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There's nothing I enjoy more than hanging out in a North Oregon Coast drinking hole when "vacationers" from the Willamette Valley set up camp and try to break on through to the other side. Usually they get there--either on a weekend bender or afternoon binge. By any route, they have a mad fun time "relaxing." Some people, like William Blake, don't get this. He wrote, "The road to excess leads to the palace of wisdom." I doubt that very much in Oregon Coast bars, You just want to let go and not learn a useful thing from it. I witnessed such a spectacle not too long ago in the Troller Lounge, staked beautifully in the gritty heart of the Port of Garibaldi, and nearly surrounded by a boat dock, saw mill, RV park, a fresh fish wholesaler, and of course, the fecal bacteria-challenged Tillamook Bay. In the Troller, on an overcast summer day, two Portland couples who had apparently driven to the bar on caprice were doing their very best to erode working class angst and raise a little hell. All you need to know is that the two women drank Widmer pints through straws, backed them with shots of tequila, and chased it all with double bloody Marys. Perhaps this is illegal, maybe unwise, but the message was clear: we are here to party hard and let's get it on godammit! Fuck work. You can do this sort of thing in the Troller without a temperance lecture or arrest and that's why it deserves special mention and a visit, if only for one drink, instead of, say, a generic Shiloh lounge. The Troller is a long way from Shiloh--about the same distance as George Washington is from George W. Bush. Inside is an immaculately crafted bar that has a fascinating personal history I won't reveal here. Find out for yourself. Over and behind the counter is an incredibly buxom, refreshingly dark skinned mermaid (no pasty Daryl Hannah) which exhibits serious sexual appeal. Fishing memorabilia and vintage black and white photographs cover the wall. There are video poker stalls, thick wood beams and swivel chairs upholstered in cigarette-burned beige onogahyde straight from the set of The Bob Newhart Show (The good one in the 70s). The Troller is a full service restaurant too, and I have been told the seafood is excellent, which isn't surprising since fresh fish is unloaded a few yards away. If true, it further confirms my belief that some of the best, heartiest seafood on the Oregon Coast can be had in taverns and bars because they have superior local fresh fish connections and may practice some kind of underground barter system with fishermen. As for drinking, there is a solid selection of draft beers, an eclectic liquor offering, and something utterly cool: Drambuie and Courvoisier prominently displayed on mini-pedestals. It's probably been decades since someone ordered either one but it looks great in the window and adds a little class. One last item about the Troller seals its entry into the excellent, dive drinking hole pantheon. Inconspicuous on one wall is an anemometer and it's no newfangled one with an LED display or digital memory. I imagine some Troller patron has already devised a drinking game using certain speeds of wind gusts as the rules. For example, if the needle hits 50 mph all the women chug. At 70 everybody slams. At 90 the house buys a round. When the winter's first big storm rolls in, the Troller might be the place to be.
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