Turning yesterday’s neighborhood tavern into North Portland’s premier music venue takes a lot of elbow grease. Leaving the hi-tech world to chase the dream of owning a bar takes that, plus a mountain of dedication and good partners, too.
This is the story of how Jon Batcheller and Rainer Wieland escaped a corporation’s gilded cage to become the stewards of the historic bar, Mock Crest Tavern.
Not surprisingly, it started over a couple of beers on a lunch break from their software engineering jobs. The two had worked together at a few different companies and had built a strong working relationship and a friendship outside of work, so they already knew they would work well as business partners, too.
It was Jon who first posed the idea of reinventing a struggling neighborhood bar into the laid back type of drinking establishment they both love. But what bar—and where–they wondered. It was a question that followed Jon as he explored Portland looking for that diamond in the rough, and a month later he invited Rainer to meet him at a little cigar shaped bar on Lombard Street called Mock Crest Tavern.
The unique look and its decades-long history as a music venue put Mock at the top of their list to be the first of their bars. There was a lot of work to do. Only two taps of five worked, the previous owner lost his lottery machine license (something that took them eight months to get back), and there was a lot of remodeling to be done, but they did it!
Sixty years on Mock Crest Tavern is going strong! They have a great wait staff, an upgraded menu, and all the top shelf drinks, wines, and beers that had gone MIA under the previous owner, plus many more favorites. There’s a lot of work that goes into a bar but, with their analytical minds and natural attention to detail, Jon and Rainer have turned this broken down bar into a place where people feel comfortable, can listen to great music several times a week, and enjoy the best pub grub and drinks you’ll find in the Pacific Northwest.
Jon and Rainer have since added two more bars to their business. NoPo’s best sports bar, Greeley Avenue Bar & Grill, and the Southeast’s historic Yukon Tavern and they love seeing them grow and develop under their vision.
Stop on by any of Jon and Rainer’s bars and see all the changes they’ve made in their quest to create the best “dive” bars in Portland. And, don’t forget to say hello to Jon and Rainer, the architects of the reinvented Mock Crest Tavern!