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location:tillamook

Rendezvous Lounge Frogs, frogs, frogs everywhere, and not a drop of draft beer to drink. Such is the curious decorative and alcoholic situation of the Rendezvous Lounge in gorgeous downtown Tillamook. Fear not, however, there is booze, thank Christ, and one Tuesday drink special that’s undoubtedly the coolest and most moving tribute to a dearly departed subject of the Let it Pour Kingdom. When a customer walks into the Rendezvous, what immediately stands out is the presence of frogs in almost 12-plagues-of-Egypt kind of numbers. There are frog statues, toys, stuffed animals, figurines, sculptures, and assorted frog kitsch all over the walls and behind the bar. There is even a frog mural and a bizarre lighting canopy over the bar decorated with frogs. According to lore, the current owners found a cute frog in a swamp on their place up the Trask River when they moved in years ago. And the result is perhaps the only place in the country where you can drink a double Maker’s Mark and look directly at a three-foot, costumed frog lawn ornament. I considered ordering a double Maker’s Mark on my most recent visit to the Rendezvous. I needed something strong to blunt the pain of watching a middle-aged man push an elderly woman in a wheelchair into the video poker area. After she adjusted her oxygen, she proceeded to provide the perfect obscene visual metaphor for our elected state government’s two-decades abandonment of the idea of progressive taxation and protecting our most vulnerable citizens. What I saw in this woman keeping Oregon financially afloat by gambling was nothing less than an act of official immorality. Despite the obsession with amphibian life, the Rendezvous is a rock solid, old school kind of lounge, meaning no windows, urban hipsters or draft beer, plenty of regulars and old timers chain smoking, a lot of dark vinyl, booths, and standard flagship spirits. Jack Daniels is apparently the joint’s most popular drink and that fact fits nicely with the “Proud to be an American” placard behind the bar that absolutely no one in the Rendezvous would ever see the contradiction in after watching destitute Americans die in lawn chairs in the aftermath of Hurricane Katrina while President Bush fondly recalls his liquor and cocaine days in New Orleans. This column has said it over and over again: the world would be a much better place if George W. Bush had kept drinking and doing blow. What distinguishes the Rendezvous is its weekday drink specials. The price is always $1.95 and the lineup is: Wednesday—Seven & 7; Thursday—rum and coke; Friday—gin and tonic; Monday—screwdriver; and Tuesday, Canadian Hunter and water. Canadian Hunter and water? What the f___? Who drinks Canadian Hunter and water as a call drink and why would any bar offer this anemic-tasting whiskey as a special? Well, as the Rendezvous’ bartender told the story, a long-time patron who also happened to be a barber around the corner, made Canadian Hunter and water his drink of choice. He died not too long ago and the bar honored him by designating his favorite and obscure cocktail the Tuesday drink special. We take care of our own in the Let it Pour Kingdom, unlike, say, the decidedly unchristian social construction also known as American society.
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