Beerchaser Miscellany – Lockdown Version I

Image created by and courtesy of Pam Williams

(Welcome back to Thebeerchaser.  If you are seeing this through an e-mail, please visit the blog to see all of the photos and read the story by clicking on the title above so the post is not clipped.)

Since my exploits to new bars and breweries are essentially locked-down temporarily, the next several posts will be entitled “Beerchaser Miscellany” – tidbits I wanted to share – some related to beers and bars and others which, in my opinion, deserve to be told.

We salute the medical providers during this crisis.

The pandemic causes us to reassess priorities, relationships and future goals.   We are all adapting to new restrictions, routines, ruminations, regimens (dietary) and responsibilities – to do our part to stay safe, to help others who are struggling and to use the time we have as productively as possible.

Having two daughters who are nurses, I salute all the healthcare providers and pray for their safety.  Also for parents struggling to balance work and childcare and business owners who face financial jeopardy.  (And speaking of healthcare providers, see the end of this post for a narrative and pictures of one Oregon physician who left a lasting legacy.)

But I’ve been trying to move forward by reading – new material rather than my standard escapist trash fiction, exercise daily, reach out to friends and former colleagues to check on them, expand the scope of movies and documentaries I watch (will still not watch soccer…..), listen to new music genres and even do jigsaw puzzles – we did four 500- piece and then tried a 1,000 piece enigma –  named “The Pottery Shed.”  (Going through old files has also been productive – see below.)

Pontificating on Puzzles

The Potting Shed – Agony or Ecstasy?

I checked on Google to see how long, on average, to complete a 1,000 piece puzzle and the first cite stated 3 to 4 hours which is absurd in my opinion. After reading another post by the Puzzle Warehouse that opined 10 to 24 hours, it made our collective approx. 40 hours over two weeks seem more reasonable and I reflected:

1. After agonizing over the features of a bunch of flowers which predominated, I am comfortable with my intent never to have gardening as a hobby.

2. If one assumes an average reading speed of 70 pages per hour, I could have, for the same investment of time, read each of the books in the photo below which are still unread on the shelves of my home library.

A Must Read!

(“On Bullshit,” is not unread and worth reading again and again – 27 weeks on the New York Times Best Seller List in 2005! And if you want more of a justification of that last assertion, check out this former Beerchaser post)

https://thebeerchaser.com/2020/03/12/bs-revisited-if-only-i-had-known-in-2012/

3. After spending several hours and telling me “I’m done!”, Janet was eventually lured back and we finished it together – time we spent together which would not have been the case if we had read separate books.

2,860 pages of great reading….

Bar and Brewery News

Fly Boy’s Artistic Logos (And the Pilot’s Peach is a great beer….)

Fly Boy Brewing and Cascade Brewing – I was pleased, but not surprised because of his entrepreneurial spirit, when Mark Becker joined three partners to buy Cascade Brewing, known throughout the Northwest for its sour beers.

Mark, who began brewing in his parents’ house while still in high school, founded FlyBoy with his wife, Kristi, in 2014 and it was featured in Thebeerchaser in 2017:   https://thebeerchaser.com/2017/05/25/navigate-a-course-to-flyboy-brewing/       

Mark Becker – followed his high school passion and took risks

FlyBoy is one of my favorite breweries in the Portland area and Mark is an engaging guy.  Although I had been to the Cascade Barrel House, in 2017, I was not as enamored with its ambiance and sour ale – although I’m in the minority on the beer. I’m looking forward to returning to see what the new owners concoct.

 As  reported  in  BrewPublic  (April  2, 2020)

“(Cascade founder Art Larrance) helped pass Oregon’s Brewpub Law, paving the way for scores of pubs since. He founded Cascade Brewing in 1998, and in 2006, worked with his brewmaster, Ron Gansberg, on an aging and blending program that would lead to countless awards and an entirely new style of beer known as the Northwest Sour Ale.”

Flat Tail Brewing in Corvallis – As I reported in my last post, I was sorry to hear that the cherished Corvallis Flat Tail Brewery appears to have permanently closed – not because of Covid 19 – but because of a dispute with their landlord over their lease as chronicled in a BrewPublic.com post on June 15th entitled “Flat Tail Brewing Closes its Doors in Downtown Corvallis.”

Rooting for its return in a new location

It showed its mettle when it took on Bend’s 10 Barrel Brewing on use of Flat Tail’s slogan “Dam Good Beer.”

