No one was expecting Lauren to show up at Beer (1410 SE Stark St., 233-2337, facebook.com/BeerPortland). Sure, on paper, Beer is just a generically named bar with $2.50 Miller Lites next to a shop that sells steak sandwiches. But that Meat Cheese Bread sandwich is sliced rare flank steak on ciabatta and the Lite is listed right above a $15 sour ale that was aged in pinot noir barrels. Yet, for some reason, Lauren called in sick at work on a Monday and came in from the 'burbs to spend several hours day-drinking here. It's a homey room, to be sure, lit by vintage beer signs and decorated with wall hangings made from flattened old labels. Six hours in, still wearing her purple nylon rain jacket with the guy who brought her here nowhere to be found, Lauren is both aggressively inquisitive and uncomfortably forthcoming. By 8 pm, she has wedged herself into every conversation in the bar, scattering the flannel-clad crowd. The bartender cuts her off, seemingly surprised to find a hard-bitten barfly on one of his stylish metal drafting stools. Either Beer's affected nods toward egalitarianism have temporarily backfired, or the vegan bakery down the street is going to need more glazed doughnuts.