We sent Kim out onto the streets of Portland to find some dive bars worth their salt and return with something close to a highlight reel of her exploits. I know, what were we thinking?
Thank God we didn’t have to bail her out the next morning.
The “Even the walls are loud in here” dive
Highlights: An XX genetic pairing generally has its advantages in procuring alcohol, but volume and waving cash are queen at Yamhill.
Nothing warms the cockles of my late 20-something nostalgia like watching a boxing match as my grandparents did…on an old tube televisions.
Nothing like passing the time by exchanging slurred stories about Cuban prisons. Well, at least for Jose.
I don’t sell drugs, but if I did I’d have met my sales goals pretty quickly.
Décor: The legendary, obscene amounts of graffiti. It’s Portland, so toss in some PBR and Timbers paraphernalia.
Ambience: Loud and uninhibited. One guy gave me the finger as I took a video on my phone. I might have captured his soul.
Drinks: Mixers get the heavy hand. Alcohol? Maybe becoming a regular will get ya the 5-star treatment.
Stickiness: Don’t touch that.
Odor: You can cram a lot of body odor into 1,000 square feet.
Rating: 3 Middle Fingers in the Air out of a High Five
The Commodore Lounge
The “Functional and efficient” dive
Highlights: Cordially invited by a guy that had a tattoo of his mother on his left arm up to a balcony overlooking the city to a “perfect spot to shoot up heroin.” The deal was padded with $100. What more could a girl ask for?
Deep talks on high school and the perils of popularity are not to be missed.
Décor: Liquor license, four walls, a pool table, etc. What more do you want?
Ambience: Depressing. I haven’t heard more lackluster clinking of glasses and prosts since Cinci’ in the summer of ‘42.
Drinks: “Jesus. Are you trying to get me drunk?”
Odor: Dirt and stale booze. Fan-TASTIC!
Rating: 8 humming FANTASY neon signs out of 13
The “Is this whole place a bathroom?” dive
Highlights: “Please use other door due to extreme heat.” That should read, “Temporarily a wall,” right?
One of those moments where you hear dueling banjos as the bar top gives you that look like, “We don’t take kindly to strangers ‘round these parts.”
RC cola. No ice, low carbonation, lukewarm.
Clock in before you begin work on your shift at the video poker machine.
Stickiness: Lemme just peel myself off of this seat.
Odor: Urine. Strongly of urine.
Bathroom: Didn’t need to go that badly.
Rating: 3 “Do you smell that?” out of 8.
The “Eat, drink, and be…meh” dive
Highlights: Let me tell ya about that prime rib sammy…
The Wurlitzer of dive bars: A fully-functional, pristine cigarette machine…and the angels wept.
I don’t know if the bartender was bringing down the clientele or vice versa.
More of a place you end up rather than go to.
Décor: Lacking in luster, missing in muster.
Stickiness: Very. Don’t wear shorts if you plan on sitting.
Odor: Mildew and cigarette. Carpet may work in some places, but in a bar it is just a sponge.
Bathroom: A curtain for a stall divider. Really?
Rating: 2 pristine cigarette machines out of 6.
The “I don’t think this is the place” dive
Highlights: Patrons must have been smoking hash oil out of those vaporizers, so it reeked of pot. At this point, pot smelled heavenly in comparison to everything else.
All hail Pac-Man!
“Men’s” for the men’s room, but for the women? “Hey, Ladies…” Nice.
Décor: Bleak and pretty worn down.
Ambience: ‘Trough’ is in the name. What do you think?
Drinks: Putting for par.
Stickiness: Not that bad actually. Only needed a shower to get the smell off of me.
Odor: Pot and old carpeting.
Bathroom: What’s with the shower curtains, people? C’mon. Oh, and that fire hazard hanging from the ceiling just waiting for a gas leak.
Rating: 1 gallon of hash oil out of a room of vaporizers.