Support Local Music. Buy a Beer.

One of the biggest challenges facing budding musicians and new bands is getting in front of people.  But there is a local group, Local Roots Music Northwest, that is doing its part to help.

Local Roots began as a local community radio show, started by local Portland musician Robert Richter in 2013. Since then, it has grown to include the KMUZ and the regular public access television program, as well as song writing contests, compilation records, and open mic events – all to support local bands from the Pacific Northwest.

The success of the group’s work is due, in part, to the efforts of local clubs like Mock Crest Tavern and Yukon Tavern.

Mock Crest Tavern

Mock Crest: North Portland’s home to Blues & Brews and an avid supporter of local music.

“Jon and Rainer have been very supportive of local music,” says Robert. “They’ve helped a lot of new bands and have provided regular opportunities to local musicians to perform.”

Robert explains the mission of Local Roots Music Northwest this way:

“We help bands understand the process and the right way to approach applying for opportunities. We give them the tools they need to put together demo reels, music videos and other promotional tools to get their work in front of the right people.” The group also holds workshops on book and other topics for local musicians.

Over the years, many of the bands that have appeared on the group’s radio show have performed at Mock Crest and Yukon Tavern. “Bands who have reached success beyond Portland were bands who started out with us,” says Robert.

Through the efforts of Local Roots Music Northwest, musicians come to understand that music a business, and that they are entering into a partnership with the venue in which they are performing.

KMUZ FM logo

The Local Roots Northwest radio program can be heard every Sunday night from 7 pm to 9 pm on KMUZ-FM 100.7 in Salem.

Everyone who enjoys live music has a part in keeping it alive. As Robert says, “We ask people to support local music. One of the ways they can do that is by attending live local music events. The music we have here in Portland is some of the best music you will find anywhere. I urge people to get put and listen and buy local to support the musicians and the businesses that host live local music.”

If you have a band and are looking for some professional guidance, you can learn more about Local Roots Music Northwest on their website. Or visit their Facebook page.

A special thank you to Robert Richter in helping to create this blog post.

Eat your heart out this Valentines Weekend

Every Valentines Weekend, Chef Denise likes to cook up something a little extra special for her customers. This year is no exception, as she is planning to serve her famous Eggs Benedict.

Now then, you might not expect such a decadent brunch item to show up on the breakfast menu at your favorite neighborhood drinking hole. But Denise has never been one shy about surprising people. Says, Denise, “Most of my regulars have come to expect it about once a month, and new guests almost always order it.”

Eggs Benedict with Pulled Pork

Eggs Benedict with Pulled Pork

The fact is, Denise has no fewer than 7 different varieties of Eggs Benedict in her recipe box. 

By far the most popular version of Eggs Benedict at Mock Crest is the Classic. “It’s a basic recipe,” says Denise. “Poached eggs, Hollandaise sauce, and thick slices of Country ham on a toasted English muffin.”

Classic Eggs Benedict with Ham

Classic Eggs Benedict with Ham

Denise says there are lots of ways to change up an Eggs Benedict. Says Denise, “You can swap the English muffin for a Southern buttermilk biscuit, a thick slice of Texas toast, or even a crusty crescent roll. Bacon, pulled pork and chorizo sausage are popular substitutions for the traditional country ham.”

Eggs Benedict with Smoked Salmon

Eggs Benedict with Smoked Salmon

Every so often, Denise likes to go “cowboy style” and swaps out her velvety smooth Hollandaise sauce for her famous country gravy. “That’s always a hit,” she says.

Eggs Benedict Cowboy Style

Eggs Benedict Cowboy Style

Now with so many varieties to choose from, you have to believe that Denise must have a personal favorite. “My favorite is the California Eggs Benedict,” claims Denise. It’s made with avocado, spinach and tomato and no meat, so it’s a bit healthier. Looks mighty pretty on the plate, too.”

Eggs Benedict California Style

Eggs Benedict California Style

Now that you mouth is watering, make plans to enjoy Eggs Benedict this weekend at Mock Crest. As Denise likes to say, “It’s not just for Sunday Brunch!”

