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location:rockaway beach

According to Intoxication: Life in Pursuit of Artificial Paradise, a book I read recently after rescuing it from a rank garage sale, humans possess a Fourth Drive--a basic biological need for occasional intoxication. We exist; therefore we must get fucked up every now and then. In fact, so the thesis goes, intoxication promotes a necessary catharsis (particularly in the industrial age) and the government should encourage all its citizens to satisfy these natural urges. The other three drives--hunger, thirst, sex--as defined by the book's esteemed author, Dr. Ronald Siegel, to me are hardly worth mentioning. But this Fourth Drive, yes, it demands our attention and experimentation. All of us have a duty in this Brave New Single Malt Millennium to conduct ourselves purposefully in ways predicated on the best available science--medical and psychological. Otherwise, the terrorists, namely the current Attorney General of the United States, really do win. So as Baudelaire implored: "you must get drunk without restraint." Or better yet, as Prince commanded: "Party like it's 1999." Medical experimentation can be done at home. Unfortunately this methodology often lacks fun, the potential for mayhem or scoring with a vulnerable tourist. May I suggest as a laboratory, Sharky's Lounge in Rockaway Beach? There, a subject can put Dr. Siegel's bold theories to a rigorous liquid test. Naturally then, one should start with an extra-strength prescription from another highly qualified sawbones. No not Dr. Benway or Dr. McCoy. Try calling Dr. Bombay! Bombay Gin that is. Sharky's rests right on a dune across from Rockaway's public parking lot, a strong rock throw from 101. There are other drinking holes in this tacky but gritty village named after a great Ramones tune, but Sharky's tears them all to shreds with about equal force as the great white chewed Captain Quint in Jaws. No doubt there are generous portions of riprap in front of Sharky's to thwart erosion, but this is the ONE and ONLY place on Oregon Coast where riprap should be allowed at all costs and without a permit. Just pour boulders and armor this joint for all time! Sharky's used to be a children's arcade and pizza parlor but thankfully that nonsense ended a decade ago. Today it's a high quality restaurant noted for its smoked ribs, clam/shrimp chowder, and a Monday-Friday Happy Hour from 3:30-5:00 p.m. to tempt the grown-ups. They can sample the wicked BlackWatch stout on tap or suck down the uncountable stiff bloody Marys that the bartender told me flow perpetually at flood stage levels. Her drink specialty however, is a concoction called a "bushwhacker." It is rum, Irish creme, Kahlua, ice, blended together like a milk shake. "All killer, no filler," she quipped. It brings to mind what a grizzled barkeep at Kelly's Olympian in Portland once said in response to a friend ordering a B-52. "Son, we don't serve no pussy drinks here." Well they do in Sharky's but that's okay. It's all medicine anyway and a spoonful of sugar is definitely not needed to get it down. Apparently, a few colorful locals hang out in the lounge, including the best man at one of John Wayne's weddings and a vet who stormed ashore at Normandy under withering fire. The report is that they tell good stories which is absolutely a must to be a top-flight Let it Pour establishment. As for the decor inside Sharky's, calling it dull is a compliment. Two exceptions stand out: a wonderfully awful mural and a mounted shark that arrived as a gift from a customer. But that view, at sea level, right out to the ocean a hundred yards away, is the draw. There's even outside seating. Combine the Pacific vista with the booze and the whipping winds and you'll get intoxication all right--the Fourth Drive in full overdrive. Just like the good doctor advised. He said it's all perfectly normal.
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