Copperjohn's


Copperjohns is now known as Night Deposit Whiskey Library

Another 9 weeks gone by and time for N's and my blood date.
Our house is full right now (I'm loving having both of the girls around-truly) and yet it was good to have our date night. Once a week would probably be even better.
I took another clue from an anonymous comment on the blog and decided to give Copperjohn's on 195 Commercial Street Northeast a try. It's situated in one of downtown Salem's picturesque old buildings. I can remember a group of our family sitting at a window table during a particularly rainy Festival of Lights parade several years ago. It was the Night Deposit then and the brass plaque on the door still sports that name.

It was easy to find a parking space on Court St. Wednesday evening. We walked up and opened the big, old, wood and glass door. The smell of cigarette smoke hung in the air. I told myself it could've been worse if they didn't have good ventilation and I didn't have some generic sudafed in my purse.
We sat down at one of the copper topped tables by a window looking out on Court Street. The bar area had a semi-large group and a couple of smaller groups, ranging in age from 25 to 30 something (women outnumbering the men about 4-1). It wasn't noisy, but being a Wednesday it wasn't even close to being full either. It has the appearance of being a hopping place on the weekends. They have a stage, dance floor, an impressive display of spirits and several Oregon beers on tap.
Just seconds after we sat down, a waiter appeared asking if we wanted menus and what we wanted to drink. We both ordered a Rogue Dead Guy Ale. He brought out both the menus and beers promptly. He was back just as promptly to take our dinner orders. I ordered their Chicken Cordon Bleu and N ordered a 10 oz. New York steak, medium rare.



Our waiter served us salads of Romaine lettuce, slices of cucumber, 3 tiny, lovely, yellow, pear shaped tomatoes, croutons and our dressing on the side. I had to take a brief moment to enjoy the beauty of the Chicken Cordon Bleu before digging in. I don't know if the vegetables were sauteed or roasted, but the combination of herbs, mushrooms, carrots, red onion, cucumber and ?? was delicious. I could've eaten an entire plateful. The chicken was tender, not overcooked. The thin slice of ham inside the breast of chicken was deep in color and full of flavor. The sauce was a nice subtle compliment. My first bite of their tender, sliced, house potatoes brought to mind that "gee, these taste healthy". My code for "hmm, kind of bland". But after another bite or two I could detect a bit of rosemary along with the pepper.
N commented that his steak was done just right and filled with good flavor. He also said it was mostly tender, with the exception of a small vein of gristle in one spot.
The prices were very reasonable and the quality of the food was worth revisiting Copperjohn's more often.
Plus the service was just right.
Open Monday through Saturday 11 to 2:30 a.m. and Sunday from 11 a.m. to 10 p.m.

29 comments:

Anonymous said...

Copperjohns is a "cougar bar". Old women come here to try and pick up the college guys.

KandN said...

Hahaha! Sorry anonymous, I just flashed on an episode of "How I Met Your Mother". And then I flashed on my 80 year old mother with a college guy.
Our short glimpse of the place seemed to echo what I've heard around town - that it's a popular hang-out of Willamette grad students.

Anonymous said...

I have never been one to hang in bars, as I married too young to do so.

But I think OLD men have hung out in bars for years...trying to pick up YOUNGER girls. So...if this is a cougar bar...good for those old fast cats! But, I have to tell you, the younger boys don't know as many tricks as the older ones do!

This place is now on our list of places to try. Dinner sounds pretty good for this town. I'm just glad I'm married to an "old" man. Wouldn't want some "cougar" dragging him off! Ha Ha ha!

Anonymous said...

Went here for weeknight Happy Hour (4-6 pm). I didn't notice any "cougars" just mostly business professionals after work. The atmosphere was good. Prices and food would great and the waiter--the only waiter--worked his butt off. I would go back again!!

Anonymous said...

Was there last night for St Pat's Day. Good music, crowded, busy, mixed crowd of nice people. Reasonably priced Guiness. Don't know about the food. Ordered it and never came......

Anonymous said...

Went there for a spanish coffee Sat. night and was met by a very rude and cranky bartender. That's the last time I'll darken their doors!

Anonymous said...

I frequented Copperjohn's a few times for their happy hour. Liked the relaxed pace and sitting outdoors on a nice day. On a hot day, I stopped by for a brew and the bartender saw that I had a bottled water and wanted to confiscate it from me saying that it was a health code violation. I would not let him take it because I rode my bike and needed my water. I later called Marion County Environmental Health and they said it was not against any health code violations to have my own water. I will never go back there again!! Very RUDE!!

Anonymous said...

Anonymous, I am sorry to hear of your bad experience at copperjohns. However the bartender may have meant that it is against the OLCC rules and regulations. when you have a full on premise liquor license NO outside beverages allowed because they do not know if you have alcohol in the container or perhaps if you are going to put the brew you bought in the container and take it with you when you go.(which is illegal for you and them) The bars do not make up these rules however they HAVE to abide by them because the fine the OLCC will impose on them for not obeying is quite heafty. Sometimes as much as $10,000 so it is for their own protection to follow and abide by the OLCC's rules and regulations. If you would be willing to pay the fine and have the violation go on your record I'm sure the bartender would have accommodated your need for the water! P.S. I think they SERVE FREE water there!!!