Mock Crest Tavern: Where Friends Meet

On the back wall of Mock Crest Tavern is a sign that reads “Mock Crest Tavern. Where Friends Meet.”

It’s more than a slogan, really. It’s sometimes a prediction.

Mock Crest Tavern

The sign says it all

Take the night when Robert Richter and Heidi Beth Sadler of Castletown were on stage and a neighborhood regular came up and asked if he play along with them. As it turned out, he wasn’t just some amateur guitarist seeking his 15 minutes of fame — he had plenty of that – his name was Jim Fielder.

Now if you are fan of 60’s and 70’s rock music, the name Jim Fielder should ring a bell. (Actually, it should strum a bass guitar string.) For you see, Jim was one of the founding members of Blood, Sweat, and Tears, and is considered by many to be a pioneer of the Fender guitar. Jim also played alongside other great artists, including Buffalo Springfield, Frank Zappa and The Mothers of Invention, George Benson, and Neil Sedaka – just to name a few. You can check out his full musical bio here:  musical bio of Jim Fielder

Jim Fielder, founding member of Blood, Sweat & Tears

Jim Fielder, founding member of Blood, Sweat & Tears

You can also learn more about Jim’s background in this interview he conducted in 1999. Jim Fielder interview

Jim claims to have an ear for Celtic music, which brings us back his meeting up with Robert and Heidi Beth. Small world, wouldn’t you agree?

Castletown with legendary bassist Jim Fielder

Castletown with legendary bassist Jim Fielder.

Jim has since moved out of the neighborhood and is living in Ireland – taking in even more Celtic music, no doubt.

Safe travels, Jim! 

The Art of the Sandwich Board

The sandwich board… such a simple thing:  a small two-sided chalkboard set up on the sidewalk to attract the passerby. Most businesses keep ‘em pretty simple, but bars tend to get rather clever with them.

I’ve found that the best sandwich boards fall into one of 10 categories. So without further ado, here are some of my favorites. 

Desperate for Business

These signs make the point that they need customers – badly.

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Simple Q and A

With these signs, there’s no right or wrong answer.

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Menu Promotion

It’s not always easy to get the cook and the manager to agree on the day’s special, so sometimes they have to compromise.

3

Best Deal in Town

Everyone loves a good deal, and you can’t beat a 2-fer!

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Bait & Switch

Legitimate businesses aren’t allowed to use bait and switch advertising, but there’s a bad apple in every barrel.

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Good Advice

Bartenders are full of good advice. Sometimes they’ll even post it on their sandwich board.

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Oops, my bad

Sometimes there is a mis-communication between the bar manager and the guy writing the sandwich board.

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Anti-social (media)

Mock Crest is all for you posting your pics on your favorite social media platform, but apparently not everyone shares the same opinion.

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Public Service

Nothing is more important than your health and well-being. Just ask your bartender.

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Smart Ass Sign Painter

Some of the best sandwich boards are written by the bored employee. Here’s one that was actually posted in front of Mock Crest Tavern: 

Sheep Herder

Have a great day, everyone. And if you need some cheering up, go find a sandwich board.

Sing in the New Year at Mock Crest Tavern

Looking for a fun way to ring in the New Year this Tuesday night? Join us at Mock Crest Tavern for our annual New Years Eve Karaoke Party!

Manager Gabe is pulling out all the stops to make this year’s NYE party the biggest and best yet, with food and drink specials all night long – including his signature pudding shots.

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Then at 9 PM, Gabe will be swapping his bar apron for his cordless microphone and hosting NoPo’s Last-of-the-Year-First-of-the-Year Karaoke Party. Pick your favorite songs from among Gabe’s extensive music library, then channel your best Blake Shelton or Mariah Carey. 

Winning scorable weights total 4 points-4

Don’t have the courage to sing in front of others? No problem, Mock’s friendly wait staff will be at the by and by to provide all the liquid courage you need. 

At midnight – if you’re still standing – we’ll take a short break in the singing to hold a free champagne toast to 2020. Who knows, there might even be a spontaneous group sing along of auld lang syne.

If it’s not the best karaoke party of 2020, it will definitely be the first. See you there.