“(Dave) Marliave was dismayed when he learned that 10 Barrel Brewing Co. — a Bend brewer now owned by Anheuser-Busch InBev, the largest brewing company in the world and the maker of Budweiser and Bud Light — had taken the slogan for itself.   A semi-trailer from 10 Barrel with the phrase even drove right past the downtown Corvallis brewery earlier this week, Marliave said.”

“Dam” pleased with their slogan…..

We certainly hope the ten-year old brewery with the slogan “Dam Good Beer,” finds a new location and reopens in the near future.

Renner’s Bar and Grill – This historic dive bar in Multnomah Village – opened in 1939 – which closed after a disastrous fire in April 2018, just reopened in June as reported in Portland Food and Drink.com   

Just around the corner from another one of my favorite bars – The Ship Tavern, I reviewed Renner’s in 2017 and unlike the stereotypical dive bar, it has great food.

Re-opened. Go check out the food!

As stated by co-owner, Josh “Uncle Stumpy,”“My goal is to maintain the dive bar experience, but offer superior food from scratch and a neighborhood bar charm.”

And the food is inexpensive and delicious with a surprisingly varied menu.  And, of course, a short walk to The Ship, which made my list of Best Dive Bars in Portland in 2019 is also a must for a nightcap.

One of Portland’s Best – especially if you go on a Sunday during a Packers’ Game

The Standard – This classic made the list as my top dive in the 2019 post for a reason best stated by Mathew Korfhage, former Willamette Week columnist, when he stated:

“The bar is cheap, no-nonsense fun in a way that takes all comers and yet is loving towards its long-time regulars.  These days in Portland that makes The Standard not very standard at all.  It makes it a GD treasure.”

Gone but not Forgotten

Fortunately, The Standard reopened on June 19th.  Unfortunately, it’s trademark Happy Hour and all-day Wednesday $1 Hamm’s Drafts are gone but not forgotten – thanks to their insurance company and its lawyers.

WWeek told the story in a July 2019 article, “A Beloved East Portland Dive Bar is Being Forced to End One of the City’s Cheapest Beer Deals.”

Owner Reed Lamb said, “After over 11 years with no claims, zero OLCC violations, & a spotless payment history, they chose not to do business with us anymore.”   Hamms’ Drafts are now $2, but they could be twice that and The Standard would still be a must.

And Speaking of Lawyers

Although not an attorney, I worked with lawyers for over forty years in three different organizations and loved Legal Management and the lawyer personality. The Schwabe Williamson & Wyatt firm from which I retired in 2011, after twenty-five years, was a wonderful firm with lawyers who were skilled advocates and with great character. (Okay, there were some exceptions, but very few…  You’ll have to wait for my book to see the specifics….)

I was therefore surprised when the Oregon Supreme Court in a 4 to 3 vote, approved waiving the bar exam – not just temporarily, but permanently, for any 2020 law grad in the State of Oregon.   The Washington “Supremes” took the same action for grads to the North – a benefit that the State of Wisconsin has long offered their grads.  Law School Deans lobbied for this course of action which was opposed by the State Bar.

I have not talked to any of my friends, but it would not surprise me if many practicing lawyers – who went through the long and arduous prep and grueling two-day exam (with an average pass-rate of 75%) have the same opinion as a July 1 Oregonian editorial entitled, “No bar exam – no problem – except for the public.”

And Files to Go Before I Sleep

Since a good part of my career involved communication – most notably with lawyers who were trained in the nuances of the language and relish analyzing and attacking, others’ oral and written discourse, I saved many e-mails, memos and articles from my 40+ years working with attorneys.

For future social science classes??

Also pictures and memories from college days, civic work, grad school papers, newspaper articles on travel and entire newspaper editions on significant events such as the Fall of the Berlin Wall in 1989, the attack on the World Trade Center in 2001, the OJ Simpson Trial in 1995 and the Impeachment Trial of Bill Clinton in 1999.

I also saved a number of Newsweek Magazines from events of similar magnitude.

From the garage archives….

And at a charity auction, I even paid a relatively handsome amount for the January 1, 2000 Editions of seven notable US Newspapers – the New York Times, the Chicago Tribune, the Washington Post, the San Francisco Chronicle, the Dallas Morning News, the Boston Globe and the Miami Herald.

