The What’s What & Who’s Who of the Eastside’s Best Damn Dive Bar
After what seems like forever, Yukon Tavern will be reopening as Multnomah County enters Phase 1 of Oregon’s three phase reopening plan. The tentative reopening date is Friday, June 19. With Phase 1 guidelines in effect, you can expect to see a few changes at your favorite Eastside watering hole.
The first thing you are likely to notice is our limited seating capacity. We’ve moved and removed a few tables to ensure the mandatory six (6) feet between tables. We will also be limiting the number of guests on the premises to about half of normal, and no groups larger than 10 people will be permitted. Oh, on more thing – there is no seating at the bar/counter. This is to ensure proper social distancing.
People in the same party seated at the same table do not have to be 6 feet apart. Oh, in case you are wondering, you do not have to wear masks or face coverings while seated at a table.
Yukon Tavern will resume our original operating hours and will open at will open at 11 a.m. and close at 10 p.m, seven days a week. That means all food and drink must be consumed by 10 p.m.
No Fun Allowed. Just kidding.
For the time being, there will be no Mad Poker, Last Call Trivia, pool, video games or shuffleboard play permitted. And, sad to say, for the time being we will not be holding live music on Friday or Saturday. There’s always Keno!
Hope you like the smell of bleach, because in the weeks ahead your Yukon bar staff will be channeling Mr. Clean. You can expect to see them cleaning and sanitizing the bar constantly. They will be disinfecting all customer contact surfaces at the tables between each dining or drinking party, including seats, tables, menus and even the condiment trays.
Video Lottery Games
The rules have changed a bit regarding the Video Lottery games too. Lottery games will be spaced to ensure the the required six feet of distance between machines. If you wish to play a Video Lottery game, please ask permission from our new Lottery Concierge — we thought it sounded better than Bleach Lady. They will clean and disinfect the machine before you begin play. Please note: you won’t be allowed to access or change Video Lottery games without first requesting access from the Lottery Concierge. Only one player may play or be near a Video Lottery game at one time. Again, this is to ensure social distancing.
We recognize these new changes will be a bit challenging at first and may take a bit of getting used to. But they are being implemented to ensure the health and safety of our customers and employees.
We are grateful to the many of you who have been asking about our reopening and we look forward to seeing you again. Mask and all.
Stay safe, Eastsiders.
Serendipity. It’s a word that has an almost musical ring to it, don’t you think? How appropriate that it also defines the joining together of two great musical talents, in Blaine Heinonen and Sarah Wolff of the group Pretty Gritty.
Blaine and Sarah first crossed guitar strings at a number of open mic event where they discovered they both shared an interest in writing and performing songs that combined elements of country, rock, blues and soul. Since combining their talents in 2009, what has evolved since then has been a unique style of Folk/Americana highlighted by delicate harmonies, addicting acoustics, and on-stage chemistry that few duos can match.
More than just musicians and just superb vocalists, Blaine and Sarah are known for their mesmerizing vocal harmonies and beautifully crafted songwriting that tug at the heartstrings of their fans.
These Maryland transplants have established a reputation as a must-see duo, allowing them to open for acts as varied as Tim O’Brian, Tony Trishcka and even Larry the Cable Guy.
After completing two national tours in 2014, Blaine and Sarah decided to relocate to the Northwest. The duo got their start in the Rose City by performing for tips on Portland street corners and at Portland Saturday Market. Such performances – known in the industry as “busking” – require just a bit of luck. According to Blaine, “The trick to to pick a hot corner and hope for an attentive ear. A small amplifier helps, too.”
With their busking days now well behind them, Pretty Gritty has performed at venues throughout the Northwest, as well as Alaska, Utah, Colorado and Montana. Blaine and Sarah have two CD’s out – both of which are definitely worth a listen. Their latest CD, 7 Year Itch, was released in 2018. Check it out on their Reverbnation page, or better yet, drop a few dollars on CD Baby.
