Scenesters, pool sharks, hangers-on--your new hangout has arrived. Less crusty than the now-dead Whatever Lounge and less pretentious than the "secret" nightclub Dunes, North Mississippi Avenue's Crow Bar exists in a world where a pint of Pabst is still cheap ($2) and you can order a plate of brie and salami ($5) without feeling snooty.

The beer and wine-only bar, open since New Year's Eve '03, lives on the same street as the Mississippi Pizza Pub, Lovely Hula Hands and Video Vérité. On a recent Thursday evening--forget what you've heard about the Mississippi bustle--all was quiet along the NoPo avenue, and empty seats inside beckoned thirsty patrons.

Crow Bar's deep, rectangular space is painted a curious, milk-chocolatey brown, but the color turns the lighting from low to sexy. Padded (!) church pews line one of the walls that lead to Crow Bar's single pool table. The lone pinball machine, Bride of Pinbot, might be a quarter sucker, but it's an addition that adds charm and gives drinkers something to do when the conversation runs dry.

A hipster factor dwells here (really, where doesn't it in this town?), but check the jukebox and it's obvious the bar welcomes all kinds--the best of 10,000 Maniacs and Bruce Springsteen share real estate with DJ Spooky, the Pogues and the Strokes. It's a charming, thoughtful mix that gives Crow Bar a welcome, won't-you-be-my-neighbor? feel.

But perhaps the best thing about this new hangout can be found in the coat and bag hooks underneath the bar. It's a rare sight and, frankly, it's just plain courteous. When's the last time you said that about a bar?



new rock rumble

Barracuda hosts a weekly battle of the bands. The Old Town space is ripe for the plucking, but are any of these bands good?

Barracuda, 9 NW 2nd Ave., 228-6900. 9 pm. Cover. 21+.


portland lindy exchange

Weeklong swing-dance concert kicks off with a party at Nocturnal with DJ Leah DeForest.

Nocturnal, 1800 E Burnside St., 239-5900. 9 pm. $6. All ages.


baby boomers social club

Monthly event promises the music from the '50s to the '70s and loads of retirement advice.

Red Lion Hotel, 1021 NE Grand Ave., 2359-2100. 7 pm. $5. 21+.



Tonight's promoters offer Portland a big old dance party for "Big Beautiful Women" and "Big Handsome Men."

Flirts Lounge at the Holiday Inn-Portland Airport, 8439 NE Columbia Blvd., 256-5000. 9 pm. $5. 21+.


nascar sundays

You've been looking for a place to spend time with race-car junkies, and now you've found it.

Cascade Bar & Grill, 15000 SE Mill Plain Blvd., Vancouver, 360-254-0749. 9 am. 21+.


bowie/berlin night

Got the Monday blues? DJ Marantic throws the beat down on the glamorama.

Slabtown, 1033 NW 16th Ave., 223-0099. 9 pm. 21+.



Drum-'n'-bassers, break-beaters: You call Conan's home on Tuesdays.

Conan's Pub, 3862 SE Hawthorne Blvd., 234-7474. 9 pm. Cover. 21+.

Crow Bar, 3954 N Mississippi Ave., 280-7099. 3 pm-2 am daily. 21+.