Beerchaser Miscellany V

“They Stopped Drinking There Today….”

Down and Out.....

Joe’s Cellar   —  Down and Out…..

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!!

"Whose Gonna Fill Their Shoes?"

“Whose Gonna Fill Their (His) Shoes?”

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

A Gorilla (?)  and Scholar......
A Gorilla (?) and Scholar……

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.

A Shrine to Ruggers??

A Shrine to Ruggers??

The Glory Days...

The Glory Days…The 14th Annual Blitz Weinhard Rugby Tournament in 1976

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.

One of the best mementos is a letter to Jakes written by Steven G. Hayford on April 29, 1982.  He took umbrage with his experience in the bar where:                                                     Haywood Letter

“….. 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:

Surely you Jest....

Surely you Jest….

“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.

From the Rugger Archives..

From the Rugger Archives..

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”

A Masterpiece by Dr. Harry Frankfurt
A Masterpiece by Dr. Harry Frankfurt

 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.”

Author and Philosphy Professor is January Beerchaser of the Month

Dr. Frankfurt  — This is the Professor to whom you want to listen and with whom you want to drink a beer.

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…..                            

Naomi affirms legacy of great servers...

Beerchasers of the past at Gold Dust Meridian on Hawthorne

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.

Go Beavs 00002

A Hobby Cultivated at The University

Belmont Inn – Check That Name….

The Belmont Inn on Belmont Street!!

The Belmont Inn on Belmont Street!!

Draft Magazine recently named Belmont Station as one of the top 100 beer bars in America. While Thebeerchaser prides himself on his due diligence in scoping out and then visiting bars, this one got by him. Perhaps the slip up in confusing The Belmont Inn (sometimes the moniker Belmont’s Inn is also used) with the similarly named venue is understandable, however, because Belmont Station is actually on Stark Street.  Although the Belmont Inn is not in the top 100 bars, we still had good beer, reasonable food and another “shot” at Big Buck Hunter.

Poet and essayist, Walt Whitman said, “I have learned that to be with those I like is enough,”  and the companions on a Beerchaser visit can definitely affect the experience.  I was therefore fortunate to have David Dickson and Adam Davis join me in hoisting a mug.  Dickson has been featured in previous reviews including The Muddy Rudder Public House and Davis Street Tavern and can be considered a Beer Tour regular.

Adam Davis and David Dickson

David Dickson (l) and Adam Davis

Davis is one of the founders of the NW’s premier polling and public opinion firm DHM (Davis Hibbitts and Midghall, Inc.).   Adam’s erudition and audacity are notable and starting out with a Vodka Tonic with a touch of Peach Schnapps was indicative of his eagerness to go off the beaten path.

After finishing his freshman year at Grant High School, Adam moved to Estacada (home of The Rangers) where he served as student body president. He worked on the “Go-19” Campaign to lower the voting age and was one of the founders of the first high school chapter of OSPIRG.  Some suggest his political instincts were shaped in downtown Estacada at The Legendary Safari Club which in those days was not strict in checking OLCC cards.

One of the Distinguishing Features of the Safari Club was its "Menagerie..."
One of the Distinguishing Features of the Safari Club was its “Menagerie…”
The Original Safari Club in Downtown Estacada

The Original Safari Club in Downtown Estacada

After attending Willamette University for one year he transferred to Portland State, where he graduated.  While at PSU, he also served as then State Representative and now Congressman, Earl Blumenauer’s first administrative assistant.

Some suggest Thebeerchaser was a victim of the curse, “May your life be filled with lawyers,” and Adam reinforced that plague since he graduated from U of O Law School and then practiced for a year before starting his opinion polling work.  His current work involves a lot of interesting stuff and he needs to use a power point presentation to explain what he actually does for a living.

Service by Brett

Service by Brett

Willamette Week in its 2007 Drinkers’ Guide – A Sinful Guide to Portland’s Best Bars” described Belmont’s Inn: “There’s plenty of beer, the crowd is diverse and finding a seat is rarely a problem.”

There are very few other reviews of this bar and it can be described as a nice, but not distinctive, neighborhood tavern with a bunch of beer options (23 on tap in addition to PBR and Bud) and good, reasonably priced food.

David Dickson, being a Stanford grad and having spent most of his career in management at academic institutions, made an effort to impress Adam in our political discussion with the assertion, “In democracy, it’s your vote that counts while in feudalism, it’s your count that votes…..”  He started with a Double Mt Indian Red Ale from Hood River while I drank an excellent Spire Mountain Dark N Dry Cider (it was…) from Olympia. We collectively followed up with Portland’s Breakside Brewing Pilsner

The Bar at the Belmont Inn

The Bar at the Belmont Inn

————–

After appetizers, we all had good meals choosing from their excellent selection of 1/2 pound burgers.  They also have a robust selection of salads and sandwiches.

Since they don’t have a working web page, it’s a challenge to determine when the Happy Hour occurs, but it appears it’s from about 11:30 to 7:00 each weekday and more confined on weekends. They are open 365 days each year.              Pool Bel

There are three pool tables, five video poker terminals and five or more traditional pin-ball machines in addition to the ubiquitous Big Buck Hunter.

The "Old Style" Pinball Games

The “Old Style” Pinball Games

——————

David, in his quest to become the world’s best fake marksman, gravitated towards this electronic big-game hunt, while Adam spewed memories of the “real” prey at the Safari Club in Estacada

"If only I had spent more time shooting and less time studying in Palo Alto...."

“If only I had spent more time shooting and less time studying in Palo Alto….”

Some of the reviews suggested the service was less than stellar, but we found Brett and Angie were friendly, helpful and efficient.  Although the Belmont Inn may not make not ever be considered one of the nation’s top bars, it has a diverse group of regulars, friendly staff and a memorable selection of beer.  And according to Adam, it is one of a limited number of establishments where one can get a good Peach Schnapps.

———————-

The Belmont Inn                        3357 SE Belmont

Bartender Brett and David Dickson with Thebeerchaser logo

Bartender Brett and David Dickson with Thebeerchaser logo