I can’t remember if I told her how much I paid, but it did have a Certificate of Authenticity!

My wife, Janet, insisted with good reason during the lock-down, that I start going through and recycling at least 50% of the eleven file-cabinet drawers and multiple boxes I have filled with this (junk?)  She even helped me and one day when I was in doubt, she said, “Don, we are not going to use an 1998 article about a brewery in Des Moines for a future road trip.”

Just part of the “collection” in the garage…

And when I asserted that our grand kids could use the historic newspapers in their future social science classes, she just rolled her eyes and laughed.  (And the Kodak carousel trays with slides from my Mt. Hood climbs and Scout backpacks had to go since I had not looked at them in over fifty years.)

Janet wouldn’t let these slide…..

 

So with some diligence, I began attacking this mass (mess?) so our kids would not have to in the future……  Some of the job-related material I’ll save for the aforementioned book, but even the bulk that I recycled gave me a good chuckle that was welcome during a pandemic.   One of my favorite examples is below and I’ll save some others for the next post.

An Oregon Medical Icon – Dr. Cameron Bangs

Cam Bangs, who passed away in 2015 at the age of 78, was a unique individual and physician who practiced for thirty years in Oregon City.  I had the privilege of having him a my primary-care physician for a number of years.

I loved Dr. Bangs and one of my most prized letters was from my home medical records file following a physical exam in 1990 when I was 42.   But, first, a few words about Dr. Bangs.

Mountain Man and Medical Expert

In his younger days, he had the appearance of a Mountain Man – a big red beard and long untamed hair, and he usually wore wilderness duds.  That’s because he essentially was a Mountain Man – climbing major peaks all over the world and developing the expertise to become one of the worlds’ expert in mountain medicine and hypothermia.

Not Dr. Bangs but a similar experiment

In fact, I remember one time that I saw him, he had just participated in a hypothermia research project in which he immersed himself (I think with a companion researcher) in a tank of freezing water so his bodily responses could be monitored.

Southcoast Today 10/31/2015“……with a renowned expertise in mountain medicine, cold weather injuries and treatment, and mountain rescue. He participated in more than 50 rescues of climbers and skiers on Mt. Hood, in Oregon, and set up the local hospital’s frostbite and hypothermia treatment facility.

In the 1970s, he was given national recognition for his work in mountain medicine and was awarded Oregon Doctor of the Year.”

Photo by Don Williams on backpacking trip

Dr. Bangs was generous with his time – helping others and also a non-conformist, of sorts, who railed against the establishment and ostentation as evidenced by this article from People Magazine in 1977:

“The 40-year-old internist is a member of Oregon’s mountain rescue service. Usually working as part of an Army National Guard helicopter squad (nicknamed the “Flying St. Bernards”), he has helped save an estimated 75 lives in 55 rescues over the past nine years, and has treated hundreds of cases in hospitals for climbing injuries and exposure…..‘I deplore the kind of thing where a doctor joins this or that because he might pick up a few referrals. And frankly, many of my colleagues bore the hell out of me.’” (emphasis supplied)

And any Baby Boomer Oregon resident will remember the 1970 rock festival held near Estacada – Vortex 1: A Biodegradable Festival of Life at an Oregon State Park that hosted between 30,000 to 100,000 protesters – against Richard Nixon who was scheduled to appear at an American Legion Conference to be held in Portland.

Based on the courageous decision of then Governor Tom McCall’s – a Republican who showed remarkable foresight and integrity throughout his term – it remains the only state-sponsored rock festival in United States History.”  (Wikipedia)

And Cameron Bangs was the supervising doctor for all medical care at Vortex 1 as written in the Clackamas Review by his friend, Matt Love, to whom Dr. Bangs gave his “entire 20,000 word-in-the-moment diary of Vortex” for a book this prolific author wrote  entitled “The  Far Out Story of Vortex  1″                                       

Not your average Doc. In younger days at Vortex. (Courtesy of Matt Love)

“Dr. Bangs joined me at several events to promote the book and charmed audiences with his candid and humorous memories from the festival, particularly his assertion that he had set a world record for treating the most sunburned breasts and penises in a single time period…..

A lot more people should know what Dr. Bangs and many other Oregonians did at McIver Park 45 years ago. It was so much more than just a big party to avert potential violence. And Cameron Bangs was so much more than just a doctor.”

