The Spare Room

The Spare Room (NE 42nd and Alberta) used to be a bowling alley, so legend tells us. Far far removed from the kingpin now, this northeast dancehall mecca sports two bars (one active), a fireplace in the pool room, karaoke, and video poker. With its mirrors, and twinkling lights, the Larry and Terri lounge act, and older crowd, I believe that this would be David Lynch’s favorite spot. By no means is that meant to disparage The Spare Room, but instead to highlight just how different it is. The beer selection lacks a bit, they do have a Jager chiller, some whiskies, some liquor concoctions, but who could ask for anything different? Ladies, be aware that on dancing nights, you quite likely will be asked to dance. Also, this is a smoking establishment. And watch your language…the bar manager lurks, and she’ll getcha. I do recommend getting by the Spare Room, and probably soon, because it looks like Larry and Terri are moving on to other endeavors, and I cannot speak to the replacement act. Yet. They play Thursday-Saturday, and either Wednesday (ladies night, I believe) or Sunday or both.

Tuesday is when I tend to find Karaoke there, the first time being last November for the election. What a sad, surreal day that was for me. Anyway, having left Everyday Wine, Kieran and I cruised up to The Spare Toom to drown our sorrows and watch the election coverage, in hopeless want of a change in the events. Half an hour into the same same more more coverage on ABC or whoever, a lady with a US flag came and commandeered our television, apologetically. Karaokee was beginning. While not up for singing myself, nor was Kieran, some stalwort folk busted out some truly memorable Karaokee. Most notable was the sweet older lady sqeaking out The Candyman Can. At a point we laughed, I klnow it sounds terrible and rude, but the absurdity of the situation truly overtook us. We applauded, nearly in tears for sadness and sideways. All had a good time. I was surprised at how sympathetic to our cause the bar denizens were.

The Marathon Taverna

Don’t forget your ID if you’re planning to grab the Marathon’s cheap gyros after a Timber’s game, there’s no getting past the gatekeeper. This divey bar on W Burnside has provided many a good time to me, my friends, and complete strangers. The space is immense, providing room for a sports bar area focused on the big three–football, baseball, and basketball–and generally populated by a different cultural subsection than I tend to run in. Around the corner are tables, then pool tables, and the television is more likely to be showing ‘alternative’ sports like soccer, Aussie rules football, or Formula racing. They try to run a pretty tight ship at the Marathon, but it’s definitely happened that people got a bit rowdy from time to time, though I’ve never seen a brawl there. I recall one time I was helping my buddy Adrian celebrate his birthday, and for some reason it seemed like a good ide to pick him up, causing him to grab the table, and the rest is history. Or at least everything that was on the table is. Good times, for sure.

I mentioned the Gyros earlier. For like $4-5 your drunken self can obtain the wonderful combination of a gyro and fries to fuel further adventures. With bread, thin meat, veggies, tzatziki, and feta, it’s really all you need to conquer the world. Well, you might need a second if you’re that ambitious.

The Marathon is a full bar, so they’ve got liquor and probably crappy wine in addition to their decent beer selection. I’m not thinking of any surprises in the tap selection, but they have a thorough selection of the downtown standbys, like Mirror Pond, Sierra Nevada Pale Ale, and Widmer Hefeweisen.

Often times, people will play entire albums on the jukebox. The tunes tend towards hard rock, which is well within my realm of acceptable tunes, and a fair amount of what the radio terms alternative music. The Marathon is located at about W Burnside and 18th. Check it out, but don’t wear something you mind getting smoky. Best enjoyed in groups.

The Rialto

Pool tables, beer, vast, smokie. That’s the Rialto I’ve known for years. At the corner of 4th and Morrison in SW Portland, the Rialto has always been a favorite spot for the after work pint, as well as some late night grub and pool (and beer). Some year or so ago they closed the place to do some renovations, and I got to visit again for the first time in ages. Some preliminary thoughts follow. It feels smaller to me, and has fewer tables. I’m probably crazy though. The bar is pushed up to the north edge. There are doors on the stalls in the men’s bathrooms, so I figure they’ve priced out the heroin addicts who would nod or die in there. Or maybe they aren’t afraid of the new meth-head thing dropping needles and dying in the can. Two Golden Tee machines and the EA Sports golf game. GT Live ripped us off $4 the bastard. The pool tables look to be the big sub-regulation size (ie, smaller then real, bigger than bar)….didn’t check the prices. The beer selection is the standard downtown selection. Didn’t try the food cuz it was pretty late and I wasn’t hungry. It felt different…way different. The seediness is gone, it feels more like XV. Not sure how that is. So, those are my impressions. My opinion is that I’ll be back, but I miss the old Rialto. It doesn’t feel like the friendly place it was. Not that it was that friendly, but it kinda felt like it was.

The Moon via Google

thx anners for sending me this sweet link from google–it’s the moon!. The first manned lunar landing (remember that game) was 36 years ago today – Apollo 11. Make sure to zoom all the way in, the surface detail is remarkable!

Disaster Strikes

Today had been going pretty well until Fritz sent me this. Let’s just hope that we never face something like this again. The shattered dreams, broken souls, where are they now?

Beer Disaster