Eugene is Oregon’s second largest city, home to the University of Oregon, charming artistic communities and a whole lot of options when it comes to finding a good drink. Whether you find yourself just stopping by this beautiful town or hunkering down for a couple of days, there’s no shortage of local watering holes to keep your spirits equally high on a rainy day or warm summer evening.
For morning warriors, there’s only one way to start your day off: a Bloody Mary at Brails Restaurant. This immensely popular family-owned and-operated spot serves up generously loaded Marys and classic breakfast fare, perfect for starting your day off on the right foot. The house Bloody Mary comes packed with all kinds of fun surprises, including bacon, celery and plenty of spices for that extra kick.
After you’ve finished up at Brails and maybe even taken a walk through the beautiful Amazon Park to work off your buzz, head on over to The Bier Stein. Once you’re there you’ll be faced with a tough decision: choosing one of the over a thousand beers in their inventory. Whether you want to try a niche IPA or a hyperlocal brew that you once tried on a trip to Europe, the Bier Stein is bound to have something to satisfy your most meticulous brew cravings. To top it all off, the food served up in their kitchen is delicious and comes in huge portions. Try the pretzel with mustard dip or a sandwich like the Mona Lisa, the perfect meal if you’re craving a turkey, pesto and cheese delight.
Located in the heart of Eugene’s Whiteaker neighborhood, a cozy enclave full of hipsters and old timers alike, is Ninkasi Brewing’s taproom and brewery. Mosey on over there after indulging at the Bier Stein and, if you have the time, take a tour around their brewing facility, the one of the largest in the nation. Afterwards you can sip on one of their popular brews like the Dawn of the Red or Total Domination on their patio while people watching and snacking on food from their resident food cart or a nearby eatery (The Sandwich League is a personal favorite).
If snacking on a patio isn’t exactly your go-to happy hour style, head down Blair Boulevard to Izakaya Meiji. East meets West at this cozy, upscale bar where Japanese-inspired eats mix with purely Americana drinks full of whiskey and attitude. The happy hour menu includes some of the restaurant’s most popular drinks like the Meiji Mule and the Bourbon & Ginger, which you can sip on while listening to some live music and munching on some shareable and delicious finger food like ahi onigiri and pork miso katsu. It’s a great spot for getting the night started on a sophisticated foot.
After indulging in happy hour libations, leave the Whiteaker behind and head towards the heart of downtown Eugene to Jameson’s. If you’re feeling groovy, this is definitely the spot for you. Walking through the doors is like instantly being transported back to a bar in the 1970s, with wild carpet patterns, retro furniture, far-out wallpaper and an eclectic crowd on the weekends. It can get pretty full, but the drinks are cheap and there’s plenty of people watching to make the wait go by a little faster. Make sure you don your funkiest attire and save plenty of energy for dancing to a mix of throwback tunes and current favorites.
Following your drinks and dance move exhibition at Jameson’s, you’ll probably be wanting to end your night somewhere on a high note. College bars aren’t everyone’s cup of tea, but Max’s Tavern is a local favorite, and for good reason. It can be packed with youngsters on weekend nights, but that’s because everyone in Eugene, young and old, knows that this charming dive bar — rumored to be the inspiration for Moe’s in the Simpson’s — is the spot to be for one last hurrah. When 2 am. rolls around, the DJ begins to play Neil Diamond’s classic song “Sweet Caroline” and the crowd begins to sing along as they walk out the doors and head for home. It’s the perfect capstone for a weekend in Eugene, and will leave you feeling just as glorious as you did in the height of your fun college days.