The Finale – Part IV of Thebeerchaser Does the Central Oregon Coast


The Cruise Inn in Lincoln City - not the Holland America line, but a good bar

The Cruise Inn in Lincoln City – not the Holland America line, but a good bar

We concluded our time on the Central Oregon coast at some bars with real character back in Lincoln City after two days visiting the bars below. The journey started at Lumpy’s Landing in Dundee, which was followed by:

The Old Oregon Saloon, the Nauti Mermaid Bar and Bistro, the Cruise Inn and Road House 101 in Lincoln City

The Pelican Brew Pub, the Oar House and the Sportsman Pub and Grub in Pacific City

The Bay Haven Inn, Mad Dog Country Tavern and Hoover’s in Newport

The Tidal Pool in Depoe Bay

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The bar at the Cruise Inn

The Cruise Inn – only a block away from the Old O, is right on Highway 101 in the heart of Lincoln City in an old and somewhat ramshackle pale-blue (for the ocean??) building with what appears to be an ocean liner painted on the side.

Having been on an Alaska Cruise earlier this summer, I can say it was not comparable to Holland America’s Statendam, but a colorful bar with some lively regulars inside.  And how can you lose when you can buy three beers for $8.25.

This set is in the back room after you pass the bar........

This set is in the back room after you pass the bar……..

You could have some great conversation with the regulars as you came in – or pass the bar in a manner of speaking – and go into the back room for a game of pool or to resolve your legal issues using the ten-volume set of American Jurisprudence Legal Forms  – 22,000 legal documents.  What better place to review a stock-purchase agreement or make revisions to a spousal indemnification for joint tax return, than in a coastal dive bar?

And right across the street was another favorite – the Naughty Mermaid, which according to the outspoken and experienced bartender, Di, had previously been home to a lending library, John’s Market, a donation store and finally a second-hand store before it became a bar.P1020711


Di, a fixture in Lincoln City since 1986, has also poured beers in the Old O and the Cruise Inn before taking a job in a bar with a racier name and decorations…..

Di - an experienced bartender with stories to tell...

Di – an experienced bartender with stories to tell…


The presence of an impressive piano on the stage, is explained by the second owner of the Mermaid, who was a classically trained pianist and would not play in public.

Di said that he would come into the bar and practice each morning. There are numerous interesting 33 LP covers hung on the wall in the entertainment area, including artists such as Van Cliburn and Tennessee Ernie Ford, which reflect the owner’s avocation.

Van Cliburn and others....

Van Cliburn and others….

Let's I want Hemingway, Steinbeck or Danielle Steele?

Let’s see…do I want Hemingway, Steinbeck or Danielle Steele?

Although there are no legal forms, if you want to drink your beer while reading, you can sit in a nice over-stuffed chair and borrow a book from the Mermaid’s library.

And like any good coastal dive bar, there are a lot of tacky beach-related knick knacks – such as an ivory sea horse, a scary gargoyle and the descriptive sign on the ladies bathroom.

This mermaid does, in fact, look naughty...

This mermaid does, in fact, look naughty…


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A possible museum piece?

A possible museum piece?







One of the regulars at the Naughty Mermaid...

One of the regulars at the Naughty Mermaid…



And finally, in Taft – the very southern part of Lincoln City – right near Mo’s Seafood, is the Snug Harbor Bar and Grill, an historic bar which Matt Love describes in his blog:

“….exquisitely upholstered red vinyl bar and the thick elevated round tables that have coiled rope around the base….(with a layout) refreshingly atypical for the coast drinking scene: rectangular, narrow, then a step down to a triangular annex where the pool tables and library are (a library appears to be a standard amenity in Lincoln City bars…..)”

A Taft landmark

A Taft landmark

Snug Harbor also has an impressive deck on the second floor which would be a great place to relax over a beer on one of the few balmy days at the Oregon coast.             P1020691

Maybe this was Paul Newman's machine....

Maybe this was Paul Newman’s machine….

