Mad Sons (Pub) with Happy Daughters…

A resurrected venue in Southeast Portland

A resurrected venue in Southeast Portland

You won’t find Madison’s Bar and Grill in any of the past Willamette Week Bar Guides even though it operated from 1997 until February 2014.  The Bar Guide is the weekly paper’s annual review of about 100 favorite Portland bars and one of the ongoing resources for this blog.

WW described the predecessor, Madison’s B & G, in their review of its resurrection, of sorts, Mad Sons Pub, in its 8/26/14 review of the remade bar: “(Madison’s Bar and Grill was) a bar that looked like a Denny’s in West Virginia and attracted the same clientele.”

The sign with a minor change

The sign with a minor change

The most noticeable change is on the bland exterior of the bar  – the large neon sign near the entrance now has the “I” taped over, purportedly so it would not shine at night although some say that it just burned out and the name change then saved the owners money on signage. The real story is below.

2016-08-15-17-02-34I definitely liked the décor of the remade bar on our recent Beerchasing trip to its location at 1109 SE Madison. The large lot with free parking in an area where vehicle resting spots are at a premium was another plus.

WW speaks favorably of the new bar including the capital invested by the new owners:

2016-09-06-15-55-44“The new Revolutionary War-themed bar is a beautiful hardwood affair complete with 13-star flags, a hearth, a giant blue-felt billiards table and a picture of the signing of the Declaration of Independence burned into the wood of the bar’s service gate.” 2016-08-15-17-05-31

And like some of the other “treasures” – bars or pubs I have discovered in the five-year Beerchaser Tour of Bars, Taverns and Pubs, I would not have had the pleasure of raising a mug – this time with great companions – if I had not initiated this idiosyncratic but interesting retirement hobby.

Jack Faust contemplates the beer menu

Jack Faust contemplates the beer menu

Joining me was one of the most frequent Beerchaser “regulars,” Portland appellate lawyer and former moderator of the award-winning public affairs program, Town Hall.

Jack Faust has joined me at visits to The Buffalo Gap, Bailey’s Tap House, the Rookery, Kelly’s Olympian, the Marathon Taverna and the lackluster Yard House. (use Thebeerchaser search function above to read reviews of these bars).  He was also one of the more colorful Beerchaser-of-the-Quarters , which highlighted his notable legal (mostly at Schwabe, Williamson & Wyatt) , broadcasting and civic career (see post on 9/2/14)

Jack Faust

Jack Faust

Speaking of the Schwabe firm, where I spent twenty-five years of my legal management career, Faust, a Portland native, joins two other former Schwabe partners as three of the Jefferson High School’s “Outstanding 100” – their most distinguished alums named at the school’s Centennial in 2009.

Retired US District Court Judge and decorated Viet Nam Veteran, Ancer Haggerty, and the late Congressman, Wendell Wyatt were also honored.ancer

 

The late Congressman, Wendell Wyatt

The late Congressman, Wendell Wyatt

Faust maintains he garnered the honor based on his accomplishments playing quarterback on the Democrat’s six-man football team, but I countered that it was the notoriety achieved by his home-brewed “Raspberry Red Ale” which contributed to Portland’s designation as a SuperFund site by the EPA.

As has been the case on several previous bar visits, members of the Faust clan – in this case son, Charlie, and daughter, Amy, were Beerchasing with us in addition to Charlie’s wife, Kristen, a first-time Beerchaser.

2016-08-15-17-59-11The final two companions that afternoon were the youngest – my daughter, Laura and her fiancé, Ryan Keene, slated for September 17th nuptials at Vista Hills Vineyard and Winery west of Dundee – the home of one of my favorite dive bars – Lumpy’s Landing.

While we did not spend too much time trying to mentor and advise the young bride and groom to-be, they couldn’t go wrong listening to some words of wisdom, given that the cumulative total years of marriage for their elders was an astounding 139 years as follows:

An amazing couple

An amazing couple

Jack and Alice Faust                         60 years

Don and Janet Williams                     36 years

Amy Faust and husband, Kevin        24 years

Charlie Faust and wife, Kristen         19  years

Charlie Faust, being a numbers guy, pointed out to Ryan and Laura that since the average time of marriage for those above has been 34.8 years while the median is still an impressive 30 years, they would do well to invite members of this group out for beers in the future to seek advice on marital bliss…..

Thebeerchaser with his daughter and soon to be son-in-law

Thebeerchaser with his daughter and soon to be son-in-law

Although Charlie and his dad have a great relationship, they agreed to pose while I took the picture below in an effort to get the pub’s owners to adopt it as a logo for their new moniker. In fact, in a moment of sentimentality, Charlie gushed:

“You know, I owe a lot to my parents – especially my Mom and Dad.”

It should also be noted that both my daughter, Laura, and Jack’s daughter, Amy, seemed to be pretty happy with their dads that afternoon and not just because we paid for the beers (I think….)

A new logo for Mad Sons??

A new logo for Mad Sons??

Not only does Mad Sons have some interesting décor including multiple US Presidential portraits but the spacious game-room upstairs includes a billiard table racked for free pool, some nice booths to relax and some additional historical memorabilia.

I had a nice conversation by telephone with General Manager, Lavender Davis, who is one of five partners in Mad Sons.  The remodeling took six months and was done by craftsman with the historic items throughout the bar coming from a variety of sources including estate sales.   Some of the drapes are from her living room…..

She stated that the reason for the name change and blacking out the “I” in the Madison’s on the sign, was because of restrictions imposed by Portland’s Sign Ordinance (Perhaps a skilled lawyer could have overcome that challenge but the name change is a good thing.)

