Put It In Your Mouth: Doug Fir Lounge

The Doug Fir Lounge is all the rage these days. The latestdesign implant from Skylab, on East Burnside, seems to be the new”it” place where all the cute kiddies are congregating. I’ll admit,when I first heard about plans for this new all-in-one hipster’stheme park, I couldn’t help but get excited at the possibility formayhem. The Doug Fir promotes itself to be a great place to take ina show, grab a drink, eat at the Fir’s 21-hour restaurant and evenstay the night at the adjacent Jupiter Hotel. With so many optionsat one location, it seems that the Doug Fir is on to something thatmight actually be good for the city’s less-trafficked eastside. Butyou never know how things will pan out.

Not surprisingly, the Doug Fir is packed on the weekend. (I wasthere on a Friday, and getting a drink was next to impossible). Thenarrow space between the bar and a wall quickly becomes a gauntletof drunk dudes and well-dressed ladies jockeying for a glance fromthe swamped bar staff, but that’s just the weekend.

I returned to the restaurant late on a Tuesday night, afterwork. This is a better time to take in the ambiance. The organicelements (wood paneling and giant suspended wood beams above thebar) are complimented by the sleek modern light fixtures andbooths, and the combination creates an atmosphere that isreminiscent of an eerie late night in L.A., with a definiteNorthwest twist. The staff is composed of all those kids you see atparties and bars. It’s as if the owners of this bar had a hipstercasting call, hiring up anyone with cute tattoos, tight jeans and aBishop’s hairdo. This group of pretty kids working definitelycompliments the sleek aesthetic of the space.

Huddled in a booth at the center of the restaurant at about 2a.m., I couldn’t help but notice the unusual number of cute womenpresent at such a late hour. Our waiter that night was very nice,albeit a bit frazzled. I ordered the Italian Eggs Benedict forseven bucks and my friends both ordered versions of the pastamarinara. Because I am a vegetarian, I ordered my eggs with veggiesausage and my friend ordered his with the regular meat-basedItalian. When our orders finally arrived, the two sausages wereswitched – I got the meat and he got the faux-meat. No big deal, wejust sent it back to have them try it again, right? In about thirtyseconds we got the food back and it was obvious that the kitchenhad just pulled my sausage off the muffin, slapped it on the otherplate and then slipped some veggie sausage onto mystill-covered-in-meat-sauce muffin. Gross, dude. I mean, I am nottoo militant about my food touching meat, but I’m sure some peoplewouldn’t appreciate such sloppy treatment.

The food itself was pretty horrible. It seems they have one hugevat of diced tomatoes that they probably order from Cisco orsomething and call it “marinara,” “Italian benedict sauce,” or Godknows what else. With an over-abundance of this curious medley, itbecame impossible to come close to finishing the massive portion oftomato product heaped onto my dish. Once you’re served, eating atthe Doug Fir is too much like eating at a chain restaurant. I thinkthey would do well to reconsider their late night menu because, asmy friend commented, “the only reason you know it’s not a Denny’sis because they tell you so.”