 

 

Gabe keeps the good times flowing at Mock Crest Tavern

If you’re a Mock Crest regular you have no doubt seen the friendly guy behind the bar sporting a red beard and a ready smile. He’s Gabe Welch, manager of the establishment and a six year veteran of the Mock Crest tap handles. You see, Gabe once worked at Mock Crest about ten years ago before checking out things in Atlanta, Georgia. “It’s been a great place to come home to,” says Gabe.

Mock Crest Tavern

Gabe Welch, professional mixologist and pudding shot artist.

According to Gabe, Mock Crest is one of the last of the really good dive bars. “The outside says ‘dive bar’,” says Gabe, “but once you step inside, you see it’s really a cool place to hang.”

As Gabe explains it, Mock Crest is also one of the friendliest drinking holes in town. “In this Digital Age, you go into most bars and most the customers are face down, lost in their Smart phones. But at Mock, even a stranger can walk in and strike up a conversation with the first person they see at the counter. It’s just a great place to meet new friends.”

Gabe’s favorite night of the work week is Tuesday night. That’s when he gets to trade in his bar apron for a microphone and host the weekly Service Industry Karaoke Party. “I love interacting with the customers,” says Gabe. “Even those who can’t carry a tune.”

The next time you’re in, be sure to ask Gabe for one of his signature pudding shots. He’s known for piling the whipped creme precariously high. “Haven’t lost one yet,” he insists. But there’s always a first time.

Feeling thankful at Mock Crest Tavern

This past Thanksgiving I found myself on my own for a change. Rather than sit at home by my lonesome, I decided to journey over to North Portland and parade of the Mock Crest Turkey Day feast.  

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I was greeted upon arrival by Mock Crest’s clever sandwich board.

As I walked through the door, I was immediately enthralled by the aroma of turkey and dressing wafting through the air. Video lottery machines flashed in the distance while other patrons were glued to the Bills and Cowboys or the Flyers and Blue Jackets. Other patrons were fixed on the Westminster Kennel Show. The fact is, you can watch pretty much anything you want at Mock Crest; all you have to do is ask.

I sidled up to the counter and took a seat. In keeping with the spirt of the day, I ordered a shot of Wild Turkey, which hit the spot rather nicely. I was keeping close attention on both the football game and the dog show when a Ducks fan showed up and asked to watch the last few minutes of the Ducks-Gonzaga game. The game went into overtime with the Bulldogs pulling out a one point win.

The staff was in a particularly good mood, especially given the fact they were working the holiday. Gabe, the manager, was busy entertaining diners while making pudding shots and seeing how high he could pile the whipped creme on top. I think he topped out around 5 inches.

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Chef Denise serves up a smile with each Thanksgiving dinner.

Before long, my Thanksgiving dinner was set before me – lovingly prepared by chef Denise herself. And what a feast it was: turkey, dressing, gravy, green beans almandine, a Hawaiian roll, and a small serving of cranberry sauce. I made short work of the meal and asked for second helping of turkey – Wild Turkey, that is.

 

All in all it was a fine afternoon and time well spent. 

Oh, since you are probably wondering, the Westminster Dog Show was won by Thor the Bulldog.

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One can never have too much turkey on Thanksgiving. Wild Turkey, that is.

Alexa Wiley – Musical Mistress of the Metaphor

One of the most popular bands to call Mock Crest Tavern home is Alexa Wiley and the Wilderness.

Alexa is leader of the band: singer, songwriter and all around lover of the great outdoors. Alexa is known far and wide for her songwriting skills and her magical use of the metaphor. Hence, the band’s tagline “Metaphorical music that rocks.”  Take a listen here.

Alexa Wiley at Mock Crest Tavern

Alexa Wiley and the Wilderness perform regularly at Mock Crest Tavern.

Truth be told, Alexa uses the metaphor like Betty Crocker uses flour. Her songs about the environment come from the heart and are rich in meaning. 

For Alexa, the environment is not just a subject of her songs, it is her life. When she’s not busy touring with her band, she is working for the U.S. Forest Service and championing Outdoor School for All, Columbia Riverkeeper, and other outdoor causes.

Alexa Wiley and the Wilderness

Alexa champions the environment and the great outdoors in many of her songs.