Blaine and Sarah dig playing at smaller venues such as Mock Crest and Yukon Tavern. Says Blaine, “It’s more intimate, and you’re not so separated from the crowd. You really have a chance to connect with the audience.”
Pretty Gritty comes highly recommended. You can track their gigs on their official website or follow them on their Facebook page. And if Serendipity comes into play again, you will also be able to catch them this Memorial Day at The Portland Rose Festival.
If music is the universal language, it probably explains how a nice Swedish boy grew up to have his very own rockin’ Blues band.
Claes (pronounced KLAWS) Almroth was born in Sweden and raised in the San Francisco Bay Area in the 60’s and 70’s, where Psychedelic and Blues were part of the San Francisco Sound. Says Claes, “I grew up listening to the Blues and had an older brother who turned me on to a lot of great music.”
Fast forward to the early 90’s when Claes moved north, making his home in Portland and forming The Claes Almroth Trio. The band has been performing as a group for the past 5 years. In addition to Claes, who plays keys, harmonica, and vocals and writes music, the band also includes J. Michael Kearsey -bass and vocals; and Houston Bolles – vocals and electric guitar. Houston tags out with Whitney Draper when the band plays at Mock Crest Tavern.
“One thing that is different about us,” says Claes, “is that we don’t have a drummer. So the challenge for us to to make Blues and Rock without a percussionist. With three singers in the band, we think we’re making it work out pretty well.”
That, as they say, is an understatement. The band has a very loyal following, filling out the Yukon and Mock Crest whenever they perform.
Claes and his bandmates have a warm spot in the hearts for Mock Crest and the Yukon. “Jon and Rainer are really fair to the musicians,” says Claes, “and the staff is great at both venues. The Yukon crowd seems to be growing each month, and it’s really exciting to be a part of that.”
Followers of the band will be happy to hear that Claes and his bandmates are the process of building a recording studio. “We’ll have a recording coming out soon,” says Claes, “which will be a first for the Claes Almroth Trio.”
If you can’t wait until then, you can catch a listen of the band here.
Music runs in the Almroth family. Claes has two daughters who are musicians. One, who lives in Sweden, has her own Punk band, and has toured worldwide throughout South America and China.
Like I said, music is the universal language.
One of the most unusual band names you will ever come across is Ten Spiders. And when you see a name like that, you have to believe there must be a story behind it. You would be right.
The band’s lead vocalist, Rossi Cahill explains the story this way…
“We actually had several different band names,” says Rossi, “and we learned somewhere along the way that a person has to hear a brand name about 17 times before it finally sticks in their head. So we wanted to give people something they would remember right away. That’s when our brother-in-law — who is a wealth of useless information — happened to mention that over an average lifespan, you will eat ten spiders in your sleep. So we thought, hmm.…”
While the thought of eating spiders in your sleep is a bit hard to digest, it did make for a memorable band name, and the name Ten Spiders has stuck ever since.
Ten Spiders describes themselves a a folk rock band with a funky edge. “We were heavily influenced by the Philly live music scene of the late 90’s and early 2000’s,” says Rossi. “We originally started out as an acoustic trio, but have kind of evolved into a roots rock jam.”
To say the band is well traveled is an understatement. The band has played in over 800 gigs in 10 different states, and still has the travel bug. “We’re planning a couple of tours this June, including Southern Oregon and the East Coast,” says Rossi.
So, how does a band from the City of Brotherly Love end up in the City of Roses? “As Rossi explains it, “Someone gave us a Volkswagen van and we took it on a trip for 2 1/2 months out West. That’s when we discovered Portland and fell in love with the place.”
The band has a special place in its heart for Mock Crest and Yukon Tavern. “We’ve always liked smaller venues,” says Rossi. “What we like about Mock Crest and the Yukon is that we are in with a whole number of great bands, so neighborhood locals know they will always have a good time when they drop in. Plus, when you get people in a small room, something magical happens between the band and the audience. You can’t get that kind of energy in a larger venue.”