There are some great decorations including a gigantic chain saw and some posters including the one below that describes the Redhead Round-up.



According to a Taft Historic District blog, “The first annual Redhead Roundup, originated by Taft Resident Manville Robison (a red-head himself), was held on August 23, 1931 and lasted into the 1940s. The beauty pageant culminated each year in the crowning of a Redhead Queen and King Eric the Red.  Decked out with banners and posters.

Where is Lindsay Lohan, when she could be useful?

Where is Lindsay Lohan, when she could be useful?

Taft was a festive scene, its hotels and rental cottages full, its streets lined with cars and busloads of people from near and far.”

Evidently, there was an effort to revive this tradition in 2011, based on the following appeal: “Redheads unite during the 2011 Redhead Round-Up and Photo Contest! Send in your best redhead picture in one of our fantastic ginger loving divisions including: curliest red hair, most freckled redhead, redheaded pet and more!”

Thebeerchaser will "regress" to gin martinis when steak is on the menu

Thebeerchaser will “regress” to gin martinis when steak is on the menu


A "Goodwill" gesture...

A “Goodwill” gesture…

As we returned to our shelter for the last night, we realized that we had no grill, but a strong desire for red meat – like in steak!

We reveled in our in resourcefulness after we rigged up the contraption below with a grate – purchased at the local Good Will store for $4.50 –  and some coastal rocks for a platform.  The end result is shown in the photos.

P1020708So what were the highlights of the coast trip and were there any trends we could identify from the 13 establishments we visited in the 3.5 days.

  1. 1.  Great bartenders
  2. 2.   Old and idiosyncratic buildings with hallways and side rooms that add to the character.
  3. Great stories from the regulars reinforced by the memorabilia “decorating” the bars.
  4. 3.  Steve’s affection for old-school beer – “Beer that you can see through….”        

    Translucent beer??

    Translucent beer??


4.  Steak and Tide Pool Bar pizza

5.  Dave’s erudition, reflecting his career as an educator, “Remember guys – ‘i’ before ‘e’ except after ‘c’ – and  Budwieser.”

And although it was not a highlight, one ubiquitous presence  –  video poker and slots as a revenue generator. We saw this first-hand at Lumpy’s, the Mad Dog and Hoovers when patrons with morbid intensity, each tossed away big bucks in record time.

This fact has had a negative impact on the bar environment as passionately stated by Matt Love.   While I wouldn’t go as far as Matt in his final blog post.  He asserts that the lottery has led to the death of bars.  While we may not accept that premise in its entirety, we did see that it has led to a degradation of their character:


The video poker sign above the name may be one reason this venue is now mediocre and lacks character

A death knell??

I love these taverns, so much in fact, that six years ago I began writing about the ones on the Oregon Coast where I live.…(in his excellent blog  After all this exploration, doubtless I am an expert on Oregon taverns. Thus, it is with sadness that I declare the unique cultural institution of the independent Oregon tavern is dead.

The state of Oregon seriously wounded it with video poker, and more recently with the introduction of line games, (slots) killed it altogether.….In 1991 when the Oregon Legislature directed the Oregon Lottery to allow video poker in taverns and bars… was a frenzy.

Then in 2005, line games were introduced into Oregon’s taverns and bars…..Sure, the pool and darts continue, but these taverns are not the same, and I know because I drank beer in them before they were enlisted by the state to raise revenue from the pockets of vulnerable, occasionally inebriated people.   What is especially sad is to have witnessed how video poker slowly transformed taverns from gritty bastions of independence into de facto tax collectors for the state….Rest in peace Oregon tavern.”

Notwithstanding the video poker issue, the three of us were so enamored with the coastal bars – they reinforced the enjoyment of our tour last summer of Eastern Oregon watering holes – that we ended by dreaming of a road trip next summer.

Perhaps it will be Montana or better yet, Wyoming, where Steve and his wife, Babs, taught school for many years in Thermopolis, (“A past to behold and a future to uphold.”) and can attest to the culture – one consistent with Beerchasing.  For example, at the Safari Lounge or Shirley’s Bar – Steve’s favorite bars – and the latter, one of the few watering holes I know with a drive-in window for customers on the run.