A State-sponsored Rock Festival!

He also served on the Portland Trailblazers’ medical staff during the ’70’s and had a 45-acre farm outside Oregon City where he raised a variety of farm animals.  His herd of cows started when he took a pregnant cow as payment for a medical bill.  https://www.oregonlive.com/portland/2015/09/cameron_bangs_hypothermia_and.html

So what story do I have that can contribute to the engaging accounts above.  Well, in 1990, I was having a lot of intense migraine headaches.  My wife and I both had demanding jobs and were the parents of two fantastic young girls in grade school.

Migraines and out of shape….

I got little exercise and hadn’t had a physical exam in awhile, so I made an appointment with Dr. Bangs, knowing this visit would be a lot more pleasant than our previous appointment.

It should make any person who complains about the current prep process for a colonoscopy think of one word and thus be thankful for progress in medical technology i.e. “sigmoidoscopy” but that’s another story……

Not Thebeerchaser – I was only 42 at the time!!

He decided I should have an electrocardiogram – a treadmill test – after the rest of the exam and lab tests.   (Keep in mind that I was 48 years old.)

Afterwards we went into his office and he said, “I’ll send you a letter, but I can tell you now how you did on the treadmill.”  Our conversation went like this:

Dr. Bangs:  Your results compare to an average 35-year old male.

Beerchaser:  That’s encouraging news.

Dr. Bangs:  That’s one way to look at it.  Personally, I wouldn’t be satisfied with average anything!

Beerchaser: Dr. Bangs – this advice from a guy who just got back from a trip to Asia where he climbed several peaks over 15,000 feet and ran a marathon before that?

Dr. Bangs:  (Smiles) Get out of here!

So a week later I get a letter – excerpted as shown below. (Note that this was before e-mails, when a mailed letter took a lot more time and effort).

When I saw the P.S. above I started laughing, but the next day joined the 24-Hour Fitness near my office and began a regular exercise regimen (and subsequently lost seven pounds).

Well Beerchasers.  I hope you had a Happy Fourth of July. Stay safe, wear a mask and catch more Beerchaser Miscellany in the coming weeks..

A Monumental Day for America!

YUR’s. Truly!!

“Yur’s is a Dark Dive Perfect for Day Drinking.”
I could end this review right here and that caption above would be enough motivation for many of Thebeerchaser’s followers to put their jobs temporarily on hold and make a weekday junket to this watering hole in Slabtown, but there’s a lot more to the story of this wonderful bar than the caption of this 2018 Willamette Week review .
Last year I did a blog post devoted to my favorite Portland-area dive bars – visited after pursuing this tour of bars, breweries and pubs for seven and one half years.   You can see that post at the link below, but I will at least give you the four dives that made my all-star list:

https://thebeerchaser.com/2019/02/09/thebeerchasers-best-portland-dive-bars/

My favorite was The Standard – you can read the post and see why and lament with me that the only major change is that the renowned “Hamm’s for a Buck” – special on Wednesday is gone but not forgotten.

And while The Standard is still thriving, an alarming number of the great bars and breweries which have disappeared from the scene in the last few years including the legendary Slabtown – which poured its last PBR in 2017 and was right down the street from Yur’s.

(In the Standard’s case, it was their insurance coverage which mandated the change in the Hamm’s special.  And it is probable it was due to an  overly cautious insurance company lawyer – one I would suggest may not have bothered to review the Standard’s history and lack of problems with this arrangement for many years.)

The other three on my list – not in any order are below.  Click on the names to see the full Beerchaser review:

The Ship Tavern (Multnomah Village)        Gil’s Speakeasy

  Mockcrest Tavern

John Mansfield (on the left) with the owner of Church bar in Portland

And it wasn’t The Ship’s memorable exterior, the fact that Gil’s owner asserts that “We’re the nicest assholes in town,” or remembering my visit to the historic Mock Crest with one of my favorite Intellectual Property lawyers (and musicians) John Mansfield.

In each case, as with Yur’s, it’s the overall character of the bar, the people and the side stories.

Now had I visited Yurs’ in Northwest Portland (Slabtown), it would have been added to the list of favorites above.  And while Yur’s has some true dive bar characteristics, it was clean, did not smell of stale beer, has a wide variety of good food and even some interesting and worthy art.

