Where do you go to have a drink?

Local trendsetters share where they go and what they order when they’re in the mood for a drink

Brian McWhorter

Conductor of Eugene’s OrchestraNext and a professor of trumpet at the University of Oregon School of Music and Dance

Close call between Rye and Izakaya Meiji — I like both places because of the dark, mysterious and (relatively) quiet vibe. But Izakaya wins because they’re open until 1 am — perfect for people in show business like me. Along with so many other bars in Eugene, Rye closes too damn early.

While I like the cocktails at both places, I generally like to settle down with a nice scotch — and both places have plenty of options for me. Just one icecube, please.

Kitty Piercy

Former Eugene mayor and inveterate arts advocate

We rarely go out for a mixed drink. However, we do enjoy the occasional festive Manhattan at Belly or Le Bar. We prepare some very nice cocktails for holiday dinners at home with friends. We just returned from Cuba, where the mojito cocktail appeared with every meal.

Sara Stockwell

Dancer with Eugene Ballet

Izakaya Meiji is probably my favorite bar in the area. The fact they’re open and serve food late enough to go there after evening rehearsals or performances is a huge plus. They also do a remarkable job with both; I’m always impressed by their consistency. The ambience is great, the playlist is varied and not too loud, and the staff is attentive, friendly and efficient.

I like trying new things and have never had a bad drink there, so I don’t actually have a go-to drink. The bourbon and ginger (made with house-pressed gingerade) is always a good choice though. And the Lion’s Tail (bourbon, pimento dram and citrus) is great.

Of course there are lots of other great places in Lane County, and like my drink order at Meiji, I like to vary where I go!

Richard Swift

Producer, singer, songwriter and keyboardist formerly with The Shins

Meiji in Eugene is my favorite. Really great drinks, food and environment. A friend of mine worked there and he made the best, most interesting margarita. Not too sweet and spritzed with mezcal on top. Rimmed with black lava salt too. The food there is great and very affordable.

Another friend of mine owns my two other favorites, The Axe and Fiddle in Cottage Grove and Planktown in Springfield. Both make great bloody marys and have a very mellow/comfortable environment.

Can’t lose with all three of these in my opinion.

Eugenia Slimesworth

Eugene’s Slug Queen

Favorite bar? The Horsehead.

Their patio is the best place in town for an elegant lady such as myself to get day-drunk.

Favorite drink there? Double gin-and-tonic. Best if served with a plate of fries or nachos.

Juan Carlos Valle

Activist, advocate for immigrants’ rights, and sometime Eugene City Council candidate

The Lounge [on River Road] is my local favorite. My favorite drink there is mojito.

It’s a place where you feel welcome. A place where there is no stress about finding parking. A place where a pool table is in the ready mode. A place where karaoke rooms delight your guests. A place where disco music and salsa music makes anyone want to move. A place where the bar and lounge area is hip and cool.

What’s unique about this bar is the mosaic of cultures and food they serve. You feel at home because you are at home. The owner is an Asian man, and his clientele are from many walks of life. Food is tasty and there is something for everyone.

Rachael McDonald

News host for Morning Edition at KLCC

I am not much of a barfly but I do have a few favorites. One is Isakaya Meiji. I love their bourbon and ginger. It’s consistently delicious, tart, bright and with just the right amount of pungent ginger. They also have yummy food and a fun atmosphere.

The Meiji fits in so well in the Whiteaker neighborhood and, although I’m not a night owl, they’re one of the few restaurants that stay open late in Eugene. Also, I have to give a shout out to Ty Connor. He doesn’t work at the Horsehead anymore. But when he did, he made a mean gin gimlet.

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