2016-09-06-15-56-45

Blue felt and free

The upstairs has a long shelves filled with impressive volumes ranging from philosophical classics such as Sir Thomas More’s Utopia, Milton’s Paradise Lost  and perhaps appropriately, Sophocles’ Oedipus the King  to novels by Nobel Prize winners such as Steinbeck and Hemingway.  Don’t plan to use the space as a reading room while you’re enjoying a mug, however.

2016-09-06-15-56-56

The expansive volumes on the shelves are all firmly glued together. This is too bad because there was some fine literature on these shelves.

An impressive faux library...

An impressive faux library…

Realizing these books were glued together and untouched, along with the thought of beer readily available, also brought back some unpleasant and possibly repressed memories from my freshman year at Oregon State.

The freedom to have an under-aged brewski at Price’s Tavern with the bros in Corvallis was like a Siren call while my freshman physics and calculus texts sat essentially glued together.   Although they might have indicated an impressive academic regimen, at least part of the quarter, they mostly gathered dust.

Fortunately, my Navy ROTC advisor informed me in a direct manner that if I did not start putting some wear on the pages, I would not only lose my scholarship, but the Navy’s travel agent would be happy to book a free flight on one of its planes headed for the other side of the International Dateline.  The motivational speech worked.

Limited but adequate patio

Limited but adequate patio

Mad Sons is a spacious, interesting and warm space to gather with friends on a fall or winter day – you might also want to take advantage of the limited but adequate patio during the spring and summer months.

The afternoon we were there, the bar was not hopping with patrons and WW alluded to the same situation in their multiple visits. And that’s too bad because Mad Sons also has a good selection of beers and a robust and very reasonably priced food menu described by the Oregonian  shortly after it opened in 2014:

“A little New England, a little Old England with sandwiches, stews and other hearty plates of varying quality.”  Oregonian 10/31/14

A nice selection of beers

A nice selection of beers

There are eleven beers on tap, a rotating seasonal and nitro and a local craft draft root beer. (Our party had Priem IPA, Double Mountain IRA and Upright Pilsner.)

Kristin had a Grapefruit Shandy, which Thebeerchaser had never been exposed to previously.  I learned that a Shandy is a combination of beer and either a soft drink or juice in approximately a 50/50 mix.  Kristin approved of the Mad Son’s version.

Recent Yelp reviews looked very positive including these two:

“Clean with great vibes and plenty of space! Awesome selection of booze with excellent service at Mad Sons Pub. Free pool, pinball, games and a huge outdoor patio – (Thebeerchaser does not agree with this description) for summer! Definitely check this place out! No kids and parking for all. Love it!!!”  7/2/2016

2016-08-15-18-13-46

and

“This place is quality.  Super chill, nice staff, good food and drink, their brisket is awesome.  I really appreciate the ambiance here, they’re always playing good music, it’s nice and dark with the look of an old style pub, but a more modern vibe.” 7/23/2016

Also good comments on their Saturday and Sunday brunch (from 11 AM to 3 PM), which according to Lavender is “very popular” and one where those who prefer not to have children affecting the ambiance, can gather.  The Chicken and Waffles looked promising as did the Beef Brisket Hash as well as the “You Build It” combinations.

2016-08-15-17-00-25This sign describes Mad Son’s pretty well.  They have a DJ every Friday night and a nice Pandora selection otherwise.

As a departing note, Laura and Ryan’s wedding at Vista Hills near Dundee was a wonderful event, notwithstanding this particular Saturday being the only day with precipitation in the ten-day period preceding it. And was it rainy – which can be problematic in an outdoor venue.  Fortunately, we had tents and a crowd with a great NW attitude.

Now while my wife may not think that it is appropriate to post some of the first photos of their wedding in a blog about bars and beer, I think after 36 years, she will probably let the proud Father-of-the-Bride go with this indulgence, given how much I love this young couple and want to show them off.

Rainy but a wonderful occasion

Rainy but a wonderful occasion

2016-09-20-13-37-452016-09-17-15-57-24

 

 

 

 

 

 

The old marrieds there that day talked to Laura and Ryan about the importance of good communication and listening, which opened the door to some of Thebeerchaser’s favorite quotes on that general topic:

“Don’t speak, unless you can improve the silence.”

“Light travels faster than sound.  This is why some people appear bright until they open their mouths.”

“A single fact can spoil a good argument.”

vista-hills

The beautiful Vista Hills setting

Mad Sons Pub              1109 SE Madison    

Thebeerchaser’s 2014 Annual Report

Thebeerchaser on one of the three visits to his favorite 2014 bar - Crackerjacks in NW Portland

Thebeerchaser on one of the three visits to his favorite 2014 bar – Crackerjacks in NW Portland

During the twenty-five years I worked at my favorite law firm (Schwabe Williamson & Wyatt P.C.) the frantic end-of-year financial and compensation activities culminated with preparation for the auditors in the new year.  We had good auditors, but this combat analogy seems fitting: “Auditors are those who arrive after the battle and bayonet the wounded.”

