Tonic Lounge

3100 NE Sandy Blvd., 238-0543. 5 pm-2:30 am Monday-Saturday, 5 pm-12:30 am Sunday.

Some places the circus comes to, some places it never leaves. Painted red and black like an old Stendhal revolutionary, with books just as ancient lining random windowsills, Tonic retains an air of the Old Portland carnivalesque, if also a bit of the biker bar. In this environment, the testosterone-heavy dude with gel-spiked hair ordering the (excellent) pulled-pork sandwich does not seem like a douchebag: He seems like a stalwart of the former regime. Tonic's programming belongs often to the geeks and the theatrical, from its Wednesday night comedy showcases hosted by Whitney Streed to a succession of metal bands that might include face paint, veils or the guttural howl of the Norwegian damned. And out front, it's across from a porn store. The Tonic's picnic tables and umbrellas are its tent city of Camels. MATTHEW KORFHAGE.

What plays: Lotsa metal, man. And comedy.