Category Archives: The Local


Everybody's Brewing Green Ice PilsThe is the Everybody’s Brewing Green Ice Pils, and it is the last beer I’ll have at O’Malley’s, a favorite local pub.

Which is sad. The beer is the beer; it isn’t too pleasing, as it’s got a lingering unpleasant bitterness on the finish and only the barest of malt in the nose to speak of. It was one of the few choices still available, though, as many of the other beers had been tapped out the night before.

But this local pub is being sold- to whom, the information is currently unclear-so it’s hard for me to see this as a good thing.

Well, the good news is that my area is on the upswing, right?

Oh, but Moe, the dank. The dank! 

It’s pretty clear that things are becoming more homogenized and less interesting as a result. O’Malley’s was a fantastic local with good food, supporting the local art scene, an interesting tap list and a very pleasant vibe. It could get loud and rambunctious and have rock shows or DJs but it also could just be a mellow spot to drink and hang out.

I brought dates here, friends here, my Dad when he visited, because it was the kind of place you could bring anyone and have it be a good environment.

Now it’s probably going to become corporate-safe and the neighborhood is going to be lesser for that. Inside, the tables are all crowded; nobody bothered to reset the place from the rock show last night so there’s still a spot cordoned off for band gear, and there is even a family inside-the little girl is maybe four-here to celebrate the last day. A group of women going some kind of deep dive planning meeting near me. Barflies on the rail. It’s active, but subdued. We all know this is it.

I hope this is a good ending for those involved with the day to day actions of O’Malley’s, as it’s a sadder one for the rest of us. I’d rather be pleased for those who work here and their futures than dwell on the loss.

I look across the street and see a new tattoo shop opening. Sure, it was a tattoo parlor before but now it’s new! Maybe I’m worried about nothing.

Still, I’m sorry to see it go.

New To Me: Da’ Hui

The bartender at Da’Hui tells me that I may not be able to get my Arrogant Bastard, because the tap can be tempermental. “It’s the fridge here,” she explains, “sometimes it just gets weird and this whole row of taps can just eatabagofdicks. ” She smiles, silver capped teeth gleaming.

I like her.

The tap spits foam like a dragon but eventually behaves and I get my beer. Led Zeppelin’s Ramble On kicks in on the stereo and I know: it’s time to end this series.

But it feels very Portland in here. There’s a sassy bartender who knows her customers, offering the drink before the order, dudes outside riding motorcycles on the sidewalk (and if I had my way, I’d pop their tires and let ’em walk home,) it is too dark inside to do anything but eat, watch TV or visit. I don’t know that I’ll come back often but I can put this on the list of friendly hidey-holes. I could almost justify this good time as a reason to keep poking around…

I have to admit, it’s time take a break. I could feel it these past few weeks going out. I was grouchy and resenting having to be in places with sub-standard Blade Runner lighting and what felt like no reason to exist. Worse, I wasn’t writing as well and I don’t like that at all.

Almost as much as I dislike this Arrogant Bastard.  Hops just ride the back end of this beer like medicine, and I wonder whose dick am I trying to measure up against by drinking it. Yeesh. It feels like I’m trying to punish myself. On the other hand, I got the Arrogant Bastard because I recognized the beer and thought; Maybe I’ll like it this time.

Nope. I have only myself to blame.

It has been a little over five years since I started this blog and I’ve kept my part of the bargain, I think.  I’m approaching 800 posts and I am grateful to everyone who has and is coming by to read. I’m having to delete more spam than ever, so clearly something is working! I just need a vacation.

So, this week will be the final week of posts until September 9th, 2013. I was thinking the 4th, but that’s a Wednesday and nobody starts anything on a Wednesday. If you need to find me, the Twitter is still out there, albeit a bit more random in its collection of my thoughts and, of course, I’ll still be reading any posts here. But I’ll start again with a new theme on the 9th and in the meantime, enjoy what’s coming this week!

New To Me: Bill’s Tavern Brew House

I met the family in Cannon Beach this weekend for vacation purposes. I can’t enjoy the beach easily; the conditions always seem too extreme to enjoy the outdoors and if I’m not going outside, then why go to the beach? However, seeing my family is always nice and with new places there is always the possibility that there will be new beers to try.

Which is why I looked for possible breweries in the area and found out about Bill’s Tavern & Brew House. My initial impression wasn’t much: Bill’s is a small place clearly overflowing with tourists and it is designed to cater to them with uninteresting pop music playing and a ‘beach theme’. Generally, this is something I would avoid but when in Rome…

I had the Little Stranger pale, on the right, my girlfriend the Rose’s Raspberry amber and to my delight, these were both really good! Her’s was a smidge thin, but had a nice raspberry thread running from the nose to the finish and just enough malt to keep it on the rails.

