The retail-store bar is usually an iffy prospect. Too often, it's an overlit afterthought sporting empty barstools and unmanned taps of slowly oxidizing beer. But North Killingsworth's Up North Surf Club (1229 N Killingsworth St., 503-706-5932, upnorthsurfclub.com) is riding a whole different wave.

Since opening this past January as a resource for Portland's budding surf culture, it's turned into an honest-to-god neighborhood hang with good vibes and 10 taps of damn good beer.

(CJ Montserrat)
(CJ Montserrat)
(CJ Montserrat)
(CJ Montserrat)

Sure, there's a rainbow of boards for sale next to low lounge seating and bar tables, alongside a wealth of fins, hoodies and spume-filled coffee-table books.
And if you lean over the pine bar to ask friendly co-owner Martin Schoeneborn—who first surfed in Sheboygan, the Malibu of Wisconsin—you'll hear plenty of gnar stories about a severed deer head being left in a tourist's car at the locals-only point break near Seaside. And yes, the two women next to you might have some strong opinions about the current scene at Short Sands. It's the end of the year, after all—peak season for wave seekers in Oregon.

(CJ Montserrat)
(CJ Montserrat)
(CJ Montserrat)
(CJ Montserrat)

But on a recent chilly Sunday, the packed house of 20 or so beanie-capped regulars was a lot more concerned with the disrespect Jacksonville fans were showing their beloved 'Hawks. The mood at the appropriately dim-lit bar is a lot less locals-only than permanently chill, helped along by the tap of Ablis CBD soda you can choose to mix into a $5 pint of excellent local helles or hard-to-find Arch Rock gold lager.

But to eat, you'll have to order a fried chicken sandwich from newly opened Haymaker next door, or pick up pulled pork nachos from Bark City BBQ in the cart pod down the street. Food is one thing Up North doesn't sell.