These may have been replaced by Loonie’s Bin and the Flying Dutchman on Highway 20, which “…is the place to do it. The drinks are strong, the atmosphere laid back and welcoming,”  but some interesting bars need exploration.

And if we don’t find the right bar in Thermopolis, we can take a short hop to East Thermoplis and find a viable alternative.

That said, with its range of options, Thermopolis should maintain our interest with attractions  –  such as the Wyoming Dinosaur Center, a blue-ribbon trout stream (the Big Horn River), the breathtaking Wind River Canyon, world-class waterfowl and big game hunting.”

We’ll report to you next summer.

Thebeerchaser Does the Central Oregon Coast – Part I

2012-07-10 20.55.21Last year, Thebeerchaser, joined by friends Dave Booher and Steve Larson, toured Eastern Oregon for four days visiting bars, taverns and pubs from Madras and Prineville to Baker City, LaGrande to Burns – our favorite on the trip was the Central Pastime Tavern in Burns. (the link is to the review in   2013)

The Central Pastime in 2013

2013 – The Central Pastime in Burns

Although Thebeerchaser Tour of Portland Bars, Taverns and Pubs was originally confined to just the City of Roses, it has evolved — there have been posts on venues in Alaska, Europe and Eastern Oregon.  We decided to tour the Central Oregon Coast (Pacific City to Newport) where we visited thirteen wonderful watering holes in 3.5 days.

Note:   To digress slightly, I am pleased to report that Thebeerchaser Blog on September 19th surpassed 35,000 views since its inception in August 2011.  Views in the last several months have averaged 1,500 and twice exceeded 2,000 and those interested in bars visit this site from countries all over the world.

For example, stats for the last two days show visitors from ten countries outside of the US including Brazil, the Russian Federation, New Zealand, Columbia, the United Kingdom, Sweden, Lebanon, etc.  Perhaps future Beerchaser visits will hit watering holes in all of those countries!  These are not spam, but people doing Google searches about bars, Bad Frog BeerBeerchaser-of-the-Quarter such as author Brian Doyle, Mayor of the Dalles, Steve Lawrence and appellate lawyer, Jack Faust, etc.

Revisiting the venue where Thebeerchaser idea originated

Revisiting the venue where Thebeerchaser idea originated

On the way to the coast, we stopped for lunch and a brewski at  Lumpy’s Landing in Dundee – the bar that spurred the idea for Thebeerchaser Tour four years ago when I decided to have nachos and a PBR with the locals. 

I left pondering the premise — each bar has its own ambiance, history and regulars that deserve narration.  Lumpy’s – known for its clever signs (see below), its burgers, live weekend music and colorful locals as evidenced by the dialogue we heard from two of them while we drank our $2.50 PBR Tall-boys and chowed down delicious burgers and hot dogs (they ran out of sauerkraut..).  

Lumpy's Philosophy

Lumpy’s Philosophy

Local No. 1: “I’m really dragging today – just worn out.”

Local No. 2 – “You can’t stay here all day – you need some exercise.  You need to get up and go to another bar.”

An engineering marvel - The Spruce Goose

An engineering marvel – The Spruce Goose




We added another stop on the way to Lincoln City – the  Evergreen Aviation and Space Museum in McMinnville – and if you have never visited that incredible display of aviation history – you should do so before the bankruptcy of Evergreen International Inc. results in changes.  


Which one is Tom Cruise???

Oh wait - that's the Spirit of St. Louis made of Coors Light cans in the Sportsman Pub in Pacific City - not the Evergreen Museum.

Oh wait – that’s the Spirit of St. Louis made of Coors Light cans in the Sportsman Pub in Pacific City – not the Evergreen Museum.


Our three hours there were magnificent, including an iMax screening of a D-Day movie.  Hundreds of planes from early gliders to a B-17 Flying Fortress, to jets, to a Titan II booster rocket  and historical exhibits which will enthrall you.