The Little Stranger can’t elude the NW IPA influence, but totally had a biscuit note at showed up post bitterness on the back end that affords the beer a high level of drinkable qualities. It’s nicely balanced, is what I’m trying to drive at and I think that the selection at Bill’s is broad enough to make most anyone happy for a pint or two. Recommended, if you can get in for a pint.

New To Me: Slingshot

Or, why I won’t go to Dusty’s.

Because I could go to Dusty’s. It’s on the way and just like the Slingshot, I’ve been there before. It’s local, right?

I’ll admit it, I just don’t want to and I need an excuse so here it is: not that long ago they had a sign painted on the windows, proudly displaying their broadcast of the “Cival War Game” between OSU and UofO. The girlfriend quipped that their version of windows must not come with spellcheck. Now, lord knows I am not one who should be too snobby about spelling errors but I want an excuse to not go there and now I have one.

It’s a very nice night to go for a walk though and it is a touch further down to the Slingshot for a pint. We even make a loop around Smokey’s to see what’s going on there, as the outside is being spruced up to look like a building you might want to enter, instead of something whitewashed on Tatooine. I get Caldera’s Dry Hop Orange, the lady has a Double Mountain pale and her choice is far better than mine.

It isn’t that the Caldera is bad, it just isn’t good, either. I don’t detect any orange notes and there isn’t a solid malt thread to prevent the bitterness at the end from being a bit too strong. Maybe this beer is a little old? It’s a rare disappointment from Caldera so I’m willing to give them the benefit of the doubt.

We spend most of our time in the side room where pool tables and local artwork abound. Although the night is nice enough to go outside, the outdoor tables are dominated by smokers so staying inside is a better option. Plus, it’s a little quieter in that room and far easier to talk about the paintings we like or don’t.

There’s quite a few very cool paintings, but the one I keep coming back to is a face portrait of Godzilla, except she has an expression not unlike the seal in this photo.

What can I say: that image makes me smile.

New To Me: Double Up Bar

The Double Up is the joint I passed on 82nd as I was going to the Lion’s Eye and thought, ‘Welp, I suppose that place counts, so I’d better go.’ Do I want to visit this bland shack? Not particularly but in the interest of giving everything a fair shake, I feel like I should. Plus, I wasn’t too thrilled to go to the Lion’s Eye and that place was awesome.

There are five people, including myself, in the Double Up. Two women serving bar, one short-haired, Asian and the other looks a bit like a spark plug, their conversation clearly indicating that one of them is about to end her shift soon, one older man, pencil mustache and flat arrowhead nose with the look of someone waiting for something, and a man at the video poker machines.

That’s it. At 8pm in the evening. How does a place like this exist if nobody ever comes in here? There is a menu posted on the wall, though. Maybe the food makes up for a lot?

I don’t see this as a restaurant, though and I can’t smell anything resembling food. I do see a flat screen with nine! different camera angles being displayed, shots from both inside and outside the bar.

I order a bottle of Ninkasi‘s Total Domination and it is served to me that way, no glass. I should have asked for one, because an IPA like this really needs to let the drinker get a sniff of it. In the bottle, I just get a whoooole lot of hop bitterness at the end and it’s making what is usually a very good beer a bit difficult to drink.

About then, another man comes in bearing Chinese take out, which he gives to the first. The gambling fellow leaves, his fortune given away to the laws of gambling. The two women continue talking, the one about to leave saying how she used to do some kind of “Power-walking, every day. 3, 5, 7 miles and then…”

“But isn’t it good for you?”

“Yes but you do the same thing every day for awhile and you just can’t do it anymore.”

I think about this as I sip on my IPA. I don’t really buy into her statement: I believe that when you stop doing the work then you end up looking like a spark plug, either internally or externally. You now need something else to fire, instead of making the effort to fire on your own.

Time to go home.

New To Me: Lion’s Eye

I am walking along 82nd, having just picked up my copy of The Last of Us, thinking; ‘Sometimes, I hate the fact that I’m online so much.’ Because if I wasn’t online so much, I wouldn’t know that the Lion’s Eye exists, and I wouldn’t have to walk to it for a beer.

Existing on the edge of what I will consider walking to, I considered ignoring it. Who would know? Nobody checks up on me. However, I feel like I have to challenge myself. This is the new neighborhood. If I don’t get out there, then I’m willfully ignoring part of the world that I don’t know about. That’s no way to live.

