Live music and 59 beers make The Dublin Pub a Raleigh Hills mecca
Negotiating the complex, congested intersection of Beaverton-Hillsdale Highway and Southwest Scholls Ferry and Oleson roads, one could be forgiven for overlooking the unassuming watering hole wedged into a narrow strip right where the roads converge.
Behind the Dublin Pubs boxy, almost utilitarian exterior, however, youll find one of the Westsides most inviting, multi-faceted nightspots and live-music venues. Friendly patrons? Check. Authentic Irish-bohemian ambience? Double check. Stage and spacious dance floor? Absolutely. Pool tables? Oh yeah. Beers and micro brews on tap? Try 59.
The Raleigh Hills club even has a fetching and functional fireplace.
Since 1983, the Dublin Pub, 6821 S.W. Beaverton-Hillsdale Highway, has served as a welcoming Westside oasis: An entertainment-oriented bar combining the energy and looseness of a roadhouse with the accessibility and comfort level of a neighborhood pub. Beyond its uniquely cozy atmosphere, the Dublin also is one of the very few places Beaverton-area residents can enjoy live entertainment without crossing the hills into Portland.
Music emanates from the Dublin stage up to six nights a week, with trivia games and Texas Hold Em poker tournaments on tap Monday and Tuesday evenings.
This is the first place on the Westside I found that has any kind of nightlife, says John, a 10-year resident of the Bonny Slope area. I usually end up going to the Eastside for all these kinds of things.
Filling a void
On a lively Friday night late last fall, John and his friend Linda were among the throng of patrons who filed into the Dublin to blow off steam, chat with friends and boogie down to Ants in the Kitchen, a soul- and rhythm and blues-based band from Beaverton.
Dain Ryan, who plays bass guitar and sings background vocals for the Ants, calls the Dublin one of his and his band mates favorite venues anywhere in the Portland area.
Its cool, he says. The Westside is kind of our area. It always has been and always will be. Theres always an eclectic bunch and a good vibe here.
Along with the Tillicum, located a mile or so west on Beaverton-Hillsdale Highway, the Dublin has proved one of the only reliable venues this side of Portland.
Every once in awhile, we get a place that has live music, then after awhile they dont do it anymore, Ryan says.
Alex, 28, a software engineer who moved to Raleigh Hills from his native Moscow, Russia, says he likes the Dublins friendliness as well as its proximity to his Oleson Road home.
Its the closest bar and has a lot of nice people, he says. There are a lot of regulars. Thats why I like it here.
Keep it movin
On this particular Friday, the Dublin comprises patrons ranging in age from early 20s to senior status. While the three pool tables and dartboards in the game room stayed busy, others enjoyed cocktails on tables near the fireplace.
As the Ants complete with horn section and a designated female go-go dancer crank out sharp, stylish versions of Stevie Wonders Superstition, the Rolling Stones Brown Sugar, and Sam Cookes Bring it on Home to Me, patrons gradually fill the dance floor, getting their grooves on in a variety of styles and rhythmic abilities.
From a fireside table nearby, Shireen Kinney and her friend, Debbie LeDoux, take in the action but dont rule out the possibility of cutting loose to the music.
We come here because of the band, Kinney says. Theyre just kind of a fun rock and roll band. I also like to dance.
Kinney appreciates the Dublins options.
Theres plenty of room. Theres a sports bar area and pool tables, she says. And I like the clientele.
Chris Loughner, the Dublins manager, says unlike some music-oriented bars in the Portland area, the Dublin has a more inclusive than exclusive feel and attitude.
In some ways there is less pretension here, he admits. Its the best (live music) option I can think of in this neck of the woods.
In addition to the music itself, Loughner, 42, finds the attitude of the patrons makes the Dublin a special place to spend time.
I enjoy the regulars, and its good to see new people come in the door, he says. Its an interesting mixture of people of all ages. There are people here from 21 to 80 tonight.
The ratio here of entertaining to annoying is pretty good, he adds. Thats crucial. It says a lot to see this many people in a space, with alcohol involved, and get this many smiling faces.
Taking a set break before getting back on stage with Ants in the Kitchen, Ryan notes how the bands good-time soul sound seems to connect with all ages and musical tastes.
It doesnt matter how old you are. It just brings back memories, he says. I just wish there were more places out here to do it.