In addition to Rossi, the band also includes husband Steve on electric bass and acoustic guitar; Harrison Games on drums’ and Amos Hart on keyboards.
You can get a free listen of Ten Spiders on their official website as well as on Spotify, YouTube and Bandcamp. Also, be sure to check out future band gigs at the Yukon and our sister pub Mock Crest Tavern. And be sure to catch their next performance at Mock Crest early next month, Friday, March 6.
As for keeping spiders out of your mouth while you are sleeping, you might want to take up snoring.
One of the most celebrated groups performing at The Yukon and Mock Crest these days is The Tracey Fordice Band. The band, which is composed of Tracey Fordice on piano, Randy Yearout on guitars, mandolin and harmonica, Johnnie Corrie on drums and harmonica, and Todd Ommert on bass guitar.
The band is known for performing a variety of musical styles, including Rock, Blues, R&B, Country-Rock, Folk-Rock, Americana, Swamp Rock, as well as their own original tunes. Now then, if you’re like me, you probably needed a primer on Swamp Rock. So according to Randy, Swamp Rock is a genre that combines deep soul with raw country, gritty blues and a danceable beat. Bands like Creedence Clearwater Revival, The Doobie Brothers and John Fogerty should come to mind.
The band has been on top of the local Blues scene – and beyond – for years. They’ve won tons of music awards in the Blues category, including
2014 Winner of Cascade Blues Association Muddy Award “Best New Blues Act” and the 2015 Nomination for Cascade Blues Association Contemporary Blues Act.
The band enjoys playing at The Yukon, despite its rather small “stage.” As Randy says, “The kind of music we play lends itself towards softer rock that doesn’t thrive on having a dance floor. We don’t have to get people dancing – we are more for listening. That said, we do get people dancing in the aisles.”
Besides being stellar multi-instrumentalists, members of the band are also great vocalists. Which means fans are in store for some great 3 part harmonies when the band performs.
To learn more about the band and upcoming gigs, follow them on their Facebook page.
One band that is fast becoming a Yukon favorite is Castletown, a high energy Celtic duo made up of Robert Richter and Heidi Beth Sadler. (If you’re a geography major, you’ve probably figured out that the band gets its name from the former capital of the Isle of Man off the coast of Ireland.)
Robert was a rocker about 12 years ago, when someone said “Try some of this Celtic stuff.” He did and the rest, as they say, is history.
Heidi is the fiddler in the band. She’s a Northwest native who has lent her playing and singing to a wide variety of musical styles for over 25 years.
The band performs classic Celtic tunes as well as their own original compositions. They also enjoy giving their Celtic touch to cover tunes in most every musical genre. “We’ve even rocked up Tennessee Ernie Ford’s 16 Tons”, says Robert. “It’s fun the see the expression on people’s faces as they realize they are hearing one of their favorite songs with a Celtic twist.”
Blending rock and jazz helps Castletown appeal to a wider audience, and has made them a local favorite on the local Portland music scene. In fact, Castletown has the distinction of being the first Celtic band to perform during KINK radio’s Summer Noon Tune series at Portland Pioneer Square.
Castletown has also perfumed at the Oregon State Fair, the Vancouver Recycled Arts Fair, the Portland Rose Festival, Gold Beach Brew and Arts Festival and the Astoria Seafood Festival – just to name a few.
Still there’s something magical about playing in the local neighborhood bar. As Robert says, “We love playing venues like Mock and the Yukon. These smaller places fill up fast, and we we rarely see an empty seat in the house.”
So polish up your clogs and make sure to catch Castletown the next time they’re near you. North Portlanders can find Castletown at Yukon’s sister pub, Mock Crest Tavern, every third Thursday of the month. Or checkout their Facebook Events Calendar.