On my recent six-months-ago-now trip to Portland (not the one with the Bill, unless you count the bar bill) I took advantage of the chance to sketch a few drinking spots, because after all, Portland is about the beer. Although actually one of the nicest spots I came to was a small wine bar across from my hotel, where I went in to do some pre-dinner wine tasting, because I thought why not. It was closing early so not enough time to sketch, but I did taste a few very nice local Oregon wines, and also spoke to a bloke who supports my own beloved Tottenham. Coincidence! He travels back and forth to Europe for wine stuff I guess, and he even went to the Champions League final in Madrid last summer when Spurs… well we didn’t win that one. Anyway as my hotel was nearby to Bailey’s Taproom, where I have been before, I wanted to come back and spend some time sketching in there and sampling some interesting beers. As it turns out, the guy behind the bar (not the one in the picture) recognized me from my previous trip there. In fact the last time had been a full six years before, on the very same date! I am nothing if not predictable. I told them I’d see them again in (gets out calculator) 2025.
So above, the McMenamin’s Crystal Ballroom, which I had been very interested to go to, but was hugely underwhelmed. It was not very interesting, it was practically empty (this was Friday evening just after dinnertime) and the beer I had wasn’t very good. I didn’t finish it, nor the sketch. I went and had a little cake at a nearby cake shop instead, very tasty.
Above is Hair of the Dog, a walk across the river, a brewery I’ve wanted to visit for a long time. I met up with sketching friend Kalina and had a beer and some food here, and a sketch and good conversation, always nice to catch up. Years ago a couple of friends had come here and brought me back a beer, and the beer here is certainly very good.
There was another place I really wanted to come back to sketch, and that is Jake’s Famous Crawfish. A smart and historic place downtown, I popped in and saw a spot right at the corner of the bar, a great place to sketch, ordered a single beer and drew this whole thing quickly. The last time I had visited Jake’s was in 2010 during the original Urban Sketching Symposium, on a late-night sketching session with Don Colley. I should like to eat here some day as well.
And the last bar sketch i managed to fit in was not one I went into, but I really liked this view. The Crystal Ballroom is at the other side of the building, but this end has the Annex Bar, another McMenamin’s place, which does have an interesting interior and a downstairs cellar bar which looks like a great place to hang out and meet characters with colourful conversation. Seems like it will be a long time until we get to do that again, huh.
Oh, the sketching stops for no one. Day One of the Symposium was not over yet. Still, I had a chance to relax in the hotel with some noodles and a cup of tea. I looked out of the window and drew part of the view opposite while talking on the phone. Then, as the evening came, I copied the sunset onto some brown paper and pottered off to Powell’s Books. Wow! What a place! I didn’t sketch there, I was too busy looking at books. That place is huge, a bookshop lover’s dream. A little while before, I had visited Reading Frenzy, to catch up on some of Portland’s well-known zine culture. I bought one local zine, and I really enjoyed it. I’ve considered (because it’s been suggested) that I turn some of my series into zines, and that is on the table in the foreseeable future, so it was good to see what other people are doing out there.
And so on to Portland’s famous beer culture. I stopped into Deschutes Brewery, where several other Urban Sketchers were already camped out, and caught up on some great conversation and a few more attempts at people-sketching. Below are Lapin, Don Colley from Chicago, and Frank Ching.
Don and I went on to Jake’s Crawfish for a beer and a last sketch of the day. It was an interesting looking place and we both sketched the same scene. His work is great, very dramatic and full of life, and he sketches in a huge old book filled with incredible drawings. It was a pleasure to watch him sketch and learn from him.
Exhausted, i got back to the hotel and posted a photo of the day one sketchbook. Phew! And there were still two more days of full-on sketching to come…
Symposium blog: http://pdx2010.urbansketchers.org/