Put it in your mouth

If there is any type of food that can be considered thedefinitive Portland cuisine, it’s probably pub fare. Since the1980s, this town has prided itself on its brewpub-to-populationratio which roughly comes out to one microbrew for every man, womanand child in the metro area.

The New Old Lompoc, located at the forgotten end of theotherwise absurdly trendy Northwest 23rd Avenue, is a definitestandout in what has become a fairly formulaic dining genre.

The Lompoc offers all of the pub standards (burgers and fries,sandwiches and soups, and some frosty beer to wash it all down),but the Lompoc adds their own creative touches to keep thingsinteresting.

The New Old Lompoc gets its peculiar name from the Old LompocHouse, a popular pub in the ’50s and ’60s, which, according to therestaurant’s Web site, got its name from a watering hole frequentedby W.C. Fields in “The Bank Dick.” The most recent incarnationopened its doors in 2000.

The indoor atmosphere, which comes off as a bit toodeliberate of a throwback to the Old Lompoc’s past, is the onlything about the place that feels forced. The plaque-mounted animalheads and antique photographs seem like someone’s abstract idea ofwhat a pub should look like rather than a genuine atmosphere. Thisis more than made up for, however, by the patio section out back.With summer approaching, this is the perfect place to kick back inthe sun and have a cold, refreshing pint while snacking on somedeep-fried goodness.

Which brings me to the real feature of the Lompoc: the beer.Offering a list of eight of their own microbrews with a rotatingselection of seasonal beers (as well as several well-chosen brewsfrom around the world), the Lompoc has something to satisfy anyserious beer drinker’s palate. The Fool’s Golden, although muchdarker than what most people would consider golden, makes for agreat light and smooth quaff in warm weather.

The Lompoc also has a creative array of happy hour type specialsthat help shave a few bucks off the bill when you feel likesampling more than a few of those house brews. Lompoc brews are $2on Tuesdays, and there is also a reverse happy hour starting at 10p.m. Tuesday through Thursday. It’s also worth stopping in forSunday Bloody Sunday, the $2 Bloody Marys so well made that the U2reference is forgivable.

Of course, any good brewpub has some hearty food to takethe edge off all of that beer, and the Lompoc has plenty of richand filling fare. They also manage to keep the pub standards simplewhile adding enough distinctive twists to keep thingsinteresting.

The calamari ($6.50), fried in an understated batter, comes withboth ginger-wasabi and lemongrass aioli dipping sauces and makes aperfect starter to a meal. The sauces provide a rich and spicycounterbalance to the simplicity of the calamari, and the portionsize is more than enough for two or three people to share.

On the entr�e menu, the real highlight is the fish andchips ($8.95), which are easily some of the best in the city. Madewith Alaskan halibut, each chunk is rich, buttery and tender andjuicy without being overly greasy. The side of coleslaw also hassome wasabi thrown in, giving it a nice spicy kick. The 1/3rd poundhamburgers ($6) are tender, juicy and a cut above thecompetition.

Overall, the Lompoc has food that comes off as pretty classy forpub fare and a beer selection that will satisfy even Portland’sbeer drinking elite with prices that leave room for an extrapitcher at the end of the night. So whether you’re looking for ahearty meal or a place to have a few drinks in the sun, the New OldLompoc is definitely worth putting in your mouth.


The New Old Lompoc
1616 N.W. 23rd Ave.
Sun. – Sat.: 11 a.m. – 1 a.m.