The Original Beerchaser Logo

The Original Beerchaser Logo

Fortunately, there is no similar pressure in the blogging world.  The gurus at WordPress prepared a 2014 Annual report for this blog – replete with graphics and interesting statistics. You can see a summary below which will supplement my own reflections.  But first some context:

Thebeerchaser Tour of Portland Bars, Taverns and Pubs commenced in August 2011 – about six months after I retired as the COO of the law firm.  I had a great career working with lawyers at Schwabe, the Oregon State Bar and in local government, but I was ready for new adventures.  And so with great deliberation, I considered many options.   Based on stringent criteria, it was narrowed to two:

Public Domain - National Park Service - 9/14/2009 Wikimedia Commons (http:///en.wikipedia.org/wiki/File:Pacific Crest Trail -logo.jpg)

Public Domain – National Park Service – 9/14/2009 Wikimedia Commons

Either hiking the length of the Pacific Crest Trail (PCT) or making a tour of Portland Bars, Taverns and Pubs and blogging about them.  My due diligence involved reviewing past backpacking trips.  Reflecting on these pictures of a hiking trip with my two brothers and brother-in-law on the Eagle Creek Trail in the late ’70’s added perspective.

Cheryl Strayed would be proud!!

Cheryl Strayed would be proud!!

 

 

 

I then visited the watering hole that was the inspiration for this hobby – a great dive bar in Dundee named Lumpy’s Landing.  There were many similarities to the two options – the 2,663 mile hike or the multi-year bar tour.

Regrouping at Wahtum Lake after a day of backpacking in the '70's. The Williams boys - Rick, Garry and Don

Regrouping at Wahtum Lake after a day of backpacking in the ’70’s

First, both require use of a compass or GPS to get to remote and sometimes obscure locations not adequately marked with signs and not generally seen as desirable by others.

Secondly, the subpar menu for each option would not be the diverse and tasty culinary delights one is used to at home.  (Example: Kiskie’s powdered eggs on the trail and Hot Mama sausages or pickled hard-boiled eggs – a staple at most dive bars.

Aged to perfection.... but better than powdered eggs
Aged to perfection…. but better than powdered eggs

 

Darwin's Theory - A magnificent Anchorage Alaska dive bar

Darwin’s Theory – A magnificent Anchorage Alaska dive bar – try the free popcorn

 

 

 

 

 

 

Finally, it all “boiled down” to liquid.  In order to avoid the gastro-intestinal distress of giardia, purifying all water by filter, tablets or boiling is required on the PCT.  However, only a few dive bars would require this step on a Bar Tour.

The Ship Tavern - might want to try PBR instead of the water

The Ship Tavern – might want to try PBR instead of the water

And when dive bar potability issues are manifest, there is always PBR – usually cold although at other temperatures still a good option.  (This provides a good chance to take umbrage with an Oregonian movie reviewer who used the following inappropriate analogy when panning a 2014 film:  ….But it had all the zing of a can of flat Pabst.”)   

Good at any temperature!

Good at any temperature!

P1010724

Necessary admonition in Eastern Oregon bar (Burns, Oregon)

 

 

 

 

 

So the bar option was chosen and initiating Thebeerchaser’s Tour of Portland  Bars, Taverns and Pubs was a wonderful decision.  My initial intent to restrict this journey to just Portland venues was soon discarded.

Thus, followers of this blog have seen reviews of bars in Europe, Alaska, the Oregon Coast, Eastern Oregon, Washington and Colorado (18 visited but not yet posted).

Thebeerchaser enjoying the scenery and a brewski outside the Horner Tavern in laldll Switzerland

Thebeerchaser enjoying the scenery and a brewski outside the Horner Pub in Lauterbrunneen, Switzerland

So three years and five months later, what has been accomplished keeping in mind my forty-years in management were often focused on performance metrics?

In the chart below, the right column is the average number of days between bar reviews for each year although it should be kept in mind that a repeat visit to each bar is generally the case to ensure accurate reporting and not reflected.

Year Days Bar Reviews Avg. Days
2011 146 8 18.3
2012 366 24 15.3
2013 365 29 12.6
2014 365 34 10.7
1242 95 13.1
Stay tuned in 2015 for the Colorado beer tour details

Stay tuned in 2015 for the Colorado beer tour details

Thus you can see that intensity has increased each year and while I do not want to regress to GAAP (Generally Accepted Accounting Principles), the statistics are not accrual-based i.e. there are 18 bars and micro-breweries we visited in a wonderful fall 2014 trip to Colorado that aren’t included in the count and will be posted in early 2015.  This is also a good time to multi-task with both a bar and accountant joke:

A guy in a bar leans over to the guy next to him and says, ‘Want to hear an accountant joke?  The guy next to him replies, ‘Well, before you tell that joke, you should know that I’m 6 feet tall, 200 pounds, and make me living as an accountant. And the guy sitting next to me is 6’2″ tall, 225 pounds, and he’s an accountant too. Now, do you still want to tell that joke?’

The first guy says, ‘No, I don’t want to have to explain it two times.’

That said, those who are interested in statistics (like the drunk using a lamppost – more for support than illumination…) may be interested that the standard deviation from the mean during those four years is 3.27 days demonstrating reasonable volatility and thus stability in frequency of visits.

Beerchasing on the Central Oregon Coast

Beerchasing on the Central Oregon Coast at the Tide Pool Inn in Depoe Bay

So before I conclude by briefing you on the venues visited during 2014, take a look at Thebeerchaser’s Annual Report compiled by WordPress.  I am most proud that in December, the blog surpassed the 40,000 views threshold – from those searching the internet in 115 countries – even those where a limb or appendage might be cut off if you are caught drinking my favorite beverage.

The report below also does not mention the distinguished individuals I have tried to recognize with the designation “Beerchaser of the Quarter”  – an eclectic group ranging from war heroes I know personally to authors to academicians to coaches and even the crew of the USS Constitution based on its famous albeit fictitious voyage in 1798.  A summary of these “honorees” for 2014 follows and to see the others, check out the blog.

