Unless you were staying at the Crystal Hotel, or are an avid follower of the McMenamins pub group, you'll likely pass right by the entrance to Al’s Den: it looks like a storage cellar that the last delivery person forgot to close. The artsy, speakeasy-style lounge in the basement of the Crystal Hotel was named after Al Winter, Portland's gambling overlord in the 1940s. Today, the lounge’s stage is home to musicians and comedians, and Thursday through Saturday, the den hosts Portland’s "King of Late-Night," Ed Forman. Live music at Al's Den — Photo courtesy of Amber Nolan
Grab a seat in the back, or if you are daring, in the front while Aaron Ross transforms into his alter-ego, the hilarious and politically incorrect Ed Forman, as well as several different characters, including the hypocritical religious fanatic, Bill Groper (of Karate, Khrist, and Kids). The show features a changing line up of special guests that range from political figures, actors, musicians, and more.
The starry-eyed show host — Photo courtesy of Ed FormanThe show is free, but be warned: Ed won’t tolerate show disruptions, and much to the amusement of the rest of the audience, those constantly talking are called out and publicly humiliated. A late-night menu is served throughout the show of fries, specialty pizza, and burgers from the upstairs Zeus Café, while the bar serves creative cocktails and craft beers from McMenamins own brewery.
Stick around before and after the Ed Forman show to catch varying musical acts that include everything from hip-hop to folk rock. It’s all quality, affordable entertainment in one of Portland’s neighborhood pubs: don’t miss it!