NEWS YOU CAN USE
Covering 160 miles of Oregon coast
travel: Seaside, Cannon Beach, Manzanita, Nehalem, Wheeler, Rockaway,
Garibaldi, Tillamook, Oceanside, Pacific City, Lincoln City, Depoe
Bay, Newport, Wadport, Yachats & Florence.
Oregon's Kooky Coastal Bar Scene
– From fine to funky; from the dives to the divine and upscale
- Oregon's coast is full of some interesting and truly unique bar
As summer approaches,
and the tourist season begins to hit full throttle, BeachConnection.net
provides readers with this roundup of the fun, freaky and the just
plain nifty in the bar scene that’s on the edge of the continent.
Whether you be a college student on summer vacation or a group of
twentysomethings looking for a rollicking good time on a coastal
jaunt, the really hip part of your beach vacation is about to start.
in Lincoln City
biggest party town on the coast is Lincoln
City, in spite of Seaside being Oregon’s spring break
capitol. It’s in Lincoln City where you’ll find the
smokin’ live music hotspot of Roadhouse
101. Here, the bar is alive with the sound of blues music, rock
‘n’ roll and the odd acoustic set of such Oregon artistic
gems as Portland alterna-blues-folkie Beth Willis. The giant ceiling
and woodsy walls bring the place a wide open feel, and the place
has recently been catapulted into a new level of popularity by new
owners and a fantastic remodel which has seriously brought new life
to this place.
Drinks are decently
priced, the service is great and the atmosphere and crowd are loads
of fun. It’s a nice mix of tourists and locals as well, adding
to the pleasures here. 4649 SW Hwy 101. (541) 994-7729.
Just down the
street a couple blocks, the wacky dive Snug Harbor is full of strange
wonders and freaky delights – usually in the offbeat behavior
of the fun-lovin’, hard-livin’ local regulars. A host
of kooky characters often inhabit this place, like the guy who shows
up in partial drag or in a long coat with shorts underneath, looking
like he might be a flasher until he unbuttons and reveals there
are indeed pants underneath. It’s obviously been discovered
by some of Portland’s hipster glitterati, as someone occasionally
drops copies of The Portland Mercury there. Yet with all its kookiness,
the food is truly fabulous and the bartenders (such as the effervescent
all-around-cool-guy Sommerset) are a kick in the pants. 5001 SW
Hwy 101. (541) 996-4976.
Up closer to
the northern end of Lincoln City, another fun hotspot is Maxwell’s,
which offers karaoke every night of the week. It too is an interesting
mix of friendly locals and tourists, resulting in plenty of off-kilter
moments. 1643 NW Highway 101, Lincoln City. (541) 994-8100.
The thing that
sets Lincoln City’s bar scene apart from the rest of the coast
is a decent helping of young Portland expatriates who live there,
more so than most villages on the beach. They always add a hip slant
of frivolity and social tolerance you don’t always get in
all the locals.
Seaside, there are quite a number
of bars for such a small town. Girtle’s has its interesting
and inadvertently humorous moments on the dance floor, and it’s
one of the last bastions of that now mostly extinct genre of the
Top 40 cover band. That says a lot, right there. 311 Broadway. (503)
next door, Pudgy’s is somewhere between a freaky dive and
an upscale lounge, with a delightful kitsch embedded just beneath
the surface of the more tailored parts of its décor. It’s
pretty and yet a little kooky. It was once nicknamed the “Star
Trek bar” until a few years ago, when it (unfortunately) softened
its more retro edges a bit. 227 Broadway. (503) 738-8330.
There is also
the Shilo Inn’s bar at the top of Broadway, and Goose Hollow
at the Cove (at the southern end of town) is a serious downhome
gem – from the family of former Portland mayor Bud Clark,
who brought you Portland’s legendary Goose Hollow.
House, Cannon Beach
Beach, the Warren House Pub could possibly be the coolest bar
on the entire coast, where the town’s sizable population of
twentysomething Portland expatriates gather nightly. Seriously fun
conversation, great service, interesting drinks and fabulous food
are always on tap here. 3301 South Hemlock. (503) 436-1130.
Down the road
almost 20 miles, in the Nehalem Bay
area, you’ll find the San Dune Pub in Manzanita. This
non-smoking wonder features live music, mostly in the summer months,
and copious amounts of friendly and entertaining locals. In fact,
this area is known for its pleasant and interesting residents and
part time residents, which definitely come out at night throughout
the Nehalem Bay. Laneda Ave. (503) 368-5080.
also on the bay, Sea Shack and Guido’s Ristorante are two
gems as well. Sea Shack, with its gorgeous bay view visible in the
daylight hours, is perfect for watching sunsets reflect on the bay.
At night, the staff is fun and amusing and drinks are potent. Wheeler.
is more of a restaurant and usually closes by 9 p.m., but it has
by far the most happening retro bar interior in its lounge in the
back. If the place was in Portland, it would be enormously popular
with its nearly-Mafioso décor and serious old school lounge
feel. (Picture Dante’s meets Space Room.) This is one bar
to keep your eye on. (503) 368-7778.
Pool, Depoe Bay
Down in Depoe
Bay, the Tide Pool is a major jewel – albeit a somewhat secret
one - with excellent drinks, super friendly locals and tourists,
and a thoroughly entertaining staff. The front half of the bar is
wooded and rustic, but the totally trippy and loungy lounge in the
back is the real star. They’ve got a varied and interesting
jukebox that kicks the asses of most jukeboxes in Portland, and
the décor is maritime retro – a glorious, slightly
oddball mix of “Finding Nemo” and that “Cocktail
Nation” icon flick, “Swingers.” 502 NE Hwy. 101,
Depoe Bay. (541) 765-4346.
in Newport, Blu Cork Wine Bar
is a monster on the bar scene on the entire coast – but for
markedly different reasons than most bars. A superior and inventive
wine selection is augmented by the owners’ thorough knowledge
of the nectar, and a beautiful interior that is completely classy
yet relaxed and beachy. Live music on weekend nights, often in the
jazz vein (and also featuring Beth Willis) has made this place rather
legendary and packed almost all the time. 613 SW Third Street, Newport.
Yachats, the Landmark Lounge
is a kooky delight that nearly goes beyond words: a dive with a
decidedly eclectic décor and some serious live music from
around the state, such as John Shipe and Big Island Shindig. Especially
around the stage, the decorations from each holiday remain, with
St. Patty’s Day, Christmas, Halloween and God knows what else
piling up on top of each other. It’s a little like the set
of “Nightmare Before Christmas” at times, and gleefully
odd. Their food is phenomenal as well. (541) 547-5459.
For a complete
list of coastal bars from Seaside to Florence - some 160 miles -
see Beach Connection's Coastal