 

Here’s an excerpt:

The concert hall at the Sydney Opera House holds 2,700 people. This blog was viewed about 18,000 times in 2014. If it were a concert at Sydney Opera House, it would take about 7 sold-out performances for that many people to see it.

Click here to see the complete report.

 2014 Establishments Visited and Reveiwed

Beerchasing at Saraveza

Beerchasing at Saraveza

Now remember, the thirty-four venues visited in 2014 do not include the eighteen varied and wonderful bars and micro-breweries we had the privilege of frequenting on our Colorado trip this fall, but here’s the breakdown:

Dive Bars (9) – Club 21 and Sandy Hut in Portland, Nauti Mermaid, Old Oregon Saloon, Sportsman Pub and Grub on the Central Oregon Coast and Lumpy’s Landing in Dundee (a revisit from 2011). 

Club 21 - Would you believe a former Greek Orthodox Church?

Club 21 – Would you believe a former Greek Orthodox Church?

Neighborhood Bars (9) Stamtisch, Lost and Found, Bazi Bier Brasserie, Crackerjacks, Quimbys, Saraveza, Richmond and Nest in Portland and the Mad Dog Tavern in Newport on the coast.     

Outside Stamtisch - a great new NE bar - Laura Williams, Ryan Keen and Kenzie Larson
Outside Stamtisch – a great new NE bar – Laura Williams, Ryan Keen and Kenzie Larson

 

———————

Historic Bars (4) – Skyline Tavern in Portland, Bay Haven Inn and Snug Harbor on the Central Oregon Coast and Red Dog Saloon in Juneau, Alaska.

An Historic Newport  Oregon Bar

An Historic Newport Oregon Bar

——————

Sports  Bars (2) – Cheerful Bullpen and Marathon Taverna in Portland

—————–

Owner Amy, Denny Ferguson and Jessica at the Cheerful Bullpen

Owner Amy, Denny Ferguson and Jessica at the Cheerful Bullpen

Miscellaneous (4) – Sniff Café and Peda-lounge (not a bar per se’) in Portland, Oar House and Hoover’s on the Central Oregon Coast    

Multiple bars visited on the Pedaloung tour

Multiple bars visited on the Peda-lounge tour

———-

P1020604                 Brew Pubs (5)Roadhouse 101/Rusty Truck Brewery and the Pelican Brew Pub on the Central Oregon Coast and Haines Brewery, Glacier Brewhouse and Snow Goose Bar/Sleeping Lady Brewery in Alaska.

Bottle Shops (1) – BeerMongers in Portland

The BeerMongers - an excellent bottle shop

The BeerMongers – an excellent bottle shop

————————

Beerchasers of the Quarter – I am pleased to have spent time and chronicled the remarkable careers, contributions and charismatic personalities of the following individuals in 2014:

Art Vandelay, President and CEO of Vandelay Enterprises
Art Vandelay, President and CEO of Vandelay Enterprises

 Art Vandelay – Entrepreneur, lawyer, philanthropist and voted “Most Likely” at his high school alma mater.

————————–

Brian Doyle – Award-winning Northwest author and editor of Portland, the University of Portland’s outstanding and lauded quarterly publication.

Author and Editor, Brian Doyle, at The Fulsom Brew Pub

Author and Editor, Brian Doyle, at The Fulton Brew Pub

——————————-

Steve Lawrence – Attorney and now Mayor of The Dalles.  Awarded two bronze stars for service in the Viet Nam conflict.

Two Viet Nam heroes - Beerchaser of the Quarter 2014 Steve Lawrence and 2013 BoQ Jud Blakely
Two Viet Nam heroes – Beerchaser of the Quarter 2014 Steve Lawrence and 2013 BoQ Jud Blakely

 

Jack Faust – Attorney, award-winning Portland media personality and former military intelligence officer during the Korean conflict.

Portland Appellate Lawyer and Media Personality Jack Faust

Portland Appellate Lawyer and Media Personality Jack Faust

——

In a self-critique, I noted that during the last three years there have been no female recipients of Thebeerchaser-of-the-Quarter award.  Along with working on lowering the average days between bar visits, that will be a goal in 2015.  Stay tuned!!

While it’s not the Pacific Crest Trail, we will continue to blaze trails in the bar scene.  And for those who have discovered and frequent their own favorite Portland bars – ones that are not included in the 57 reviewed so far by Thebeerchaser, please let me know.  With some perseverance and effort, it may not take 10.7 days for me to get there.

Happy New Year

Lumpy's Landing on Highway 18 in Dundee - an inspiration!

Lumpy’s Landing on Highway 18 in Dundee – an inspiration!

The Finale – Part IV of Thebeerchaser Does the Central Oregon Coast

 

The Cruise Inn in Lincoln City - not the Holland America line, but a good bar

The Cruise Inn in Lincoln City – not the Holland America line, but a good bar

We concluded our time on the Central Oregon coast at some bars with real character back in Lincoln City after two days visiting the bars below. The journey started at Lumpy’s Landing in Dundee, which was followed by:

The Old Oregon Saloon, the Nauti Mermaid Bar and Bistro, the Cruise Inn and Road House 101 in Lincoln City

The Pelican Brew Pub, the Oar House and the Sportsman Pub and Grub in Pacific City

The Bay Haven Inn, Mad Dog Country Tavern and Hoover’s in Newport

The Tidal Pool in Depoe Bay

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The bar at the Cruise Inn

The Cruise Inn – only a block away from the Old O, is right on Highway 101 in the heart of Lincoln City in an old and somewhat ramshackle pale-blue (for the ocean??) building with what appears to be an ocean liner painted on the side.

