with an added attraction – great live music in the evening – and there’s usually either minimal or no cover charge! Entering the bar is like a walk back in time – in fact there is almost a slight scent of old second-hand smoke that lingers like a relative who over-stays his visit.   ”It’s  somewhere between a historical hippy dive and a cozy live venue, this place oozes earthi-ness and kitschy humor.”

There is dark wood, a lot of antique memorabilia hanging from the walls – an old rideable tractor toy, a vintage tricycle and a pitchfork with a sign saying “Be Good or Be Gone.”

Memorabilia Adds to the Ambiance

Our bartender was a very nice lady named Angela, who has worked at the pub for ten years and is finishing her graduate degree at Portland State.

 Angela – let us sample six of the seventeen beers on tap before we decided on Hub Crosstown Pale Ale – an organic and local beer that was superb

Angela – An Educated and Friendly Bartender

As described on the brewery’s website: “This beer bridges east and west with a lane dedicated to riders who aren’t afraid to get dirty. Three kinds of organic caramel malts and a 24 pound whirlpool hop bomb keep things interesting while the wheels go round and round. Cheers to narrow knobbies, kazoos, and more cowbell!”

I also had a very good Engleberg Pilsner from Upright Brewing Company in Portland.

Hub Crosstown Pale Ale

According to Angela, their evening clientele is very mixed and interesting. One can see earthy-types of all ages, professors, students and neighborhood yuppies.

There is a small room separated from the bar by a neat corridor with two pool tables and video machines.

Adding to the nice environment were a number of sketches and paintings from various local artists adorning the wall – exhibited on a rotating basis (Janet Julian, a musician who has played at Laurelthirst, was the featured artist when we were there).

Also a wall with sketches and photos of regulars who are now drinking their beer in heavenly bliss and eternal suds… Their Happy Hour is each weekday from 6:00 to 8:00 P.M. (not for those who are deceased)

The “Hurst” (purportedly the preferred moniker for those in the know…) has also drawn rave reviews for its breakfasts

Distinguishing Characteristics

Besides the unique and homey environment, the music also differentiates Laurelthirst from many neighborhood bars.  A very small stage in the main bar area hosts the bands which range from bluegrass to jazz.            

The Stage — A Variety of Good Music

When there are quality groups, the area can become very crowded with observers and dancers — but that adds to the charm.

Good local and NW groups perform daily and on weekends.  For example, in one recent week, the groups featured at the pub included:

  • The Jimmy Boyer Band 
  • Portland Country Underground                                
  •  Michael Hurley and the Croakers                       
  •  Woodbrain                                                       
  • Tree Frogs   
  • The Lewi Longmire Band 
  •  Freak Mountain Ramblers
Memories of Bands from the Past

Whether it is to hear a good band, sample a NW microbrew or have a good breakfast, the Laurelthirst is a neighborhood treasure in NE Portland.

Laurelthirst Public House                 2958 NE Glisan St.