Her bandmates represent a who’s who of Portland’s music scene, with Bret Malmquist on lead guitar, Dale Turnbull on bass, Sean Oldham on drums, and Steve Dearborn playing most anything that will make a sound. The band’s creations are an eclectic mix of jazz, country, and folk that is otherwise all but impossible to classify. But who needs a label, right? 

Be sure to check the Mock Crest and Yukon Tavern Event Calendars for upcoming dates. You can also purchase her music at her website.

Alexa Wiley at Yukon Tavern

Alexa and her band also appear regularly at our sister pub Yukon Tavern.

Alexa and The Wilderness appear regularly at Mock Crest Tavern and her sister pub Yukon Tavern. They love playing the local tavern scene and especially enjoy the intimacy of each setting. Says bandmate Dale Turnbull, “We love the feeling of having the audience right on our laps.”

I assume he is speaking metaphorically.

Spirited fun awaits at Mock Crest’s annual Scaryoke Party

Karaoke night is fast becoming the most popular party night in Portland. Oh sure, kids have always loved Halloween for the chance to dress up and go door to do in search of treats. But why should the little ones have all the fun?

That’s what Mock Crest asked themselves when they came up with their annual Scaryoke Party. Now in its second year, Scaryoke is what you might say is the spooky version of Karaoke Night. A night filled with laughter, song, and supportive cheering from your friends and other party-goers.

Halloween Scaryoke-3
Mark your calendar for NoPo’s favorite Halloween Karaoke Party.

 

Attendees are encouraged to dress up in their best costumes. And while costumes are not mandatory, if you do wear one, you’ll receive a free beverage as a Mock Crest’s treat. (Sorry, folks, a hat is not a costume.) Later during the night, the attendee selected as wearing the best costume will receive a special prize! 

Of course, no party would be complete without food and drink, so Mock Crest will also have plenty of brew and Halloween-themed food specials to help get you in the Halloween spirit.

Now for the scaryoke part…

Halloween Scaryoke-4

Grab some friends and grab a mic!

The night is sure to be dominated by neighborhood locals booming their favorite songs from the Mock Crest “stage”. You are also sure to hear such Halloween standards as “Monster Mash,” “Thriller” and “Ghostbusters”. A little spooked about singing in front of others? Don’t be afraid – you can always keep your mask on. Plus, you’ll find the Mock Crest crowd to be very supportive, regardless of your level of talent. Plus, Mock Crest’s friendly bar staff will be at the ready with plenty of liquid courage.

Halloween Scaryoke-5

Afraid to sing in public? Fear not: Mock Crest will have plenty of liquid courage on tap.

So grab your friends and join us Thursday night, October 31st for our Annual Halloween Scaryoke Party. The fun starts at 9pm and runs till the witching hour!

 

SIN takes center stage every Tuesday nite at Mock Crest Tavern

The last time I looked, there were some 80 National Days on the Calendar –not counting National Mew Year Day for Cats, which has yet to be recognized by Presidential Proclamation. With everything from White Cane Sugar Day to National Tartan Day (I am not making these up), it seems only fitting there should be at least one day out of the year to recognize the hard-working men and women of Portland’s Service Industry. Or, more specifically, Bartenders, Waiters, Waitresses, and Bar Backs. (Sorry McDonald’s Drive-thru worker, you’re not on the list.) 

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Service Industry Night brings out NoPo’s finest. Or so we are told.

So Mock Crest Tavern has done just that and then some, with their very own Service Industry Night (SIN).

The fun starts at 9 PM, when Mock Crest breaks out the karaoke machine. Then, everyone, regardless of their profession, vocation or lack of talent, is invited to grab the mic and belt out their favorite song. 

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Revelers enjoying Mock’s famous pudding shots.

Lack the nerve to sing in front of strangers? No worries: Mock Crest has plenty of liquid courage on tap, including a rotating selection of no fewer than 8 craft beers. And you don’t want to pass on the Mock’s famous pudding shots.

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Release your inner Justin Timberlake.

Along with the karaoke, you can also partake of a number of food and drink specials. Just show your OLCC card to claim your discount.

Oh – I almost forgot – Happy Leif Erickson Day!