About fifteen of my friends including  former colleagues from the Schwabe Williamson law firm gathered on a late Tuesday afternoon at this bar and our group was not disappointed for a variety of reasons.

Part of the group that afternoon from l to r: Steve Oltman, Mike Mitchell, Skip Greenwood, Jim Westwood, Jack Faust and Jim Larpenteur

These ranged from the cheerful hospitality shown by Bartender Eric Zoeller, to the regulars who populated the bar, to the distinctive art (see below) to the nooks and crannies in the expansive space, the signs, the free popcorn, the old-fashioned pinball machines, the free pool tables, the unique alleyway with street art and the general ambiance that made us unanimously concur with WW’s assertion.

A distinct group of regulars..

The Slabtown area of Portland is a working class neighborhood and the bar in the space Yur’s now occupies has served the cabbies, longshoreman and neighbors in that area for at least sixty years – since 1968 – it was called the 16th Street Tavern before Yur’s.  One characteristic of urban dive bars – they are rarely in strip malls and many such as the outstanding historic dives I wrote about in Pueblo, Colorado are in interesting old buildings which have served other purposes through the years.

Unfortunately, these usually expansive spaces are also prime fodder for developers for condos or commercial purposes which is one reason so many have disappeared. Yur’s is housed in a structure built in 1884 – it was originally was a cellar and stables. (For an interesting side story on the building, see *1 below)

The bar has been owned for about the last twenty-five years by former NFL lineman, Terry Hermeling – an offensive tackle (weighed in at 255 and is 6’5” tall) for the Washington Redskins during the 1970’s after starring at the University of Nevada at Reno).   According to Wikipedia, “He helped the Redskins win the 1972 NFC Championship and (the team) lead the NFC in yards passing in 1975.”   He played under Hall of Fame Coach, George Allen.

Terry Hermeling in his playing days

The Redskins meeting with Pres. Nixon in 1971 after winning the NFC Championship

Although he was undrafted in 1970, Terry Hermeling had an impressive NFL career, playing 120 games – starting in 103 and being listed on the Redskins official website as one of the  “80 Greatest Redskins”

Joe Theismann – 1983 NFL MVP, 2-tme Pro Bowler (1982-3) and Super Bowl XVII Champion

And joining him on the list above are some NFL Hall of Famers such as Sonny Jurgensen (QB), Sam Huff (LB), Charley Taylor (WR) and other guys with notable gridiron fame such as Chris Hanberger (LB), John Riggins (RB), Art Monk (WR) and quarterbacks Sammy Baugh, Mark Rypien and Joe Theismann.

In fact, a guy who has a website called “Hogs Heaven” and evidently travels the country to find Redskin fans wrote in 2014 about plans to meet at Yur’s:

“With that in mind, it is my pleasure to announce that Hogs Haven is traveling to Portland! I happen to know that there is a very solid representation of Redskins fans out there and I am hoping to meet as many of them as I can.”

Terry Hermeling – present day.

Terry’s son, Cody, is now the co-owner and his father trained him in the business aspects of the bar as he grew up.  The elder Hermeling evidently now resides in Palm Springs and Bend.

As an aside, former NFL players going into the bar business in Oregon is not unique to Hermerling. Former Oregon Duck quarterback, Joey Harrington, who was drafted by the Detroit Lions in 2002 and played seven years in the pros tried it.  His partner was Ryan Magarian – the cofounder of Aviation Gin, an internationally known hospitality industry consultant and entrepreneur – in 2016 with his Portland establishment the Pearl Tavern which closed after only three years and is now the Portland brewpub of Backwoods Brewing in Carson, Washington.

Drew Bledsoe -Life after the NFL….

Another former NFL star – Boston Patriot starting quarterback, Drew Bledsoe has owned a successful winery – first in Walla Walla.  The Bledsoe Family Winery expanded into Bend, Oregon where Bledsoe and his wife reside with vineyards and a tasting room in 2019 as reported in the Oregon Wine Press.

(Interestingly enough, there appears to be no explanation on why the Pearl Tavern closed.  Media reviews in 2017 were positive and the Backwoods Brewpub appears to be doing very well in the same location.)

But I digress….Yur’s bartender/assistant kitchen manager is now Eric Zoeller, who was a great and helpful resource in giving me background information and reflects the warm personality of the bar itself.   He is a Kentucky native who moved to Portland from California and has worked there for four and one-half years.