But goddamn is walking along 82nd depressing. I leave the strip mall and pass by a cemetery which is more cheerful than the bar & grill across the street. Nearly every business which is not a national chain is like this; worn down, as though the waves of cars passing by was slowly grinding them into smaller and uglier little shops, grimy and overly colorful at the same time. Or there are soulless, McDonalds-as-castle-walls chains; clean, flat surfaces without a trace of humanity to them.  The barrier between moving and living is here and it is ugly.

I see a couple more places I could drink at on the way to the Lion’s Eye and I discard most of them, as they are clearly restaurants of some kind with a bar attached/combo’d in. Nah. I see one Mexican food joint that looks like it’s housed in a tractor trailer. A part of me wants to go there; it is either going to be outstanding or I’m going to have to stay near a toilet, followed by a night of tequila shots. The risk seems worth it.

Very little gives me hope. 82nd just isn’t the kind of street people walk on. They wait for a bus or they get the hell away from it. I’m not crazy for wanting to be at home playing The Last of Us because who wants to stand out here?

So imagine my surprise when I walk in, sit down and catch this:

That’s JUST the beer menu.

Holy shit, this place is awesome. I don’t know what to do. There’s some country music on: actual country, not radio-friendly-unit-shifter stuff and my beer was served in a non-chilled glass. Seriously, what is a joint like this doing on 82nd?

I get Silver Moon’s Uncle Jim’s Maui Wowie double IPA. This beer is spiky with hops, almost too strong to drink. Yah, it’s a double IPA but still it doesn’t go down easy. I might be having a little trouble because the nose is difficult to pick up due to the air conditioning. Still, it’s a decent beer, even if I think I’d like it better if it was offset a little with some food (or just a better malt balance.)

A fellow named Mario is having trouble remembering if he had paid his tab from another night. There is something sweet here, though the scene is played more for laughs. The bartenders go through the motions of looking for his  tab but I think they’re just fucking with him, in a good way. They know who he is and whatever happened a couple nights ago involved women who may have left without paying their tab, the fellows stepping in to fix that. The ladies behind the bar? They are just amused.

I am starting to wish I could stay here a bit longer. Instead, I’ll just have to come back.

New To Me: Andy’s

As I approach the bar, a man is shouting at another who’s crossing the street about his validity to sell the chandelier he has nearby. “I have a home! On 60th and Foster!” This is meant to instill confidence, I suppose.

Andy’s is the kind of joint I have dreaded coming to. Hot as hell, a ramshackle build that reminds me of some kind of redneck carpentry: two buildings, maybe three, stapled together somehow, ceilings that feel so low patrons are either short or have an innate stoop to them. Most seem to be short. From the outside, it seemed both homogeneous and chaotic.

On the plus side, there are only two TVs displaying distraction: currently the NHL championship. On the down, there is a third screen that shows parts of the bar that cannot easily be seen. You’re on TV here…and I’m pretty sure that its less about keeping the bartenders informed and more about safety.

The only concession to craft beer are the bottles of Deschutes Black Butte porter and Widmer’s Hefe and O’Ryelly IPA on tap. I went with the O’Ryelly. It is pretty good, trying to strike a balance between the apricot flavors Widmer seems to push in their pales, and a bit of sticky pine.

After a  it of bellowing from the corner patrons, the bartender comes over to me to rinse a dishrag. She smiles at me and says, “I know, but they’re here eeeeevry day. But they good people!” Of course, I reply, why else keep them around? She laughs.

I step outside: there is a covered porch, in its own way as chaotic as the rest of the place and see this, stapled to a nearby tree:

I leave it to the reader to judge the rest.

New To Me: Cadigan’s

Cadigan’s Corner Bar used to be the Queen of Hearts, a biker bar that had a great deal of personality. With dark corners, the motorcycle motif everywhere on the walls, the Queen was a touch above skeezy in the best sort of way. You could come here and know you weren’t in your element but there wasn’t any real threat to you, so long as you were a decent human.

Then it changed and the last time I was there, all that personality had been stripped away. Generic beer signs, a pitiful beer selection; the best thing about the place was the cabinet behind the bar that kept the alcohol in it. Made of wood, beautifully designed and clearly old, it was a centerpiece in a room that had nothing to compliment it.

But it’s raining like hell this week and Cadigan’s is probably the closest pub for me to walk to, so I’m headed back for a Ninkasi Total Domination IPA. The beer is good, because they do good work. I’m not breaking new knowledge over your head with this one.