Having been on an Alaska Cruise earlier this summer, I can say it was not comparable to Holland America’s Statendam, but a colorful bar with some lively regulars inside.  And how can you lose when you can buy three beers for $8.25.

This set is in the back room after you pass the bar........

This set is in the back room after you pass the bar……..

You could have some great conversation with the regulars as you came in – or pass the bar in a manner of speaking – and go into the back room for a game of pool or to resolve your legal issues using the ten-volume set of American Jurisprudence Legal Forms  – 22,000 legal documents.  What better place to review a stock-purchase agreement or make revisions to a spousal indemnification for joint tax return, than in a coastal dive bar?

And right across the street was another favorite – the Naughty Mermaid, which according to the outspoken and experienced bartender, Di, had previously been home to a lending library, John’s Market, a donation store and finally a second-hand store before it became a bar.P1020711

 

Di, a fixture in Lincoln City since 1986, has also poured beers in the Old O and the Cruise Inn before taking a job in a bar with a racier name and decorations…..

Di - an experienced bartender with stories to tell...

Di – an experienced bartender with stories to tell…

 

The presence of an impressive piano on the stage, is explained by the second owner of the Mermaid, who was a classically trained pianist and would not play in public.

Di said that he would come into the bar and practice each morning. There are numerous interesting 33 LP covers hung on the wall in the entertainment area, including artists such as Van Cliburn and Tennessee Ernie Ford, which reflect the owner’s avocation.

Van Cliburn and others....

Van Cliburn and others….

Let's see...do I want Hemingway, Steinbeck or Danielle Steele?

Let’s see…do I want Hemingway, Steinbeck or Danielle Steele?

Although there are no legal forms, if you want to drink your beer while reading, you can sit in a nice over-stuffed chair and borrow a book from the Mermaid’s library.

And like any good coastal dive bar, there are a lot of tacky beach-related knick knacks – such as an ivory sea horse, a scary gargoyle and the descriptive sign on the ladies bathroom.

This mermaid does, in fact, look naughty...

This mermaid does, in fact, look naughty…

 

2014-08-23 17.22.43

A possible museum piece?

A possible museum piece?

 

 

 

 

 

 

One of the regulars at the Naughty Mermaid...

One of the regulars at the Naughty Mermaid…

 

————

And finally, in Taft – the very southern part of Lincoln City – right near Mo’s Seafood, is the Snug Harbor Bar and Grill, an historic bar which Matt Love describes in his Letitpour.net blog:

“….exquisitely upholstered red vinyl bar and the thick elevated round tables that have coiled rope around the base….(with a layout) refreshingly atypical for the coast drinking scene: rectangular, narrow, then a step down to a triangular annex where the pool tables and library are (a library appears to be a standard amenity in Lincoln City bars…..)”

A Taft landmark

A Taft landmark

Snug Harbor also has an impressive deck on the second floor which would be a great place to relax over a beer on one of the few balmy days at the Oregon coast.             P1020691

Maybe this was Paul Newman's machine....

Maybe this was Paul Newman’s machine….

There are some great decorations including a gigantic chain saw and some posters including the one below that describes the Redhead Round-up.

 

 

According to a Taft Historic District blog, “The first annual Redhead Roundup, originated by Taft Resident Manville Robison (a red-head himself), was held on August 23, 1931 and lasted into the 1940s. The beauty pageant culminated each year in the crowning of a Redhead Queen and King Eric the Red.  Decked out with banners and posters.

Where is Lindsay Lohan, when she could be useful?

Where is Lindsay Lohan, when she could be useful?

Taft was a festive scene, its hotels and rental cottages full, its streets lined with cars and busloads of people from near and far.”

Evidently, there was an effort to revive this tradition in 2011, based on the following appeal: “Redheads unite during the 2011 Redhead Round-Up and Photo Contest! Send in your best redhead picture in one of our fantastic ginger loving divisions including: curliest red hair, most freckled redhead, redheaded pet and more!”

http://www.waymarking.com/waymarks/WMCX6A_Taft_Historic_District_Lincoln_City_OR

Thebeerchaser will "regress" to gin martinis when steak is on the menu

Thebeerchaser will “regress” to gin martinis when steak is on the menu

 

A "Goodwill" gesture...

A “Goodwill” gesture…

As we returned to our shelter for the last night, we realized that we had no grill, but a strong desire for red meat – like in steak!

We reveled in our in resourcefulness after we rigged up the contraption below with a grate – purchased at the local Good Will store for $4.50 –  and some coastal rocks for a platform.  The end result is shown in the photos.

P1020708So what were the highlights of the coast trip and were there any trends we could identify from the 13 establishments we visited in the 3.5 days.

  1. 1.  Great bartenders
  2. 2.   Old and idiosyncratic buildings with hallways and side rooms that add to the character.
  3. Great stories from the regulars reinforced by the memorabilia “decorating” the bars.
  4. 3.  Steve’s affection for old-school beer – “Beer that you can see through….”        

    Translucent beer??

    Translucent beer??

 

4.  Steak and Tide Pool Bar pizza

5.  Dave’s erudition, reflecting his career as an educator, “Remember guys – ‘i’ before ‘e’ except after ‘c’ – and  Budwieser.”

And although it was not a highlight, one ubiquitous presence  –  video poker and slots as a revenue generator. We saw this first-hand at Lumpy’s, the Mad Dog and Hoovers when patrons with morbid intensity, each tossed away big bucks in record time.

This fact has had a negative impact on the bar environment as passionately stated by Matt Love.   While I wouldn’t go as far as Matt in his final blog post.  He asserts that the lottery has led to the death of bars.  While we may not accept that premise in its entirety, we did see that it has led to a degradation of their character:

 

The video poker sign above the name may be one reason this venue is now mediocre and lacks character

A death knell??