Anonymous said...

The last comment sounded like it came from the owner, I know the tone...

Anonymous said...

fun place, all ages, good music, and drinks..really i think that you cant have your own drinks at a bar.

Anonymous said...

This bar is not only for college students. It is a bar for every age....so please, no cougar comments. I am not a cougar, actually I am only 24. I do enjoy this bar and it is nice place people.

Anonymous said...

The bartenders have not been very pleasant, so I don't go back. The last time we were there for a private party and they just seem annoyed that the place was packed on a Sunday (don't you get tips?).

Why in the world would you be a bartender if you were cranky? Why not go work in a toll booth on the turnpike or be a bill collector.

I choose bars solely based on the people working there. Pete's (Webers) usually has very nice staff. Cokies Landing is nice. Dinvincis is good. That's about it.

Anonymous said...

Appears that the younger crowd has taken over, the bartender IS grouchy and the bouncers are touchy. Maybe someone needs to take a step back and re-evaluate the mood they are trying to set because I know a lot of 30-40 something on up people that used to enjoy going there and have not been very impressed as of recent. That is too bad. Grouchy and being ignored for 20 minutes or more does not create an inviting environment.

Anonymous said...

Thank you for the feed back on the "grouchy Bartenders" and slow service....The problems are being addressed and corrected...

Anonymous said...

Good to hear you are taking action to remedy.

My wife was hassled by a waitress when her and her sister brought their left-overs in from dinner elsewhere (and put on a chair with her purse). Told basically to take it outside or throw it away. She put in her bag and still wasn't acceptable. They eventually just left with no drinks. That was months ago, but we haven't been there since.

It is not easy running a bar/restaurant, but it is very positive to hear you are taking steps to correct.

Anonymous said...

COUGAR? ARE YOU SURE-YOU DIDN'T SEE A COUPLE OF MOMS WITH THEIR SONS...LOL!THAT PLACE IS SO BUSY! YOUNG PEOPLE STANDING OUTSIDE WAITING TO GET IN-COUGAR'S WILL NOT STAND OUTSIDE WITH A BUNCH OF 20 SOMETHING GIRLS LOL!! NOW THE HALF PENNY... MAYBE SO?

Anonymous said...

Going there tonight for the first time. Hope the bartenders are nice, service is superb and the food delicious! There are not many "disposable" dollars in my wallet so I like to spend them well. Hope it is a wonderful evening, I'll let you know tomorrow...

Anonymous said...

Been to both. Love them both. I'm not a drinker and don't knoe how to rate a place over drinks-- but I like the staff and the atmosphere. I suppose it's possible that they have off nights, but I go when it's NOT packed. No problems and good conversation.

Anonymous said...

I started going wneh I found the place about 2 weeks ago. I've been there half a dozen times since (Copperjohns) and to the Half Penny a couple of times. Nice times.

Anonymous said...

Decided to give this place a try when out to celebrate a birthday. It was a Thursday evening and I was pleased with the atmopshere when we walked in - It was a good start, so I expecting good things! There were only 3 other tables full. The bartender came over fairly quickly, but instead of being warm and welcoming he was incredibly rude. He acted like we were an inconvienence to him and like he was doing us a favor to bring us a drink. It made the entire group of us uncomfortable. Needless to say, I was very disappointed and after one drink we left. I for one will not return!

Chuck Bradley said...

My wife had the Farmer's Breakfast which was prime rib, eggs, peppers, onions and country style hash browns done in a scramble with heavy whole wheat toast. Try as her daintiness might, she could not eat it all. I had their Denver Steak Breakfast which was a Flat Iron (shoulder or chuck cut) steak richly peppered and served with country style spuds and two farm fresh eggs. I ordered dry rye toast, as is my custom. When our extremely proficient server brought our meal, she immediately noticed that my toast was buttered. She apologized and whisked it away to be replaced. My eggs and steak came precisely and ordered and soon, the chef himself delivered my toast with his apologies. With the minor exception of the toast mix-up which was swiftly and graciously corrected, it was a perfect experience. From other reviews on this and other web sites, I doubt if the evening crowd and music will suite our tastes, but we'll be back for breakfasts and lunches.

Anonymous said...

If you like 3 year old played out songs then this is your place. Don't expect good music from the DJ even if you're requesting a song because he has no range... other than that I liked the place.

Anonymous said...

I have been to CJ's on a few different occasions. Each time encountering different staff, as the times of day and days of the week were different.
1. Staff was fine, and appropriate for the atmosphere.
2. The place was clean and inviting.
3. Food was fantastic and came out quickly!

