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!
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.
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.
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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.