the vapor room
He's quoted in the city's newspaper of record as saying, "It will be the hottest bar on the Oregon Coast." His new manager said, "We're going to teach people to have fun in a bar--move around, talk with others." He hung his self-made expressionist paintings on the walls, including self-portraits. He put fake fur on the lights over the pool table. He books hungry angry young pierced bands from Portland. He installed a DJ's booth. Staff plays loud techno on a Friday afternoon. He sits at the bar drinking what appears to be a large red Martini from what appears to be a goblet. His name is George Saah and he calls his new joint the Vapor Room, yes the Vapor Room, on the 101 strip in downtown Tillamook, a place frequently soaked with an extraordinary bovine fecal stench. Teach this reporter how to have fun in a bar? Suggest I should move around on the premises? Sir, you are an invader, a destroyer, an actual Genghis Khan look-alike barbarian in the unpretentious and rural Let it Pour kingdom of lazy, leave-me-alone drinking. Sir, you are mad, arrogant, an outrage, infected with hubris of the world domination strain. All I can say is "Mr. Saah" it's about fucking time! For many of us, you're arrival here on the North Oregon Coast heralds nothing short of the Second Coming--and I'm not talking about the abolishment of the OLCC! What Sherman did to the South on his March to the Sea is roughly what Saah has done to Scotty's, the dead sports bar that's now the Vapor Room space. It's no so much a total razing--the battered plank flooring, video poker machines, high ceiling, Tillamook freaks and Ten High whiskey remain--but big changes and the declaration that life here will change. What has occurred has been a "Reconstruction" of the space's massive one-room vibe and a customer's expectations of what a drinking hole in this town can be. Let's just hope that the Vapor Room's "Reconstruction" goes better than the one after the Civil War, which was shamefully abandoned out of political expediency. It could have redeemed the greatest injustice in American history but was cut short until nearly a century later when trash like Bull Connor and George Wallace got swept (mostly) away. Yes it will be tough, but the Vapor Room seems to have the guts and the savvy to make it work. The bar food tasted great, the service rated outstanding, the tricky art of excellently pouring draft Guinness mastered, and the prices are low. What's more there are Goodwill yellow couches, St Vincent DePaul yellow chairs, a dangling sea urchin collection, a chainsaw swaying from the ceiling, candles, a white shag rug, and enough good karma ricocheting that it led one guy to hit a $100 payday on video poker and buy a round for the house. Yes, it may herald the Second Coming if Saah and his party action crew can ride out an Oregon Coast winter and demonstrate staying power a goateed frat guy wouldn't know existed. If the Vapor Room can last, then perhaps it is sign that Jesus has his bindle packed and is about ready to return. And I know the type Man from Galilee will not take with him to the Pearly Gates where Finnish vodka is served by gorgeous Finnish angels. He won't be taking the Takers. The Givers get to go. Friendly drunks maybe. I'm praying for you Vapor Room.