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Saturday, October 23, 2004
Restaurant review: Doug Fir Lounge
Normally, I don't care about whatever local club is driving the citizens of Portland's nightlife wild. In the case of the Doug Fir Lounge, I had to get a look. Created by one of the former owners of La Luna, the interior allegedly resembles a space-aged log cabin. A combination bar/club/restaurant, the Doug Fir is open "21 hours a day" and recently played host to a spur-of-the-moment Sleater Kinney show.
I made a trip over there on Wednesday night, not knowing what to expect. How do ironic hotspots work exactly? Would there be a cover charge? Bouncers that would turn me away once they got a look at my cargo pants? Would the glares of the Doug Fir's scensters prevent me from crossing the threshold? I meant them and their silky smooth hair enhanced with a variety of kiwi-based products no harm. All I wanted to do was get a peak at the architecture and a quick bite to eat.
The Doug Fir sits adjacent to the Jupiter Hotel, itself a Mecca of snobbery and hipster obsessiveness over low-rent culture. Only in a place like Portland could a diner and an old motel (not hotel) be suddenly deemed the city's premiere nightspot of the moment.
It was dark and pouring rain as I caught sight of a sign that said "parking, turn right." Instead of pointing towards a lot or a garage, the sign lead to a common space between the two businesses. Was this some sort of cruel booby-trap for the uninitiated? I eked forward before finally realizing that I was essentially driving on a sidewalk. To make matters worse, two guys dressed entirely in black outside one room (along with half the restaurant) sneered as I slowly pulled forward/backed up/pulled forward. After a few dozen seconds of mortification, I ducked onto Burnside.
In retrospect, I really should have backed into one of the Jupiter's large flower displays as I made my escape. Afterwards, I crept back across the river and washed away the embarrassment at the Blue Moon Tavern with a pint of wheat beer and a plate of high pasta.
I guess I'll never be cool enough to navigate, let alone feel comfortable, in a place like that. Nevertheless, abject humiliation isn't enough to keep me away. I will not rest until I enjoy a pint of Pabst "Haven't They Lost Interest In This Crappy Beer Yet" Blue Ribbon in the Doug Fir's wooden belly.
Rating for the moment: 0 out of 10 smugly-named cocktails.