Eugene Weekly : Best of Eugene : 2011-2012

Best of Eugene 2011-2012: Nightlife

Best Bar Food

1. Horsehead 99 W. Broadway. 683-3154.

2. Jackalope 453 Willamette St. 485-1519.

3. Sam Bond’s Garage 407 Blair Blvd. 343-2635.

Fried pickles, hush puppies, burgers and BLTs, Horsehead has just about everything — from fried to cheesy — to satisfy those late night munchies. And the more unique bar food is still kickin’ good — gooey mac and cheese, rice and beans, collard greens. And those nachos piled high with beans, green salsa, tomatoes, sour cream and guacamole are a sure-fire way to end any night, as long as you’re down with garlic breath!

Best Bar

photo by rob sydor •

1. Sam Bond’s Garage 407 Blair Blvd. 343-2635.

2. Horsehead 99 W. Broadway. 683-3154.

3. Izakaya Meiji 345 Van Buren St. 505-8804.

There are not enough good things to say about Sam Bond’s — and your votes indicate you feel the same. Monday night’s bingo night draws a killer crowd and everyone from smaller local bands to the big-timers continue to squeeze onto the small stage and jam at this Whiteaker bar. Plus the touch of serving drinks in jars (every drink is better out of an old jar) just makes Sam Bond’s feel all the more like home — well, like your garage at least. 

Best Beers on Tap

1. The Bier Stein 345 E. 11th Ave. 485-2437.

2. Ninkasi Brewery Tasting Room 272 Van Buren St. 344-2739.

3. 16 Tons 265 E 13th Ave. 345-2003.

Best Bouncer

photo by trask bedortha

1. Josh Finch, Horsehead 99 W. Broadway. 683-3154.

2. Erik Hartmann, formerly of The District

3. Jason Kronk, John Henry’s 77 W. Broadway. 342-3358.

A bouncer is a true man of the people. He must be a master mediator, capable of effectively using his words, his silence, his mere presence and if need be his superior fighting skills. Josh Finch, security manager at Horsehead, is this and more. Stand-up comedian, independent magazine editor and musician, Finch is one of the friendliest big scary guys around. He views bouncing as more of a “social networking gig” than a career, and he is damn good at it. We appreciate Finch for keeping it real and representing the late night socio-sentinels of Eugene.  

Best Designer Drinks

1. The Davis Restaurant & Bar 94 W. Broadway. 485-1124.

2. Izakaya Meiji 345 Van Buren St. 505-8804.

3. The Vintage 837 Lincoln St. 349-9181.

Davis’ drizzles out the best designer drinks, like the AZ 1070 made with jalapeño-infused vodka. Choose from a variety of delicious drinks on their bar menu or get to know your bartender like Rio, who will let you spin the proverbial — and imaginary — “Rio-lette” wheel and leave the fate of your drink in her hands. 

Best Happy Hour/Drink Specials

1. Starlight Lounge 830 Olive St. 343-3204.

2. Granary Pizza Co. 259 E. 5th Ave. 343-8488.

3. Izakaya Meiji 345 Van Buren St. 505-8804.

Starlight Lounge retains its title — and appropriately so, with drink specials like the daytime happy hour’s $2 white Russians (made with Crater Lake Vodka), local microbrews and Hinman wines (4 pm-7 pm). And really, where else can you go to get a $2 shot of Patron? Plus, Starlight gets bonus points for its cozy atmosphere, complete with dim lighting and plush velvet armchairs. 

Best Place to Sing Karaoke

1. Oak Street Speakeasy 915 Oak St. 284-4000.

2. Red Lion Inn 205 Coburg Rd. 342-5201.

3. Cornucopia 207 E. 5th Ave. 485-2676.

Best Local Brewery

1. Ninkasi Brewing 272 Van Buren St. 344-2739.

2. Oakshire Brewing 1055 Madera St. 688-4555.

3. Hop Valley Brewing Co. 980 Kruse Way, Spfd. 744-3330.

Best Open Mic

photo by todd cooper

1. Hot Mama’s Wings 420 (yes, 420, you stoner) W. 13th Ave. 653-9999.

2. (ménage-a-tie): Diablo’s 959 Pearl St., 343-2346, diabloseugene.comGranary Pizza Co. 259 E. 5th Ave., 343-8488; and Mulligan’s 2841 Willamette St., 484-1727.

Community, style and strong drinks are all that one can ask for in an open mic venue. Hot Mama’s delivers this and more. Being at the Hot Mama’s open mic feels like you stepped into a laidback party where all of your friends have the guts to get up on the microphone and throw down something special. Owner Michael Marzano and open-mic master of ceremonies Sal Salvatore have teamed up to make this weekly event a staple in the neighborhood. Whether you are an aspiring musician looking for your first bits of stage time, or a salty veteran of such affairs, Hot Mama’s on Tuesday nights is the place to be for open-mic festivities. We suggest ordering a “Weekly” (a ‘special, special, read-all-about-it’ raspberry and lemonade concoction) and sipping it slowly while you’re there.

Best Place to Drink Outside

photo by trask bedortha

1. Ninkasi Brewing 272 Van Buren St. 344-2739.

2. McMenamins North Bank 22 Club Rd. 342-5622.

3. Horsehead 99 W. Broadway. 683-3154.

It makes perfect sense: For the approximately 12 days per year that Eugeneans can drink outdoors without our hoodies and peacoats absorbing an ungodly amount of Northwest damp, we like to sip our favorite brewery’s products on its massive patio. Whether you want a classic Total Domination IPA or something that comes and goes, like Maiden the Shade or the always charming Sleigh’r — or maybe a little bit of everything — Ninkasi Brewery is there for you. We love it especially when it’s sunny and warm, and food carts and musicians share patio space with beer aficionados. When it rains, though, as it always eventually does, you can step inside and ogle the mountains of Ninkasi swag — or drink elsewhere in town, where you can find Eugene’s favorite beer just about everywhere, in bottles or on tap.


Best Bartender

photo by trask bedortha

1. Ty Connor, Horsehead 99 W. Broadway. 683-3154.

2. Don Mike, Granary Pizza Co. 259 E. 5th Ave. 343-8488.

3. Sommerfield Habener, Luckey’s Club Cigar Store 933 Olive St. 687-4643.

The best bartenders are more than just the people who bring you alcohol. They also need to be part friend and part psychologist. To achieve Ty Connor’s proprietary blend of personality, add in to the mix that he’s also a performer, gifted comedian, event host and the voice of the Emerald Valley Roller Girls. Frequently funny, always friendly, and prompt with that alcohol when you really need it. Perfect.

Best Place to Shake Your Moneymaker

photo by todd cooper

1. Cowfish 62 W. Broadway.

2. John Henry’s ‘80s Night 77 W. Broadway. 342-3358.

3. The District (closed)

Well, where else but Cowfish? Thinking about all the rambunctious birthdays, the spilled beer and the drunken dance floor takeovers, it’s difficult for us to remember not having fun at the Fish. There’s an eclectic mix of groovy tunes every night of the week, the drinks aren’t too pricy and the people inside are always down to show off and welcome new moves. Whether we’re moonwalking to Michael Jackson or just drunkenly stumbling about to dubstep music with strobe lights burning out our retinas, the Cowfish is always our fave moneymaker-shaker spot.









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