I love these taverns, so much in fact, that six years ago I began writing about the ones on the Oregon Coast where I live.…(in his excellent blog Letitpour.net)  After all this exploration, doubtless I am an expert on Oregon taverns. Thus, it is with sadness that I declare the unique cultural institution of the independent Oregon tavern is dead.

The state of Oregon seriously wounded it with video poker, and more recently with the introduction of line games, (slots) killed it altogether.….In 1991 when the Oregon Legislature directed the Oregon Lottery to allow video poker in taverns and bars…..it was a frenzy.

Then in 2005, line games were introduced into Oregon’s taverns and bars…..Sure, the pool and darts continue, but these taverns are not the same, and I know because I drank beer in them before they were enlisted by the state to raise revenue from the pockets of vulnerable, occasionally inebriated people.   What is especially sad is to have witnessed how video poker slowly transformed taverns from gritty bastions of independence into de facto tax collectors for the state….Rest in peace Oregon tavern.”

Notwithstanding the video poker issue, the three of us were so enamored with the coastal bars – they reinforced the enjoyment of our tour last summer of Eastern Oregon watering holes – that we ended by dreaming of a road trip next summer.

Perhaps it will be Montana or better yet, Wyoming, where Steve and his wife, Babs, taught school for many years in Thermopolis, (“A past to behold and a future to uphold.”) and can attest to the culture – one consistent with Beerchasing.  For example, at the Safari Lounge or Shirley’s Bar – Steve’s favorite bars – and the latter, one of the few watering holes I know with a drive-in window for customers on the run.

Beckoning.....!

Beckoning…..!

These may have been replaced by Loonie’s Bin and the Flying Dutchman on Highway 20, which “…is the place to do it. The drinks are strong, the atmosphere laid back and welcoming,”  but some interesting bars need exploration.

And if we don’t find the right bar in Thermopolis, we can take a short hop to East Thermoplis and find a viable alternative.

That said, with its range of options, Thermopolis should maintain our interest with attractions  –  such as the Wyoming Dinosaur Center, a blue-ribbon trout stream (the Big Horn River), the breathtaking Wind River Canyon, world-class waterfowl and big game hunting.”

We’ll report to you next summer.

Thebeerchaser Does the Central Oregon Coast – Part II – Lincoln City and Pacific City

2011-05-08 08.57.16Having hit Lumpy’s Landing in Dundee that late August afternoon, we cruised to Lincoln City for a brewski at the wonderful Old Oregon Saloon (see previous post), the three Beerchasers (Dave, Don and Steve) then drove a few miles down Highway 101 to the Rusty Truck Brewery in what used to be the City of Taft. The brewery is ensconced in a nice pub called Road House 101 for obvious reasons.

Road House 101

Road House 101

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They brew a number of good beers – although no Pilsners – and we each tried a different one of their ten brews – Moonlight Ride Blackberry Ale, Fender Bender Amber Ale and the Rusty Truck Beach Blond Ale.   Since each was very good, in retrospect, perhaps we should have gone with the sampler and added three more for only $8.

Road House 101 with __ Rusty Truck beers on tap

Road House 101 with – 16Rusty Truck beers brewed here

Support for a good cause

Support for a good cause

 

 

 

 

 

One is struck by the scads of dollar bills on the ceiling through the entire place. Our bartender told us that Brian Whitehead, the owner, since 2005, has supported theTaft High School Booster Club programs with $300 to $500 per year with this upward bound currency.

We ate some delicious onion rings, burgers and fish and chips and ended our first day.

P1020602The next morning, we headed out early, driving North to Pacific City to the Pelican Pub and Brewery.

You can see by the picture below that this August morning was foggy – even the surfers would not venture into the Pacific.  Dave, having taught some high school English Literature before becoming a principal, quoted Kipling: “A thin grey fog hung over the city, and the streets were very cold; for summer was in England.”   

The smell of the salty ocean air mixed with malt, barley and hops from the brewery reminded Steve of the aroma of the county fair in Elbert County, Georgia (home of the Blue Devils) on the Atlantic coast even though he had never been there.

It was so foggy that -----

It was so foggy that —–

Public Domain - Wikimedia Commonshttp://commons.wikmedia.org/wiki/File:Elbert_County_Georgia_Courthouse) Calvin Beale photographer

The Elbert County Courthouse in Georgia

—-

———

We had adopted a general rule that we would not drink beer before 11:00 A.M.   At least by then we rationalized, it was 5:00 P.M. at both the Abacos Bar in Amadora, Portugal and at the Naesti Bar in Reykjavik, Iceland.  People were hoisting mugs of beer (or Aquavit) after work. We were supporting them in the same endeavor on the Oregon coast…..”Skal!”

Heres to the brothers in Iceland and Portugal

Heres to the brothers in Iceland and Portugal

But sitting at the bar talking to Rachael, the Assistant Manager, we found out that they had run out of syrup for their Winema Wit Beer.  We decided not to take a chance on other brews, so at 10:50, Steve ordered a Surfer Summer Ale,  Dave, a Tsunami Stout and I toasted them with a MacPelican’s Scottish Ale.  The Pelican Pub also has excellent food and brews six different “core” beers and a number of specialty brews including the award-winning Stormwatcher’s Winterfest.

On the beach in Pacific City
On the beach in Pacific City

Now Pacific City is a small burg with quite a history in the Oregon fishing and timber industries, both of which generated patrons for its watering holes.

