So many bars around Portland gotta try and be so cool. They decorate swanky, kitschy, themed or what have you, and try to attract beautiful people with greenbacks to spare.
Then there are other places. Dives that serve up a stiff drink, smell funny and feature well-worn stools often molded to the particular ass of some loyal regular. These places don’t try to attract the dolled-up hipsters on their way to a hot rock show, although they do sometimes attract them. Such a wonderful paradox.
I’ve always fancied places that don’t try to create an atmosphere and make the customer pay for the sofas by charging you four dollars for a mixed drink.
Atmosphere can be created by the people themselves. Focusing on the bottom line – alcohol – creates enough atmosphere for me. Any place, or any one for that matter, can look and smell all right when you’ve got the beer goggles on. It’s good to see real people getting real drunk so they can keep it real.
The Hungry Tiger Lounge is, or seemed to be during the frantic Pub Crawl, one of these laid-back dives.
A long bar faces some small, two-person booths that up to five drunk Vanguard employees can squeeze into. Behind the bar is a lot of stuff, including some photos of tigers, some cigarettes and a bartender who seemed very confused, but ready to serve well nonetheless.
The drinks are stiff and priced decently. They offer a couple of different drink specials every night including something fruity and strong served in a large fishbowl glass. There is a basic selection of micro and domestic drafts, but no light beers on tap.
The second room has more seating and two pool tables that only cost a quarter. Everything is simple and to the point, making the place worth a visit if you just want to have a few drinks.
They serve food from the Hungry Tiger menu until about 1 a.m. and are open from 7-2:30 a.m.
The lounge gave me a decent first impression. The people seemed real, the atmosphere was unpretentious and tigers are cool. The regulars seemed pleasant enough. I didn’t get to smell anyone.
There are times, like on a date with someone you like or want to impress, that it is appropriate to go to a swank lounge to soak up some atmosphere. There are also times to go to hip, single-oriented spots when you want to meet someone to impress in a swank lounge at a later date.
Then of course there are times when you want to get drunk in a dive, alone or with some so-called friends or coworkers. The Hungry Tiger Lounge will work for this.