The Old O

The Old O

We hit Lincoln City in the early evening and our first visit was right in Lincoln City on Highway 101 – the Old Oregon Tavern.  Now before we start relating our adventures in this pub, Thebeerchaser needs to give credit to a comrade-in-arms, of sorts.

That would be Matt Love, a former Lincoln City teacher, who for a number of years had a wonderful blog about bars on the Oregon coast – a Beerchaser-on-the-Shore.  He now lives in Astoria and discontinued his blog in 2004, but has written several books.  You should check out “Let it Pour” with the link since a number of venues are still active and he has great reviews.

The Old Oregon - Let the Good Times Roll

The Old Oregon – Let the Good Times Roll

I came across his blog when researching our trip and his descriptions of many of the places we hit are wonderful and compelling.   For example, this excerpt from his post on The Old Oregon Tavern:

“(It’s) a damn fine gritty place to drink beer – a lot of beer….The regulars call it The Old O and after spending time there over the years, I feel it is not too outrageous to suggest the nickname stands not only for The Old Oregon Tavern in Lincoln City — which it does — but really some of the patrons’ last long ago orgasm.  Maybe the Johnson Administration.


Well maybe Carter or Reagan....but not Johnson..!

Well maybe Carter or Reagan….but not Johnson..!


The interior of the Old O reflects the taste of the owners and its rich history as a tavern.  According to one patron who smoked cigarettes (Matt wrote this before the 2009 law banning smoking) and drank beer while attached to a portable oxygen tank, the joint dates to World War II, but maybe earlier.”

Nancy, the bartender who has worked there for two years, told us that they had thirteen beers on tap.  She also said the building was once Johnson’s Ice Cream Parlor.  It has regulars playing pool, all of the great signs and mementoes that make a great old bar including some old peace signs – also from the Johnson era – and if you visit, make it on Tye Dye Tuesday.   P1020578

Not to be taken literally....

Not to be taken literally….

And we noticed the planned wake for one of the regulars, Rod Dollar, who Nancy said had died suddenly of a heart attack.  The sign beckoned his friends to “Come in and have a drink on Ron,” which we assumed was not to be taken literally since he had been buried the week before.



 We met our first regular when a burly old guy with a white beard limped in and sat in the back.  Nancy told us he was “Irish Mike McKenna,” and he was the “Local Ambassador,” for the Old O.

Irish Mike ordered a beer and just sat back and observed.  I was wandering around and taking a bunch of pictures after we ordered our Rusty Truck IPA (very good – see below).



I looked back and Irish Mike was motioning for me to come see him which made me very nervous since I thought he was going to either yell at me or kick me out for taking pictures


As I headed back, he took a few bucks out of his wallet and handed me $2 when I got to him.  He smiled and said, “It’s your turn to pick the song on the juke-box — Don’t screw it up!” 

Irish Mike and Thebeerchaser at the Old O

Irish Mike and Thebeerchaser at the Old O

Now a number of the bars we would visit in the next few days would have music collections that made one cringe.  

As one crime novelist wrote, You could chose between bad songs and terrible songs on the jukebox – a breathtaking array of pop hits, from the seventies, such as ‘Muskrat Love,’ that burrowed into you like a tick…”  And selecting a Captain and Tenille song at the Old O might have caused a ruckus.

But the Old O’s music locker rocked…..My first pick was Tom Petty’sAmerican Girl,” followed by the Eagles, “Take it Easy.”  Irish Mike seemed to approve (which pleased me a lot) and we left The Old O and its appropriate motto – “Where friends and family meet,” and headed south on 101.   

Where Friends and Family Meet.

Where Friends and Family Meet.

Tune in to Part II of the coastal journey as we hit Road House 101 – also in Lincoln City and home to the Rusty Truck Brewery which makes some good beers and a pub that has some great grub.


Lumpy’s Landing                       975 N Highway 99W  Dundee

The Old Oregon Saloon                 1604 NE Highway 101   Lincoln City