A Portland State tradition died last week, and we are poorer for it. The Second Act Lounge, long a hangout for PSU students of all stripes, had to quit offering Dollar Drink Night. There is much innuendo and rumor as to why this great tradition had to cease, but the bottom line is that Dollar Drink Night is gone, and there is a hole in my heart.
I could blame the athletes or the Linfield nursing students, but I have a feeling the blame lies with the OLCC, an institution of which I’ve long been suspicious.
The owner of The Second Act hates me. A few years ago, I had to write a news article about a fight that happened on or around the property. Campus security told me it happened at the Second Act, and no one from the lounge returned my phone calls. My article went to press saying the fight happened at the Second Act, and Hazel (the Second Act’s proprietor) was hopping mad. The fight didn’t happen in her establishment.
Later, after I’d thought the dust had settled, Kiley Cronen, the Vanguard advertising manager for about a million years, informed me that Hazel had declared she would not advertise in the Vanguard until I was gone.
Once again, I made my mark in the heart and mind of a reader.
I think she got mad again when someone else (it could have been me) called the Second Act a “dive bar.” Now the Vanguard is not allowed on the premises at all.
Even though Hazel hates me, I love her bar. It has been my favorite spot on campus since I started attending in April 1999. The Vanguard staff used to hang out there on a regular basis. There should be a plaque honoring us, like the Brown Derby or something. “Vanguard Table – They were good at drinking.”
I celebrated birthdays, breakups, introduced boyfriends, cried about boyfriends, met new friends, calmed my fears, got rid of post-test jitters and just had a good time at the Second Act. It is my favorite bar in Portland. It has a great jukebox and a friendly staff that treats the regulars well.
I will miss Dollar Drink Night, where my college dollar was taken further than it could be anywhere else. Seriously, where else could you get drunk on $5? Or, in my case, $8?
Whether or not you consider the Second Act to be a dive, it is a Portland State institution. God, I almost feel like I’m writing a eulogy.
The Second Act isn’t closing, but our Thursdays will be much more bleak. Yes, we will still meet at the Second Act after work and class, and we will spend our money, because the Second Act is reasonably priced, even when it’s not Dollar Drink night. The bar food is also good. Greasy fries and Jack Daniels have really enhanced my figure.
A sign on the register declared that more drink specials are to come, and we Portland Staters must meet this with a greater sense of responsibility. We must keep out underaged girls (and boys), the athletes must behave themselves, the Linfield nursing students must wear more clothing and speak in softer voices (and honestly, they should know better than to wear spike heels, they are future nurses for god’s sake. Don’t they know that 90 percent of all foot surgeries are performed on women because of the shoes we wear?), we must tip the staff generously and never, ever refer to the Second Act as a dive bar. It is clear that Hazel has poured her life into it, and we should treat it with the same amount of respect. After all, the Second Act has given us so much, it’s the least we could do to keep it thriving.