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After bending over my companion inside Ft. Clatsop, an act that accorded the Bicentennial of the Lewis and Clark Expedition exactly the kind of reverence it deserves, we were both thirsty and water wouldnít cut it, which was also true 200 years ago when Meriwether Lewis clearly lost his mind during his winter at the fort. He is excused. He didnít have any booze to make it through a winter here. And writing non-stop about flora and fauna is a piss-poor substitute. Now I did most of the work in the fort, the melancholy captainís quarters to be precise, but I felt my companion deserved more than her usual 40-ouncer after such superb exhibitionism. We needed good beer. Thankfully, not far from Ft. Clatsop, in Warrenton, rests the Sipiní On Public House, a fairly recent annexation of the Let it Pour Kingdom, and definitely the wittiest name for a tavern on the Oregon Coast since the Skipanon River flows nearby. It took all of five minutes inside the Sipiní On for me to declare it one of the top five taverns in the Kingdom and not because the management has decorated the joint with a fantastic map collection or a trophy marlin with glass floats for testicles is mounted above the stage. No, the Sipiní On rates extremely high for the fact that after the keg blew during the fill-up of my pint of McTarnahanís, a regular asked the bartender, ďYouíre not going to throw that away are you?Ē referring to a glass of mostly foam. The bartender did not. About a year ago, a dude named David Lee Williams bought the Sipiní On and since then, he has turned the joint around but not in a pussy and gentrified brew pub sort of way where little kids throw pasta around and their rotund, gelded dads ask that Nora Jones be turned down. Okay, I heard some Warrenton locals were upset with the changes, but my god, is it that bad when carpet from the Nixon era gets pulled out of a tavern and a stage is built so bands like the Pagan Pancakes can rock out and undermine sanctimonious Ďfamily valuesí that condemn bending over your companion inside a national historical park and then celebrating with alcohol? I didnít see the Sipiní On before the overhaul, but it looks fine to me now, so I donít get the fuss. What should concern the locals in Warrenton and elsewhere on the North Oregon Coast is the explosion of the 4000-square foot second-home economy. Get pissed about that, or restaurants that serve farmed salmon, or vehicles with Californian license plates in the parking lots of real estate offices, or that our current governor immorally wants to add line games to bars and taverns to raise funds for state troopers. I declare it here be promulgated throughout the Kingdom: Ted Kulongoski is not welcome and not for my suspicion that he drinks Coors Light. He simply will not stand up for Oregon in a time of obvious spiritual and fiscal crisis. So what will the governor miss at the Sipiní On? Inside, a gaffe hangs from the ceiling, a framed 10-pound Alaska King Crab and the cudgel used to kill it hangs from the wall, and an antique tin logging hardhat hangs over the bar. I love the maps, especially the 3-D topos. There is beer and wine and spirits coming soon. The clam chowder tastes great and my companion bummed a cigarette with ease. Now I can understand how some coastal drinking professionals might object to the Sipiní Onís twice-weekly karaoke sessions hosted by a charming woman named Michelle. We pros want to drink (alone) and not be bothered by unseemly public displays of Freudian defense mechanisms set to popular music. Somehow, though, the karaoke I witnessed in the tavern didnít irritate me and I was actually moved to offer my karaoke virgin companion $100 on the spot if she would sing a Rolling Stonesí song. She declined. You canít always get what you want, although inside Ft. Clatsop with the right person and no else around, sometimes you do.
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