Friday, November 30, 2007


This is The Alibi, my neighborhood tiki bar. Usually I go to sing karaoke in the back room, where they provide free leis, deep U-shaped vinyl booths, and a sound mix that is 80% vocals and 20% tinny backing track. Plus the mic has a sweet spot that if you don't hit it, your voice drops out. So maybe that's not so much a sweet spot as an only-spot. Hint: it's in the dent.

I went the other night with one of my favorite new Portlanders, Donal. We stayed in the front part of the bar, which is way tiki-er and older than the back. There are palm trees and Xmas lights and a waterfall and a fireplace and huge candy-colored drinks that are so sweet your tongue hurts. And deep-fried macaroni and cheese wedges, which sound totally trashy but are crispy golden on the outside and silky and creamy on the inside.

That's Donal's reflection.

Also, did you know that Portland has a gay sports bar? It's called Joq's. Green carpet, glossy oak barstools, televisions, pool table, men in crewneck sweatshirts. If you want a taste of Midwest suburbia (with a twist!), I recommend it. Otherwise, skip to Starky's, a windowless diner/bar which looks on the outside like a weird suburban steakhouse from the '70s, and on the inside, as Donal and Michael aptly put it, like a 1980s airport lounge. Mauve walls and brass trim and lots of pencil art. And the sweet white-mustachioed bartender is the gay great-uncle you never had.

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