The Fixin' To (8218 N Lombard St., 503-477-4995) has always been a little bit outlaw-country, a little bit rock 'n' roll. But when the playfully ramshackle, vaguely Southern-themed St. Johns bar announced plans to expand into a concert venue earlier this year, it was easy to assume what that meant: put in a makeshift stage, install a low-end PA system, and, voila, you're a club now!

(Will Corwin)
(Will Corwin)

Instead, the new addition—a self-contained, 100-capacity appendage built out from the main room—has finally made good on the bar's honky-tonk aspirations. The decor mixes Elks Lodge kitsch with handsome newness. Antlers, a taxidermied boar's head, framed black-and-white found photographs and a majestic deer tapestry line the unscuffed blue-green walls.

(Will Corwin)
(Will Corwin)

A velvet painting of Elvis sits behind a surprisingly spacious shin-high wooden stage, and the window at the back of the room assures you won't have to leave midset to restock on Hamm's.

(Will Corwin)
(Will Corwin)
(Will Corwin)
(Will Corwin)

Since opening this summer, the calendar has filled with emerging local indie acts, a weekly Sunday concert night and even a little hip-hop, filling a void in North Portland music venues that seems especially crucial with the impending demise of the Know.

(Will Corwin)
(Will Corwin)

As for the rest of the place, nothing much has changed: the food menu is still all Southern comfort, the cocktail names still reference the Ramones and Kiss, and a portrait of a young Bill Clinton is still on prominent display. Now, if only they could get that giant Game Boy arcade machine working.

(Will Corwin)
(Will Corwin)