"What's that PODS container doing there?" I exclaimed in horror to my wife as we drove past Caldera a few months ago. Turns out the storage container was for a long-overdue upstairs expansion, a reading room-style addition that lends itself well to Caldera's mission of helping customers tune out. The classy, well-worn dark wood bar (dragged here all the way from Montana) and folksy instrumentals piped softly through the main room are a fine tonic for a horrible week. The comfort-food menu helps as well, featuring typical pub standards, like a bacon cheeseburger ($8), and some welcome deviations like bourbon-soaked Brie ($11).
What to drink: Caldera's taps rotate ($3.75 a pint), but they always seem to feature Terminal Gravity IPA.
Happy hour: $2.75 pints and well drinks; $4 40-ounce Pabst, cosmos and lemon drops; $8 pitchers 5-6 pm and 9 pm-close Tuesday-Sunday.
Entertainment: Birdwatching on the back porch.