Mock Crest Tavern

Sure I’d never have found it if I hadn’t moved to North Portland. But now I’d drive across town for those incredible chocolate pudding shots.

hole in the wall

Doesn’t even begin to cover the place. When you walk in there will only be enough space for one person on the path between the tables and the bar stools. This might sound cramped, but it just adds to the cozy charm of the place. There are a handful of bar tables before an opening (that actually serves as a stage, but more on that later), and some shorter tables. It’s the hole in the wall size, that makes this bar the kind of place where locals can come and get to know each other.

local favorite spot

Which is probably why it’s a local favorite spot. It’s true that a majority of the patrons are regulars, but they won’t stare at you like they know you’ve never been there before. They’ll say hello, and welcome you into their favorite little spot.

Insider’s secret: if it looks full inside make your way to the back door, the patio is flooded with sunlight all summer long.

live music

In that little empty space between bar tables and booths musicians from all over town set up their equipment and serenade the full bar. And trust me it will always be full. Because people love coming out for the classic rock, live jazz, and bluegrass jam bands that come rolling through. It can be a bit loud for an intimate conversation but it’s one of the best free live music places in town. Worth the trek out to North Portland (if for some crazy reason you don’t live over here).

great food

Don’t get me wrong, it doesn’t stray too far from your typical bar food. But it’s well made and their specials menu usually has a delicious treat. The fried green beans are some of my favorites, the light tempura batter mixes perfectly with a rich and spicy aioli. My friends, on the other hand, like the fried pickles, which are fry-cut over the short fat spheres. Something that apparently makes them superior to those that like vinegar. Though I have to admit, even I’ve found myself eating a few without gagging.

But the best thing on the menu is the chocolate pudding shots topped with whipped cream. They taste like mouse whipped up to fluffy perfection in a French bakery over a hole in the wall bar. The rich chocolate flavor is spiked with a strong hint of whiskey and the creamy aroma of Baileys.

If for nothing else, you should go just to try the puddin’ shots.