To address the "rude" or "unwelcoming staff"... I am a bartender, tho not at CJ's. When you spend 6-8 hours of people complaining about their lives, and 99% over spilled milk. Telling you their drink isnt strong enough, tho you made it correctly, and asking for something free. Yes.. you want to bite someone's head off. You sigh when you see another person, and especially if that person does not greet you friendly.

It is the service industry, however people often forget, the people who cook the food, bring the food, and stand behind the bar.. are also people with feelings, who have a job to do. So.. adding an extra shot for free, is an insult (that can cost me my job), hitting on me, until I feel uncomfortable (mind your manors, I am not a hooker), making a mess, throwing things, or otherwise being disruptive.. we are not a preschool, and lastly.. when you have had too much to drink and its time for another ADULT to tell you to stop (which you all should have the ability to do on your own, but I can get fined and lose my job if I dont stop you).. you want to get lippy, rude, or otherwise be an ass. Yes.. we are not going to be nice. At the end of the day, you could cost us our job. At the end of the day, if it isnt you.. its someone. At the end of the day... you may have had to deal with 1 asshole.. be we have already handled 50+. If you are kind and smile, you will also get one in return. But remember, we all have bad days.. no matter what our job is!
If you get a poor attitude from me, it is 99.9% chance that you have insulted me. Just because my job is to be nice.. doesnt mean when you act like a jerk, I can pretend I like it.

Anonymous said...

Would never go to this bar ever again. Bouncers there are on a serious power trip and are willing to pepper spray anyone who looks at them wrong. Never been more disrespected in my entire life. I am a small 22 year old blonde, how much trouble could I cause?

Anonymous said...

We came there on Saturday April 2nd for a Bachelorette Party, yes, a bunch of cougars that didn't really care if there was a bunch of college boys. We like real men with life experience.
The comment on the grouchy bartenders, I had a friend with us that is a bartender, she said something about that particular grouchy bartender and I assured her that it is just his personality, hes always been like that from location to location that he's worked. She felt unsuare about what I said, but went with it anyways.
We had a great time and even though it is loud, it's large enough to hold a large party of you can still move around.
The Bouncers on the other hand, pick and choose who they want to disrespect, and when did Copper Johns start looking in womens purses? Should we be concerned with the atmosphere of the facility?

Anonymous said...

The post from Dec 10, 2010 - sounds like you'd be happier in another profession.

A lot of the things you mentioned as being a pain are a big reason why you are getting tips when you really could be working the register at Fred Meyers with the same qualifications and getting min wage.

(my little sister makes $300 a night in tips at a bar in Portland with no qualifications other than she was born cute)

The harder (i.e. hassle) the job, the more you get paid and if you don't want the hassle of bar tending, why not chose retail or the cannery?

As for Copperjohn's - I am in the service industry and am told by everyone that I am too over the top nice and too forgiving and kind to other service workers..etc - I'm the nicest customer you will ever have.
However, I have had several really bad experiences to the point that I will never go back.

We were there on a moderately busy evening (Saturday early?) and the bartender honestly acted like we had just called him away from his favorite TV show, made him get up off the couch and serve us. Rude. Slow. Had at stand at the counter for five minutes for the second round while he talked to someone (he obviously saw me). Not polite. No thank you.

Anyway, I just don't understand why anyone would hire rude staff for a business that strives on service. I guess they must make their money on the late night dance club scene.

Anonymous said...

Just got back from Copperjohns, and yet another disappointing experience. The sandwich took forever, then it was wrong, so the waitress took it back before it even came to me...with NO explanation to me!

She was indifferent, and the entire attitude of the workers there was poor. I had hoped that this place had changed. It had not. Horrible dive. There is no excuse to go to this place when there are other, better bars to go to.

rating * (out of 5 stars). I have given this dump enough chances. No more.

Anonymous said...

My experience at this bar was so horrible that I have not been in this bar for almost 2 years. I know the bartender as well as the other bartender/waitress. I dated the bartender's friend and since we broke up over a year ago I tried going in to have a drink with my now fiancé. I was immediately greeted by the bartender and immediately walked to the door. All because I dated the bartender's friend. I am so disappointed that a personal experience had to ruin business. I love to dance! I try to go dancing at least once a month if I can and wanted to try out copperjohns. I still would like to go here but I will never step through those doors until that bartender is either on a different shift or gone all together! How rude and disrespectful! Such a disappointment.

Anonymous said...

I haven't been into Copperjohn's for about 4 months. The night time service/bartenders are awesome and I have never had bad service/issues with them. The daytime bartender is another story. The last three times I had lunch at Copperjohn's, the food was decent but the service left a lot to be desired. For one thing, the daytime bartender never smiles and actually gives me annoyed looks when I order a non alcohalic drink with my lunch. Sorry I don't drink alcohal that early in the day. The last two times I had lunch there, I had to go find silverware/condiments/napkins from another table because the bartender didn't bring us any. She did not offer us refills on our drinks. We had to go up to the bar and ask for them. When it came time to get our check, again, we had to go up to the bar to get it and then bring the payment up to the bar. Sorry, I won't be back as long as this particular bartender is there.