WHERE: The Big Legrowlski, 812 NW Couch St., Portland, OR, 97209
Let it never be said I’m not a sucker for a good gimmick.
I can’t remember when I first saw the cinematic cultural touchstone that is the Coen Brother’s “The Big Lebowski.” I think it may have been while I was flipping through channels and came across the stark and baffled faces of Jeff Bridges and John Goodman after the famous “ringer at the bridge” scene.
A moment later, John Goodman uttered the line that formed a cornerstone of my life philosophy since college, and I was a fan forever:
Since that boring night on the Jersey Shore, I have downed more than a few White Russian cocktails and irritated two girlfriends and my wife with viewings and trivia.
For the most part, they abided it well. (See what I did there?)
Thus, finding a certain bar during my perambulation of Portland can only be expressed as a sign from the Heavens.
I truly am a round-heeled pushover for the things I love, especially fandom.
As soon as I walked in, the message was received loud and clear with a quick look around. I was meant to walk in here, sit down, and… “just take it easy, man.”
The Big Legrowlski not only combines one of my favorite beverages and favorite movies, but it also does so with a minimum of fuss. The decor is mellow, dark, and dedicated- woodblock prints of famous figures from the movie line the walls. The menus are scribbled in colored chalk on the wall by the bar, and there’s- well, an overall very Dudelike vibe to the whole place. Hard decisions (outside of which beer to get) seem strongly discouraged. Their eighteen taps are all local, microbrews, or otherwise curated for quality in a selection of styles. Besides the taps, a few bottles on the rack betray a penchant for cocktails as well- such as “Bunny’s F***ing Martini”, “Jesus’ Margarita,” and- of course- “The Dude’s Caucasian.” For this, they keep a running tally. 5,108 served to date.
I wind up going for a Fort George “May the Oats Be With You” Porter and eye up the bar for a place to crash.
More prints. Rugs EVERYWHERE. A small alcove with a TV for karaoke or live bands and entertainment. (Apparently bands are forbidden from playing ANYTHING by The Eagles.) The Dude’s zip-up sweater in a shadow box.
Yes… I can be comfortable here.
After a beer or two, the munchies set in. The food menu is simple- the food is not the issue here, Dude. They’ve got some sausages from Olympia Provisions- served up simply on a pretzel roll with mustard and sauerkraut, and some finger foods if you just need a snack. Fresh-popped popcorn and cinema salt shows up on the table- a good companion for beer and literature. Every night, some form of entertainment rolls in- open mics, a DJ- tonight it’s Mike the Busker, banging away at Tom Waits, Elvis Costello, and the Pogues among others. Not bad at all- goes well with the Caucasian I just acquired.
Another Causcasian, then I’m out.
WHEN: Hours: Tuesday-Friday 3.00pm to 2.00am, Saturday 12.00pm to 2.00am, Sunday 11.00am to 12.30am, Monday: 3.00pm – 12.30am. Happy hour 3pm to 5pm Monday-Thursday. Great place for a post-shift!
HOW: Drop in, or check out their website to check out upcoming events, pick up some merch, or rent the Rug Room.
WHY: Cause you’re a conscientious objector, and you just wanna drive around, bowl, and ideally NOT get wrapped up in a nihilist kidnapping scheme when you try to get your rug replaced. This is not ‘Nam, there are rules…