Thursday, March 17, 2011

St. Patrick's Day Pubcrawl Live Blog

The pub crawl is underway. I'm starting at Geoffrey Marlowe's Abbey Pub because it's close to home. This is important because, as I mentioned yesterday, Mrs Elliott doesn't grudge me my St. Patrick's day out, but she forbids me to drive. Generous and smart. So I walked here, then will take a cab to 10 Barrel where Bruce Miller will meet me. The plan is to visit the pubs that are serving anything even mildly Irish.

My reader should know that Bruce turns into a pumpkin in the early evening and I can't drink like I used to, so the day will be over soon. I will miss Five Pint Mary, and the Bend Fire Department Pipes and Drums, but I should be able to taste all the beers I hope to. Mrs Elliott has been warned to ignore me.

2:11 pm. Murphy's stout is on nitro here at the Abbey Pub. and it's a classic, standard dry Irish stout. But I worked up a bit of a thirst walking here, and a pint of bitters sounded perfect to start the festivities. Geoff has a very nice pale ale, the Oakshire KLCC out of Eugene. Big on taste but low on alcohol, it's refreshing and tasty.

(Those of you on newsreaders will only get the above copy because I'm going to post this now. If you want to follow Bruce and me as we wander about, click on over to the blog and refresh occasionally as I will continue to add to this article as the day progresses. I'll post any comments that come in.)

2:30 pm. Ah, now for the Murphy's. (...) You know, I made a mistake. A dry Irish stout doesn't follow a hoppy ale very well. It tastes soft, a large result of being on nitro. Lesson learned.

Geoff's been here since August 2009 and has a loyal clientele. This early in the day there are only a few people in this nice and bright pub. The widescreen is showing a basketball game (Jack does not follow basketball) and the sun is shining while snow falls outside. UPDATE DUBLIN: It's nighttime and St. Patrick's day is over, but tomorrow will be partly cloudy, 51 degrees, with a 10% chance of rain.

2:45 pm: Time to call a cab and head over to 10 Barrel.

2:55 pm. Bend Cab, reliable as always, delivered me safely. The bar's about 80% full, this time of day. We've got Dropkick Murphys on the speakers, and an Irish Red in front of me. I'm still not sure what the appeal of Irish Reds are, nor their  distinguishing characteristics. They're reddish. It's okay? But the ABV of only 4.4% bodes well for my endurance.

3:05pm. Bruce Miller has joined me at 10 Barrel's bar and ordered whiskey: a bit more than 1-1/2 fingers of fine and smooth Tullamore Dew is now in front of him. We are comparing laptops. Not like in the men's showers, or anything. ...

The sun has broken through, DKM are raging, a fellow at the bar has a mini Aussie dog of some sort, not too small for a man, and some jackass who has had too many is laughing loudly in a braying, high-pitched yelp.

4:15 pm: O'Kane's & Cigars. Bruce brought a Nicarao, but I forgot to bring a cigar from home so I've purchased a Romero y Julietta from the establishment. Bruce has this fancy, complicated stainless steel lighter which produces a blue-hot flame. Totally intimidating.

One piper is warming up on the patio, fortunately almost drowning out the Grateful Dead music that O'Kane's unfortunately plays, exclusively.

O'Kane's does not have a nitro tap so I had to hie myself up to the bar to procure a pint of their Irish stout. It's not bad, not bad at all. But not memorable.

It's not very warm here. They have a stout iron woodburing stove which will get red-hot shortly, but right now the temp here is 60 degrees, according to my Harbor  Freight IR thermometer.

6pm: Bruce had to go home so I wandered over to the Top Leaf Mate shop in the alley next to Lone Pine Coffee, but it was unattended. I found the owner, Santiago, next door at the Wine Bar and Tasting Shop watching a basketball game with a Bend poet and some random festive tourists in green hats.

He graciously dashed over to his shop and fetched me back a mug of invigorating mate.

Feeling vaguely awkward due to being twice their age, unfamiliar with the various fist bumps and man hugs in currency today, I stood about with the much younger men at the table, peering at the game. I lost interest in about 30 seconds. They were willing to explain its artistry and beauty but I felt that was something I'd save for another day.

I mentioned that I was going over to Velvet, on Wall, to sample another dry Irish stout.

"You're going over to Velvet?" asked Santiago. "I have some mate I've promised them tonight."

Mate? For a cocktail bar?

Sure, I can take it over, I said, volunteering to be his mule.

Velvet is pouring the St. Patio's dry Irish stout from Three Creeks, in Sisters. I handed the bag of mate to Nolan, the bartender, and asked for a pint.

It's sweeter than I like.

"What's the official name of this?"

The bartender didn't know. Look at Three Sisters's site he said.

So here I am, sitting at the bar at Velvet, The Pogues on the sound system (excellent choice), sipping this sugary stout and looking at -- and near as I can tell, they make no mention of this brew.

Velvet uses mate in a few of their signature cocktails, it appears.

 . . . .

Well, crap. It's Friday morning and the sky is just getting light. Not that it got very dark last night due to the big full moon. Looks like Blogger lost the final bit of this post. So I'll summarize the rest of the evening:

Velvet was dead that early in the evening and I'm too close to retirement age to make waiting for the place to pick up worthwhile (or maybe even possible without recourse to the types of illicit drugs that were popular in the '80s) so I decided to see if that new restaurant Boken was open.

It was. And it was wonderful. I had the best pho I've ever had. And I've had some good pho. The broth was deeply, richly flavorful. I was impressed and I will return.

The place is located in the breezeway between Wall and Brooks street, in the old Downtowner (briefly Lola's) space. Give them a try. Despite the establishment's name, the menu isn't particularly Japanese, being a collection of various Pacific Asian tasties, and everything on it looks intriguing. An interesting-looking cocktail list, too, though Jack seldom has cocktails so can't comment on that.

I wanted to end the evening at the Wine Shop and Tasting Bar but when I got there they were closed, closing, as they do, at 8 on weekdays.

It was cold, I had to pee. Four Five pints of beer over six hours and I was tired.

Called Bend Cab and in eight minutes I was back home to Mrs Elliott who was watching American Idol.

"How was your evening?"

I had a good time.

"That's nice, dear."


  1. Hope you are having fun. God bless Bend Cab Company. See you at home!


    Mrs. Elliott

  2. Bruce didn't really "have to go home," but he's become a pussy who can't handle more than two or three drinks a day. How the mighty have fallen.


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