The Streets and Wharves of Astoria Offer One of Oregon’s Coolest Pub Crawls

Soaked in salty legend, the streets and wharves of Astoria now offer one of Oregon’s coolest pub crawls.

Brut Wine. (Courtesy of Brut)

The secret to a good pub crawl in Astoria is starting before the sun sets. Since the mid-1800s, the anglers and cannery workers carousing in the streets knew it was wise to turn in before the sun went down; Astoria’s bustling port meant getting Shanghai’d was a real possibility. Today’s early last calls in “a drinking town with a fishing problem” may be a remnant of those dangerous nights or a result of the fact that this city of around 10,000 is still anchored to business on the water—fishing is an early riser’s pursuit.

You’ll appreciate the daylight if you make the Inferno Lounge your first stop (bonus points if you know what it’s named for*). Snag a table by the window and take in the resplendent views of Astoria Harbor. The Inferno is an appealing combo of new and old. The bartenders offer an impressive array of infused spirits to deliver an extra zip to your cocktail—the cilantro-lime martini hit the spot. But if you prefer the tried and true, order up bloody marys at happy hour and wash down a mountain of nachos.

After the Inferno, take a break from the hard stuff. Like nearly every town on the Columbia with two hops to rub together, Astoria is enjoying a boom in hometown beer. Turn east for the oldest craft brewery in town, Astoria Brewing Company (opened in 1997). The styles here are classic and timeless. The crisp, refreshing Pilsner is a bestseller. Pair it with tasty pub grub while you plot your next move.

It’s a slightly longer, westerly walk to one of the new kids on the brewery block: Obelisk Beer Co. It launched in late 2022 in a refurbished warehouse space and has quickly become a favorite with locals for its complex slow brews with unusual monikers: Pterodactyls, Mooncrusher, and Permatrip were on a recent menu. The lip-smacking Sun Shrine Kolschish Ales (there are two versions) kept us coming back. The food menu is limited, but you’re welcome to bring your own.

If wine is more your pleasure, head to Brut, tucked in a side street between the two main drags, Commercial Street and Marine Drive. This intimate wine bar/bottle shop is full of unexpected delights. Don’t hesitate to ask proprietor Lisa Parks for suggestions. With a wealth of knowledge and an infectious enthusiasm (a magical combination), she is a human passport to the world of wine. There are generous snack boards to nibble on while you sample a radiant Sancerre or explore the outstanding trove of vermouths. By the time you leave, you somehow know everybody’s name.

Dead Man’s Isle is a true pirate’s paradise. The scorched menus sport two dozen cannon-blazing concoctions, served in glasses shaped like mutant skulls, smoldering volcanoes, and more. The Dead Man’s Grog put a swagger in our stride, and the Isle of the Dodo shivered our timbers. Not many buccaneers could put more than one of these beauties down the hatch and still walk the plank in a straight line. So sip slowly and give yourself time to soak up the atmosphere. (Check out the glowing blowfish.) The food offerings (fried rice, crispy tofu salad, spring rolls) extend the mod tiki-bar vibe.

Blaylock's. (Courtesy of Blaylocks)

Decisions, decisions. Around the corner from Dead Man’s, feast your eyes on the truly epic wall of spirits at Blaylock’s Whiskey Bar. The selection here is awe-inspiring—a rainbow profusion of scotch, Irish, rye, and at least a hundred types of bourbon. If you’re not in the mood for smoky spirits, check out the appealing menu of creative cocktails made with clear alcohol. Smooth leather stools, sleek wood tables, and cozy nooks might inspire you to write the next great Northwest novel. Keep your strength up with a board of salmon, pâté, or cheese, or snack on olives and nuts.

If you’re looking for a larger food menu with a Mediterranean flair, turn west and make your way to Fu-Bar, a new offshoot of Fulio’s, Astoria’s beloved Italian classic. Long confounded by a lack of space for customers looking for drinks and apps rather than a full dinner, owners Jamie Birdsong and Allan LaPlante took over and remodeled the next-door art gallery to create Fu-Bar. The bar menu includes classics like eggplant Parmesan and some stick-to-your-ribs sandwiches, such as Italian beef and a Caprese. A perfect spot to sip an Aperol spritz.

Labor Temple. (Courtesy of Labor Temple)

After all that, if you’re ready for one more drink and a no-nonsense good time, don’t miss the Labor Temple Diner (in the front) & Bar (in the back). Located in a 1924 building that was originally a meeting space for area unions, the Labor Temple Bar still gives off working-class vibes. But tonight’s newcomer may be tomorrow’s regular. You wouldn’t be the only person who came to Astoria for a weekend and stayed for a lifetime. Nights offer touring and local acts from punk to metal—with raucous karaoke on Thursdays and Fridays. If you’re up late/early enough for breakfast, dig into the classic diner grub. You won’t be sorry.

*Inferno is the name of the ship in The Goonies.

Inferno Lounge

77 11th St., 503-741-3400,

11 am–10 pm Monday, Thursday and Sunday; 2–10 pm Tuesday and Wednesday; 11 am–midnight Friday and Saturday.

Astoria Brewing Company

144 11th St., 503-325-6975,

11 am–8 pm daily.

Obelisk Beer Co

598 Bond St., 503-741-3448,

3–9 pm Monday–Thursday, noon–9 pm Friday–Sunday.

Brut Wine Bar

240 10th St., 503-468-0829,

3–9 pm Tuesday–Friday, 1–9 pm Saturday.

Dead Man’s Isle

1239 Duane St., 503-673-8734,

4–10 pm Thursday and Sunday, 4–11 pm Friday and Saturday.

Blaylock’s Whiskey Bar

433 13th St., 503-741-3448,

5–10 pm Monday and Thursday; 4–10 pm Wednesday, Thursday and Sunday; 4–11 pm Friday and Saturday.


1149 Commercial St., 503-325-9001,

4–8 pm Monday and Sunday, 4–9 pm Tuesday–Saturday.

Labor Temple Diner & Bar

934 Duane St., 503-325-0801,

7:30 am–3 pm Monday–Wednesday and Sunday, 7:30 am–11 pm Thursday–Saturday.

This story is part of Oregon Summer Magazine, Willamette Week’s annual guide to the summer months, this year focused along the Columbia River. It is free and can be found all over Portland beginning Monday, July 1st, 2024. Find a copy at one of the locations noted on this map before they all get picked up! Read more from Oregon Summer magazine online here.

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