Eric – friendly bar manager

Eric wrote in an e-mail to me:

“What makes us different is that we are more than just a bar to our customers. As one of the last old school bars of old Portland, we provide a haven for those who remember what this neighborhood used top be and those who are just now learning about the area. We have customers who have been coming here for 50 years and those who’ve found out about us.”

We strive to provide a safe place where friends and family gather to meet, where everyone can be themselves. If it’s a holiday, a sporting event or just a normal day, our customers always feel at home here at Yur’s and we feel very much at home in our neighborhood.”

Classic pinball machines

And our group was welcomed by the regulars sitting at the bar who chatted with us and Eric and he tended bar.   Six of us were sitting in one of their big booths drinking beer and chatting and one got up to hit the restroom.   A middle-aged guy promptly and without hesitation sits down in the booth next to me and started looking at the beers on tap.

I didn’t recognize the guy (and I was the one who invited everyone to Beerchase) so I casually stuck out my hand and asked if he was a regular at Yur’s.   He said, “No,” aren’t you guys part of the motorcycle club that meets here?”   (We felt complimented that he would think a bunch of old guys looked like Harley people.)   I told him we weren’t and he got up and when I saw him an hour later, he said that he never found the group, but liked the bar and decided to have a few beers and skip his meeting.

There is a cool room around the corner from the kitchen with couches and a table which houses about twenty people that is used to watch sporting events or just for groups (such as motorcycle clubs….).  They call it the “Front Room” or “The Alcove.”

A Dive Bar with Distinctive Art!!

One of the distinguishing factors at Yur’s was the art work – displayed over the booths which are located along a narrow hall, of sorts, in front of the long bar.   It is distinctive and attractive and I noted the artist’s name and website on one of her paintings. And as I have found with the individuals involved with a lot of watering holes visited, the side stories are fascinating.   And Anna Duvall, is no exception.

Beerchasers Jim Westwood and Alana Finn eat popcorn under Anna Duvall’s art…

I traded a few phone calls with her and eventually had a wonderful and interesting phone chat with this talented Berlin native whose mother is German and who moved with her parents to Maui when she was two. After graduation from high school, she went to the California College of Arts and Crafts.  

A move to Eugene in 2001 gave her the chance to pursue her passion at the U of O and she studied multi-media design, while working part time at a Dairy Queen.   After moving to Portland, she started showing her art while working as a server at Jake’s Grill.

Mo Mo Bar is next to Jakes in downtown Portland (see Thebeerchaser review) and she would sketch while having a brew after work.   In 2006, Thomas McLouglin, the owner, gave her the opportunity to display some of her paintings (they’ve never been taken down) which were then also displayed at the Low Brow Lounge. She also has a mural inside Sizzle Pie on the east side.   Yur’s then provided another venue where she could show her talent.

She was “discovered” by Tony Lawrence – the owner of Boneyard Brewing, who asked her to design a tap handle with his image on it for one of his beers Pabo Pilsner in 2016.   (Her college friend, Dana, who also worked at the Dairy Queen, was working at Boneyard in Bend and when Lawrence had a tap handle designed, she said, “My friend, Anna, could do a much better job than that.)

Lawrence evidently agreed and she has also done designs for Boneyard’s Incredible Pulp and Brewjeria American Lager.   When Boneyard celebrates its tenth anniversary in Bend next year, you will see Anna Duvall’s painting displayed in the Brewpub.

You can find this cheerful and talented artist working as a full-time server  at Jake’s Grill and view her creations at Mo Mo’s, Yur’s or on her Facebook page under “Killallartists” or on her Instagram account (@annadeeznutz).   Yur’s is the first dive bar I know to have an “art curator” but Patrick Zahn, the owner at Steel Door Gallery has been recently tasked with this function according to Anna.

Beerchasers Darien Loisell and Don Russo in the alley – but not smoking….

Anna’s art isn’t the only creative attraction at Yur’s.   If you take the exit by the pinball machines into what is used as a smokers’ lounge, of sorts, you will enter an alleyway that has some distinctive murals along the walls of this narrow passage-way which has to be about at least 100 feet long.

The only similar type of passage I have seen in my travels was adjacent to Renners’ Bar – another classic dive in Multnomah Village which I reviewed in 2017 before the disastrous fire which put it out of operation since – although they are trying to reopen.

