I had spent years traveling from Portland, Oregon, to Cannon Beach on the Pacific before I had the pleasure of stumbling on the small town of Seaside. Just eight miles from Cannon Beach, this little sliver of the Oregon coast is truly a tale of two cities.
Cannon Beach of course has Haystack Rock (of The Goonies fame) and arguably some of the most breathtaking views of the Pacific in the state, however, the town itself is a bit on what you might call the stuffy side.
Seaside, on the other hand, lacks the craggy beaches and (fortunately) also the pretension and semi-haughty air of its southern neighbor. Sometimes you’re not looking for the choicest seafood the area has to offer or the comforts and hospitality of a quaint bed and breakfast. No, sometimes all you really need in a weekend is a rented room and a worn path of watering holes. Yes folks, we’re talking about a good, old-fashioned pub crawl.
Where there’s a will there’s a way, and more importantly, where there’s enough booze to stagger an orca, there is most certainly a way. Here’s our tried and true pub crawl through sleepy Seaside, Oregon.
There are few things as wonderfully tacky as a themed bar or restaurant glaringly out of place. The Big Kahuna Pub and Grill is just that. The Big Kahuna is a Hawaiian tiki bar situated right on the main strip downtown. It’s the perfect spot to line your stomach before a boozy ballyhoo. The drinks are cheap, the bartenders are delightful, and the food is fine. They have all the pub grub staples and oyster shooters are a mere $1.50 a pop.
The JELL-O shots come in a plastic syringe. Don’t ask. As the saying goes, “you don’t watch how the sausage is made,” and you don’t ask questions at dive bars. There’s also a pretty epic Bloody Mary garnished with a shrimp skewer, a stick of jerky, and all the fixings for anyone looking to curb that hangover in advance.
Now that you’ve got a buzz going, it’s onto the next one.
One of the consistent fan favorites in Seaside is without a doubt a little spot called The Bridge Tender. Don’t be fooled by the weatherworn exterior. There’s more to this derelict wooden box than its splintery walls would foretell. The pool table is cheap, the jukebox has every song you’d drunkenly want to hear, and the drinks are stiff.
Continuing toward the Pacific and the main strip, there’s an arcade with all of the throwback jams and, yes, there’s a bar inside as well. Next door, there’s a Tilt-A-Whirl and a few bumper cars (at The Interstate Amusement Co.), if you’re so inclined and — if enough a booze is percolating at this juncture — you probably are.
If you didn’t get your fill on grub earlier, nearby there’s a Pronto Pup serving up corn dogs or “wieners dun in a bun,” as they call them. The bouquet of which is rumored to pair perfectly with the dregs of a Rainier, a Pacific Northwest staple.
Depending on how much you have left in the tank, the night can go in one of two directions: you can either pack it in and head for a pass-out or you can go for broke and chase the devil to the bottom of another pint.
By this time, most of the bars will be shutting down for the evening. The vast majority are closed by 11:00 p.m., even on the weekends (hello, sleepy Seaside). Don’t worry, the U Street Pub & Eatery, Ballou’s Beach Club Tavern, and Dundee’s are normally open fairly late if need be.
I personally chose to grab a couple tall boys from a 24-hour convenience store and took the crawl to the ocean. There’s usually enough dry driftwood at higher portions of the beach to start a nice little fire. If you kept your receipts all night, you should have enough kindling to get a fire roaring, just as the evening fog drifts in.