With bartender, Matt and Thebeerchaser logo at Pelican Brew Pub
With bartender, Matt and Thebeerchaser logo at Pelican Brew Pub

 

Matt Love – a high school teacher, author and columnist – who now lives in Astoria – for two decades, reviewed coastal bars in his wonderful blog, Letitpour.net.  Although he discontinued the endeavor in the mid 1990’s he reviewed one old Pacific City establishment  – the Tidewater Lounge – overlooking the Nestucca River.

He described this bar – gone and replaced by a bland disappointment now called the Oar House – as follows:

The video poker sign above the name may be one reason this venue is now mediocre and lacks character
The video poker sign above the name may be one reason this venue is now mediocre and lacks character

“Thank you for the tables near the windows that look out to the Nestucca where I can check out the drift boats and incoming tides rushing up from Nestucca Bay. When a big winter storm coincides with a big minus tide, I love to take in these exciting physics lessons with a black beer and a brown shot. Thank you for the loyal clientele that loves to party and can sweep a visitor away in a cheap vodka wake.”   

We had one quick beer at the Oar House and then found a bar that emphatically retains its historical character – The Sportsman Pub and Grub.

The Sportsman - A piece of coast  history...

The Sportsman – A piece of coast history…

We got there about 1:00 in the afternoon and the six tables were filled so we sat at the bar.   We chatted with “June Bug,” our bartender (she got the moniker because “I ‘bugged’ my mom when I was a kid.”)  It could have been worse and her mom could have addressed her as “Phyllophaga.”

And we talked to a woman working on an i-Pad at the bar who told us she had previously been a bouncer in Bozeman, drove semis for a living, has a graduate degree in math at Oregon State and whose drink-of-choice is Pendleton Whiskey. None of this could be verified, but she typified the mix of Sportsman patrons.

——————–

Dave, Steve and a math major....

Dave, Steve and a math major….

No one could capture the essence of the Sportsman better than Matt, who at one time was the “Resident Writer of the Sportsman,” and wrote:

“Located near the only traffic signal in Pacific City, the Sportsman is the sort of American hangout that must make effete Frenchmen shudder: pool, video poker, darts, ESPN, ESPN 2, an ATM machine, cheap Midwest lagers, cheaper Pacific Northwest lagers,…..expensive micro-brews, and hearty, delicious menu items, including some rugged pizzas that undoubtedly fuel bodies for launching the local dory fleet or clear-cutting the nearby hills…….   

The bar at the Sportsman

The bar at the Sportsman

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Once I heard a loud banging on the front door, as if someone struggled to gain entrance. What?  Immediately several burly guys jumped up, went outside, pulled a man from a wheelchair, and deposited him in a booth. With his buddies, the man proceeded to pound several pitchers of beer in 30 minutes.  His buddies then picked him up, took him outside, seposited him in the wheelchair, and he rolled on down the road in total darkness as it rained sideways—with a can of beer in his lap.”

And Matt didn’t even mention the model bi-plane – made out of Coors Light cans which rivaled the real items in the Evergreen Aviation and Space Museum in McMinnville that we visited on the way to the coast.

A model bi-plane made out of Coors Light can adds to the environment
A model bi-plane made out of Coors Light can adds to the environment

 Matt’s review of the Sportsman concludes:

“So the story goes, a veteran patron requested that upon his death, he wanted his wake held in the tavern. Well, the old timer dies, he was cremated, and of course the management obliged him. 

 

So his drinking buddies crowded in the men’s bathroom, hoisted their pints for a second…and flushed his ashes down the toilet.  Top that drug testing, antiseptic, bottom line, unfunky, God fearing, screaming baby, corporate brewpubs!”     

Sportsman Philosophy
Sportsman Philosophy

 

 

We headed back to Lincoln City for our final bar visit that day – The Cruise Inn – a Lincoln City dive bar.  But that was after a stop at the Lincoln City Cold Stone and our mid-afternoon dessert.

Complements the beer...

Complements the beer…

Thebeerchaser Does the Central Oregon Coast – Part I

2012-07-10 20.55.21Last year, Thebeerchaser, joined by friends Dave Booher and Steve Larson, toured Eastern Oregon for four days visiting bars, taverns and pubs from Madras and Prineville to Baker City, LaGrande to Burns – our favorite on the trip was the Central Pastime Tavern in Burns. (the link is to the review in   2013)

The Central Pastime in 2013

2013 – The Central Pastime in Burns

Although Thebeerchaser Tour of Portland Bars, Taverns and Pubs was originally confined to just the City of Roses, it has evolved — there have been posts on venues in Alaska, Europe and Eastern Oregon.  We decided to tour the Central Oregon Coast (Pacific City to Newport) where we visited thirteen wonderful watering holes in 3.5 days.

Note:   To digress slightly, I am pleased to report that Thebeerchaser Blog on September 19th surpassed 35,000 views since its inception in August 2011.  Views in the last several months have averaged 1,500 and twice exceeded 2,000 and those interested in bars visit this site from countries all over the world.

For example, stats for the last two days show visitors from ten countries outside of the US including Brazil, the Russian Federation, New Zealand, Columbia, the United Kingdom, Sweden, Lebanon, etc.  Perhaps future Beerchaser visits will hit watering holes in all of those countries!  These are not spam, but people doing Google searches about bars, Bad Frog BeerBeerchaser-of-the-Quarter such as author Brian Doyle, Mayor of the Dalles, Steve Lawrence and appellate lawyer, Jack Faust, etc.

Revisiting the venue where Thebeerchaser idea originated

Revisiting the venue where Thebeerchaser idea originated

On the way to the coast, we stopped for lunch and a brewski at  Lumpy’s Landing in Dundee – the bar that spurred the idea for Thebeerchaser Tour four years ago when I decided to have nachos and a PBR with the locals. 

