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Right after September 11, the Clatsop County Sheriff made a modest proposal: to thwart terrorism on the North Oregon Coast, local, armed, untrained, unemployed men should be marshaled into volunteer security patrols to protect vital installations or apprehend fiends. The idea died, as most insane and quasi-vigilante ideas do in this country, but reading about the Sheriff's Law and Order nocturnal emission fantasy provoked several questions: suppose we really had to protect vital installations here? What would make the list? One top priority would certainly have to be defending places that raise morale for the soldiers and civilians by serving lots and lots of liquid courage. One such place that might be tops on the list is Buoy 9 Restaurant and Lounge on Pacific Drive in Hammond. It must be secured at all costs, no matter how many civil liberties we forfeit to Herr Ashcroft, for the great drinking hole it is. It's not much from the outside, but anytime a customer enters a lounge hearing Gerry Rafferty's "Baker Street," I'm gonna give up the booze and the one night stands...settle down in some quiet little town, and forget about every thing, then the seasoned tippler knows the time is right for drinking in the seats. In Buoy 9's case, that means thick, comfortable wood chairs that can easily hold together in hand-to-hand combat to repel any would-be invaders. It's hard to begin where to describe the interior. There are the utterly cool Hamm's American Bear and Coor's Nature Series mirror collections that would look great in any Street of Dreams mansion. There's the exquisite miniature NFL football helmet collection and the model ships and the miniature lighthouses. I like the big blast overhead heaters, the natural light, video poker machines, and the tide clock too. But what truly distinguishes the decoration is the poster advertising how to adopt a pet from the local shelter--something I've never seen in any bar or tavern--in the world--and it warmed my heart much better than a double Wild Turkey. As for Buoy 9's food, I can't recall a coast joint with better tasting, reasonably priced fare. All of it is delicious and prepared with care. They don't rely on the throbbing Hot Mama sausages to satisfy OLCC regs here. The menu also offers a blackberry pie so heavenly it might induce treason if expertly plied. The beer is good too and the liquor selection adequate. "We move a lot of vodka here," said the waitress. That's especially true when Ft. Stevens State Mega Park is crammed full of summer people who drive hours to the beach and then end up in the closest bar. They could go somewhere else, but Buoy 9 calls them like a voluptuous mesmerizing siren who knows how to make a stiff bloody Mary and deliver a slow ride. And as the waitress also said, "We have no competition." It opens at 7:00 a.m., seven days a week. Talk about great for morale.
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