Bars where Pete has had a Drink (5,812 bars; 1,754 bars in Seattle) - Click titles below for Lists:

Bars where Pete has had a drink

Thursday, April 17, 2014

#2177 - Duffy's Irish Pub, Grays River, WA - 5/19/2013

Of course it feels a bit absurd to refer to a bar as "magical," but I'll be damned if I can think of a better word for the experience of stumbling upon Duffy's Irish Pub.  It seems to pop out of nowhere as you round a bend in Highway 4, out of the forested surroundings and past a few lonely farm houses where Grays River meanders in a loop, west of Naselle and east of Skamokawa.  I'm sure I'm not the only one who, driving by for the first time -- bar project or not -- rounded this bend and gasped something along the lines of "WHAT ... is THAT?!?"

And it only becomes more remarkable when you step inside. Here in the middle of nowhere is a ;pub with more nooks and crannies crammed full of more curious stuff than any Irish bar and half the museums in Portland or Seattle. It feels less like a pub than the lifetime antique collection of some distinctively peculiar collector. And adding to the uncanny feeling, I was the only person in the sizable place, until bartender Lorraine eventually came around the corner.

Lorraine explained that the place is owned by Al Salazar, who used to own the The Pine Street Theater. "at one time, Portland's largest rock and roll club, featuring two or three  national musical acts each weekend." A stage at the east end of the building is papered with flyers for the bands that played the Pine Street. Lorraine told me that Al used to have regular live bands here, but it was just too hard to draw a crowd with so few people close by and not even any motels very near. From the stage, you walk pass a couple rooms that feel like a crazy grandmother's house, walls and shelves full of various knickknacks, antiques, and oddities. Turn left and walk along the bar past the wood-burning stove, through another tiny room and you reach the patio looking out on the river. Unfortunately I had recently eaten, but Duffy's offers various American comfort foods along with some Irish classics, along with some fairly standard choices in beers and spirits.

After finishing a quick Hendricks and Tonic and a much longer tour marveling at the place, I headed back to my car and was greeted by Jeremy, the neighbor from across the street. Jeremy has his own crazy hodgepodge of buildings and collectibles, and told me he painted the sign for Duffy's. Jeremy sells antiques from the side of the road in front of his place, and would surely be the town character if not for Al Salazar. Finally, I get into my car and continue on my way, with Duffy's and the boat that once housed "Covered Bridge Fish'n'Chips" quickly disappearing behind a bend. And again I think, as I return to the long stretches of tree-lined road only occasionally interrupted by a barn or humble house, I can't be the only one who has wondered "Did I really just see what I just saw?"

3779 State Rt 4 West, Grays River, WA - (360) 465-2898
Est. April 27, 2001
Previous bars in this location: None
Web site:
Reviews: tripadvisoryelp - urbanspoon 


Donna Stewart said...

I gotta go here;

Unknown said...

Great place to gather