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location:lincoln city

The regulars call it the Old O and after spending time there over the years, I feel it's not too outrageous to suggest the nickname stands not for the Old Oregon Tavern in Lincoln City--which it does--but really, some of the patrons last, long ago orgasm. Maybe in the Johnson Administration. These folks like to drink beer and the Old O, right smack in the middle of a stretch of 101 that former governor Mark Hatfield dubbed the "miserable 20 miles" of the Oregon Coast, is a damn fine gritty place to drink beer--a lot of beer. "The hours are from 7 a.m. to 2:30 a.m. because "those are the fucking legal drinking hours," says bartender and aspiring poet Beth about the Old Oregon. Having driven past the joint in the early morning on several occasions, I can report there are customers at dawn. Even though breakfast isn't officially on the menu, which features surprisingly hearty and hand prepared food, Beth can whip up sturdy eggs, hash browns and toast with a liquid side of Pabst if necessary to start (or end) a day on the Oregon Coast. The interior of the Old O reflects the eccentric taste of the owners and its rich history as a tavern. According to one patron who smoked cigarettes and drank beer while attached to a portable oxygen tank, the joint dates to World War II, but maybe earlier. There is a 12-foot Anaconda skin hanging over the entrance, a mysterious oil paining of an exotic nude woman, Harley memorabilia (the tavern is an obligatory stop on the annual Coast Run) three jukeboxes (two don't work), two advertisements for taxis, and a weird pole carving guarding the restrooms that appears to be a drunken gnome. The Old O also has two pool tables, cable TV sports, video poker, a skylight, a few micro brews, a huge glass fridge, a new liquor license, Bud longnecks, big windows and the most pinball machines I've seen in any tavern on the Oregon Coast. Infrequently there is live music, strictly biscuits and gravy Rock and Roll, but mostly the CD jukebox cranks out the tunes and the selections blew my mind: Hot Rocks by the Stones, AC-DC, Physical Graffiti by Zeppelin, a lot of Neil Young, and incredibly...Canned Heat! Apparently on the weekends, a younger crowd shows up, a few tourists join in, and the Old O gets seriously rockin' when a bartender named Katie is on duty. She blasts out Kid Rock at concert levels and moves the alcohol with alacrity. I have a mind to visit on a weekend soon in the name of my ongoing study of humanity, and as the revelry climaxes, punch in a song that I have never seen on any jukebox anywhere in the world--"Heroin" by Lou Reed. Jesus. When the smack begins to flow
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