I left pondering the premise — each bar has its own ambiance, history and regulars that deserve narration.  Lumpy’s – known for its clever signs (see below), its burgers, live weekend music and colorful locals as evidenced by the dialogue we heard from two of them while we drank our $2.50 PBR Tall-boys and chowed down delicious burgers and hot dogs (they ran out of sauerkraut..).  

Lumpy's Philosophy

Lumpy’s Philosophy

Local No. 1: “I’m really dragging today – just worn out.”

Local No. 2 – “You can’t stay here all day – you need some exercise.  You need to get up and go to another bar.”

An engineering marvel - The Spruce Goose

An engineering marvel – The Spruce Goose

                

———-

 

We added another stop on the way to Lincoln City – the  Evergreen Aviation and Space Museum in McMinnville – and if you have never visited that incredible display of aviation history – you should do so before the bankruptcy of Evergreen International Inc. results in changes.  

P1020565

Which one is Tom Cruise???

Oh wait - that's the Spirit of St. Louis made of Coors Light cans in the Sportsman Pub in Pacific City - not the Evergreen Museum.

Oh wait – that’s the Spirit of St. Louis made of Coors Light cans in the Sportsman Pub in Pacific City – not the Evergreen Museum.

 

Our three hours there were magnificent, including an iMax screening of a D-Day movie.  Hundreds of planes from early gliders to a B-17 Flying Fortress, to jets, to a Titan II booster rocket  and historical exhibits which will enthrall you.

The Old O

The Old O

We hit Lincoln City in the early evening and our first visit was right in Lincoln City on Highway 101 – the Old Oregon Tavern.  Now before we start relating our adventures in this pub, Thebeerchaser needs to give credit to a comrade-in-arms, of sorts.

That would be Matt Love, a former Lincoln City teacher, who for a number of years had a wonderful blog about bars on the Oregon coast – a Beerchaser-on-the-Shore.  He now lives in Astoria and discontinued his blog in 2004, but has written several books.  You should check out “Let it Pour” with the link since a number of venues are still active and he has great reviews.

The Old Oregon - Let the Good Times Roll

The Old Oregon – Let the Good Times Roll

I came across his blog when researching our trip and his descriptions of many of the places we hit are wonderful and compelling.   For example, this excerpt from his post on The Old Oregon Tavern:

“(It’s) a damn fine gritty place to drink beer – a lot of beer….The regulars call it The Old O and after spending time there over the years, I feel it is not too outrageous to suggest the nickname stands not only for The Old Oregon Tavern in Lincoln City — which it does — but really some of the patrons’ last long ago orgasm.  Maybe the Johnson Administration.

 

Well maybe Carter or Reagan....but not Johnson..!

Well maybe Carter or Reagan….but not Johnson..!

 

The interior of the Old O reflects the taste of the owners and its rich history as a tavern.  According to one patron who smoked cigarettes (Matt wrote this before the 2009 law banning smoking) and drank beer while attached to a portable oxygen tank, the joint dates to World War II, but maybe earlier.”

Nancy, the bartender who has worked there for two years, told us that they had thirteen beers on tap.  She also said the building was once Johnson’s Ice Cream Parlor.  It has regulars playing pool, all of the great signs and mementoes that make a great old bar including some old peace signs – also from the Johnson era – and if you visit, make it on Tye Dye Tuesday.   P1020578

Not to be taken literally....

Not to be taken literally….

And we noticed the planned wake for one of the regulars, Rod Dollar, who Nancy said had died suddenly of a heart attack.  The sign beckoned his friends to “Come in and have a drink on Ron,” which we assumed was not to be taken literally since he had been buried the week before.

 

——————-

 We met our first regular when a burly old guy with a white beard limped in and sat in the back.  Nancy told us he was “Irish Mike McKenna,” and he was the “Local Ambassador,” for the Old O.

Irish Mike ordered a beer and just sat back and observed.  I was wandering around and taking a bunch of pictures after we ordered our Rusty Truck IPA (very good – see below).

P1020579

 

I looked back and Irish Mike was motioning for me to come see him which made me very nervous since I thought he was going to either yell at me or kick me out for taking pictures

however

As I headed back, he took a few bucks out of his wallet and handed me $2 when I got to him.  He smiled and said, “It’s your turn to pick the song on the juke-box — Don’t screw it up!” 

Irish Mike and Thebeerchaser at the Old O

Irish Mike and Thebeerchaser at the Old O

Now a number of the bars we would visit in the next few days would have music collections that made one cringe.  

As one crime novelist wrote, You could chose between bad songs and terrible songs on the jukebox – a breathtaking array of pop hits, from the seventies, such as ‘Muskrat Love,’ that burrowed into you like a tick…”  And selecting a Captain and Tenille song at the Old O might have caused a ruckus.

But the Old O’s music locker rocked…..My first pick was Tom Petty’sAmerican Girl,” followed by the Eagles, “Take it Easy.”  Irish Mike seemed to approve (which pleased me a lot) and we left The Old O and its appropriate motto – “Where friends and family meet,” and headed south on 101.   

Where Friends and Family Meet.

Where Friends and Family Meet.

Tune in to Part II of the coastal journey as we hit Road House 101 – also in Lincoln City and home to the Rusty Truck Brewery which makes some good beers and a pub that has some great grub.

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Lumpy’s Landing                       975 N Highway 99W  Dundee

The Old Oregon Saloon                 1604 NE Highway 101   Lincoln City