There are few places in this town I wouldn’t dare try alone. Tiny Tavern is one of those places. And so, when the ever-wonderful and artsy Jordan Eddy proposed a food/art adventure, I threw out the idea of Tiny.
I knew if anyone would be daring enough to try the tavern it would be Jordan, a true Eugienian.
We arrived late-afternoon, perhaps 4:15.
Dismal Oregonian skies winked mischievously at us, foreshadowing the rain to come.
Silently I was minorly freaking out. This was probably one of the sketchiest bars in Eugene. But I was intrigued and a little part of me was wondering if this was Eugene’s secret–the best bar in the world hidden in an old house with a neon red sign.
We entered, paused, and after a brief discussion decided we would sit at the bar. It looked a little more comfy than well-used (read: missing chunks of couch cover), rather large, half-circle booths.
“Well, I guess the question now is, what do we order?” said my companion.
“Well, what do the regulars get . . . other than PBR?” I half-asked the bartender, glancing around the tavern. To our left was a line of occupied electronic lottery games. Machines I’ve never understood.
The booths sat empty. A few others lingered at the other end of the bar near what I assumed were the restrooms.
The bartender, a girl around our age, started listing off what was on tap. Her knowledge perhaps as good as my I-don’t-drink-it-because-I’m-allergic familiarity. With no liquor in sight, I opted for a Blue Moon, the only almost-safe option (wheat beers seem to be ok. I don’t ask my allergies questions). Jordan followed suit.
And so we, a 23-year-old in a polka dotted skirt with a yellow hat and a Jell-O wielding arts blogger, sat at the bar drinking our beer. We caught up on everything we had missed with each other over the past couple of terms. Our discussion occasionally got personal, the bar silent. No music. No mumbling. The bartender pretending not to hear us. We would have pretended too but we knew we probably wouldn’t be seeing any of the people again. So we let loose, conversed and had fun. For all they knew we were strangers from Santa Barbra.
This was my trip to Boston, a place where no one would no my name. A place where if I so pleased I could whisk away a bum and no one would know, or be a mysterious jazz singer. The fact that they only took cash helped. Alas, we were just Jordan and Melissa, loud colors on the white wall of passerby’s asking for Band-Aids and nameless men playing lottery games with backpacks at their feet.
Before we left a man sat down next to Jordan. Well dressed, sipping on a beer. Chili arrived. This man knew about the hidden menu. One we had not seen or asked for. The character of the bar thickened.
Jordan asked, “What’s in Jell-O anyway?” And with that, we left our little Jordan-Melissa world and became part of Tiny Tavern.
For this part of the story I will turn over the proverbial microphone to Jordan, who tells the story quite well. You can read it here.
I will tell you however, that as we left a loitering man loudly commented, “Thank God for skirts,” and with that we shoved my yellow bicycle into the back of Jordan’s van and headed to the Jell-O art show.
Would I go back? Not alone, that’s for sure. But yes, I’m very curious about the food and we had quite a fun time. It’s definitely creepy yet at the same time charming. Somewhere in between a dive and Cheers. You won’t get murdered. You probably won’t get mugged. But you’ll get good beer at a good price. It’s the kind of bar that’s an adventure, and I like that.