Rarely are turnarounds so complete. The former Becken’s Winning Hand Tavern was busted in 2006 for selling drugs across the bar. Not only the occasional seat cushion but also the carpet, tables and sign were held together by reams of duct tape. The homeless slept in corner booths, and the restrooms weren’t discussed. How surprising, then, that the Lion’s Eye has turned out to be such a boon to the neighborhood since it opened at the same location in February 2009. The new proprietress, Erin Wagner, tore out the phone booth and video-crack machines, re-felted the pool tables, hired a local muralist for the back patio and installed eight taps of discerningly picked microbrews and micro-microbrews (along with up to 50 bottles in her fridges). The bar gets all the local limited releases, and pool tournaments on Sundays also offer up free barbecue for the players. Wagner is pretty enough and buoyantly welcoming enough that the whole thing is almost hilariously Pollyannaish, the aftermath of an ’80s-movie brighten-the-corners montage. We repeat: Best. Former. Meth. Den. Ever. MATTHEW KORFHAGE.
What to drink: Cascade Brewing Defroster Winter Ale.
Happy hour: $2.50 domestic drafts 3-7 pm daily.
Entertainment: Pool, live music, pinball, jukebox.