I’m pleased to way it’s got some personality now, with guitars and pictures of guitar gods on the walls. There’s a theme, an idea here to explore! The beer selection has improved too; it’s what I would expect from a Portland bar that wasn’t catering to beer freaks; Widmer, Ninkasi, Deschutes, Portland, the big dogs, essentially. The atmosphere is a bit too busy though, with three TVs competing with band performing on stage.

The band is far more interesting, fronted by a mohawked woman singing a lively blues, with a sax man wailing away. They would be better if the guitarist and sax player realized that they didn’t both have to solo in every song but such is life. Also: the world did not need a danceable version of “Another Brick In The Wall pt II“. It just didn’t.

Still, I like Cadigan’s a lot better now. The dance floor is small but it’s there and that means that occasionally the sweetie and I can go dancing without having to make a long trek from the house. Some days you have to take the sweetie dancing and at least in my case, it helps if I can have a couple beers and not worry about driving because I feel awkward about my dance skills. You know how it is.

New To Me: Gemini

I suppose I ought to tell the truth: the Gemini isn’t new to me. When we moved to the neighborhood, this was the first place we came to get a beer, after a heinous week of lifting boxes and putting dishes into cabinets. I remember they had Burnside’s Sweet Heat ale-a pale with jalapeno-on tap, which I avoided. I have never liked that beer and the reason this memory sticks out is because it never seemed to leave. I needed this beer to rotate, to have some other option available!

Someone has heard my pleas because the Sweet  Heat is finally gone. I opt for Coalition’s red ale, while lady had the Lolita, which is a margarita with pomegranate instead of lime. In truth, I think the Gemini is more of a cocktail place anyway, which means I have chosen..less wisely.

The red ale gives me a stronger bitter flavor as I go: that doesn’t seem right, especially since there’s no hop nose. It makes for an unbalanced ale which isn’t as pleasant to drink. Still, it seems like the first time in a while since I’ve gotten my beer in a non-chilled glass. That’s probably just me remembering the dive bars over the ones that know how to serve a beer.

The girlfriend sings “She’s Gone” along with the jukebox while noshing on chips. This is followed by something from the Ramones, which I bob my head to.

I like it.

No one is here now, yet it’s super lively on weekends. At the moment, it’s quiet enough that we can chat and hang out but I’ve also had a nice time when it is more rambunctious, sidestepping through crowds on New Years Eve, a DJ casting beats from the corner. I’ve been here enough times to know that the food is solid and getting free chips to munch on with your drink never sucks.

But I don’t think the Gemini is a beer place; it may not even be a pub in the way that I tend to think of these joints. It’s got a funky vibe to it with stained glass chandeliers out of the 70’s hanging around, giving everything a red velvet gloss to it. The staff is friendly and the Gemini seems to run at a neighborhood pace; just a little slower than you might expect, but with people who seem to get that you’re from ’round here, so take your time and enjoy.

New To Me: Bar Maven

For the first, and perhaps only time in this series, I get to go someplace that isn’t just new to me but new to the area.

Bar Maven used to be Knuckleheads, a biker bar that lasted about two years and before that was…some other biker bar, I think. It’s been scrubbed clean and is now reformed, no trace of motor oil, bluesy bar rock, chrome or overt manliness that might have dominated previously.

I get a Deschutes Chainbreaker IPA and the lady has a Session ale. My beer is interesting but odd, with an aroma like smoked lavender in the nose. I like it but it’s not for everyone.

It’s nice here, in a way that most bars in this area aren’t. The advantage of starting over after gutting the biker pedigree out, I suppose. There’s art for sale on the walls, the music isn’t too loud; it could almost be a date place. Hell, for my purposes it actually IS a date place. As a result, I spend a little less time absorbing the atmosphere than I do socializing with my girlfriend but we both agree that we’ll come back.

It is, I will confess, the kind of space that I hoped would open up when I moved into this area. It suggests that this area is trending upwards and will provide more interesting things to do in the future. Which is awesome.

But. But. I think of those dive bars I’ve been to and honestly, while they weren’t for me, they weren’t Mos Eisley, you know? They give this area some character and make it an interesting place now. They provide a home to someone, someones who make the world an interesting place. I would hate to see all of them disappear.

There has to be a way for the nice and the grimy to reasonably coexist. I live in a city: I expect weird people, homeless teens, men in suits that cost more than I make in a month, women who look at me like the underling that I am and all the other weird shit that comes from being in an awesome place. If I wanted to live in a city that had walls to keep the plebes out, I’d go to Europe.

But there has to be a way to provide a little something for everyone. Maybe Foster will be a cool template for how to get that to work.