Food and Beer

Yur’s transcends the typical dive with a reasonable tap list with the standards – Coors Light and a number of microbrews and two ciders. I loved their creative approach to PBR

The social media reviews emphasize the cheap prices and the stiff drinks – a good combination. I liked this one from an October, 2017 Yelp review:

“Great neighborhood bar with affordable drinks and free popcorn…. I’m still not sure why extra shots kept being poured into my drink (by friends not bartenders) and be prepared that the ladies’ room stalls have shower curtains rather than doors.”

I could not verify the shower curtain assertion, but possibly empathize with one of  the only other really negative Yelp reviews. – (Yelp 11/25/18):

“This bar allows soccer fans from out of the city to come in and take over there (sic) restaurant. For that reason, and for only that reason, they get one star.”

Yur’s gets great reviews for the quality and price of their food menu.  And they have specials every day. We didn’t have a chance to partake other than the popcorn, but I’m going back for either the Prime Rib Thursday (Prime Rib served with Seasonal Vegetable, Garlic Mashed Potatoes & Au Jus $12.95) or Taco Tuesday (3 for $4).  And where else on Saturday morning can you get a two-egg breakfast and PBR Tall Boy for $6!

This comment from Yelp on 7/25/19 from a guy who had just moved from San Francisco:

Prime Rib on Thursdays….

“Had their prime rib steak. The prime rib is less than $11. It’s a nice portion size. It’s tender and juicy. The steak is served with mashed potatoes and asparagus. The potatoes were good; cooked to perfection and had a nice seasoning of salt and pepper. The steak is also served with horseradish…..A wonderful compliment to the prime rib steak. Enjoyable experience at this dive bar in my first day in Portland.”

And the burgers…….

“We went in for the $5 Burger-Week burger.  Friendly bartender, clean table, fantastic hamburger.  It is, without a doubt, the best burger I have ever had.” (Yelp – 8/10/19)

A burger with four strips of bacon…!

Now to be objective, one reviewer stated that the bratwurst was “simply shameful.  It was quite possibly the teeniest tiniest bratwurst I’ve ever seen, the texture was pretty gross, and it tasted nothing like a bratwurst.  
The fries were pretty good though.”  (Yelp 2/19/16)

Our group would have liked Yur’s even if the guy hadn’t asked us if we were motorcycle club members.   The environment is one that is all too rare and not found in almost any of the newer and more polished quarters which house brewpubs and cocktail bars.

These suave, sleek establishments have great and varied beer, but not the authentic ambiance (or distinctive art work…..) which, at Yur’s is a magnet for Slabtown neighborhood.  (And try getting free popcorn at one of these brewpubs….)

Former Beerchaser of the Quarter, Jim Westwood, pontificating on politics, philosophy and the statute of ultimate repose….

If you want to gain that experience and drink beer in a friendly and comfortable enviorment try Yur’s.

Truly!!!

Yur’s     717 NW 16th        Portland

Amy Faust – now a non-profit auctioneer among other avocations..

*1 One more interesting sidelight on Yur’s and historic buildings.  My talented and interesting friend and former Beerchaser-of-the-Quarter, Amy Faust, brought this issue to light because she was traveling and could not be at the Yur’s Beerchasing event.

Amy did a search on-line for Yur’s and came across the picture below.   She asked if I knew what the “U” on the building meant to which I responded in the negative.

Since she is blessed with a significant amount of intellectual curiosity, she had previously researched the symbol after seeing it on another Portland building and sent me the following link to an article in Oregon Live entitled “Fire Warning Signs Mark 21 Buildings in Portland Metro.”

Notice the upper left-hand corner of the photo

The good news is that the article was first written in 2010, but updated in 2019 and the pictures I took of Yur’s and those on current social media show no “U” remains on the building.  In addition, the article, which shows the addresses of all twenty-one of the current structures, does not list any with Yur’s address.

I concluded that this means they have addressed the deficiencies (although based on how well I like the bar, that designation wouldn’t have stopped me – just made me more cautious about where I was drinking my beer in the large space…..).

Quoting the article:

“The signs aren’t meant for the public; they’re for firefighters…..The signs, placed on at least 21 Portland buildings since the bureau introduced its Unsafe Building Alerts Program in December 2009, tell firefighters that if a fire were to break out in the building, it would be unsafe to battle from inside. Firefighters will still enter to rescue people, though.”

Thanks Amy, for the interesting sidelight.