Live music and 59 beers make The Dublin Pub a Raleigh Hills mecca

by: TIMES PHOTO: JAIME VALDEZ - Dain Ryan, bass guitarist for Ants In The Kitchen, entertains a lively crowd at the Dublin Pub.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 Pub’s boxy, almost utilitarian exterior, however, you’ll find one of the Westside’s 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. by: TIMES PHOTO: JAIME VALDEZ  - Shireen Kinney listens to her favorite band, Ants In The Kitchen, at the Dublin Pub in Raleigh Hills, one of the only regular live-music venues on the Westside.

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.

“It’s cool,” he says. “The Westside is kind of our area. It always has been and always will be. There’s 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 don’t do it anymore,” Ryan says.

Alex, 28, a software engineer who moved to Raleigh Hills from his native Moscow, Russia, says he likes the Dublin’s friendliness as well as its proximity to his Oleson Road home.

“It’s the closest bar and has a lot of nice people,” he says. “There are a lot of regulars. That’s why I like it here.”by: TIMES PHOTO: JAIME VALDEZ - Mike and Steph Diamond take to the dance floor as Ants In The Kitchen entertains the crowd at The Dublin Pub.

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 Wonder’s “Superstition,” the Rolling Stones’ “Brown Sugar,” and Sam Cooke’s “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 don’t rule out the possibility of cutting loose to the music.

“We come here because of the band,” Kinney says. “They’re just kind of a fun rock and roll band. I also like to dance.”

Kinney appreciates the Dublin’s options.

“There’s plenty of room. There’s a sports bar area and pool tables,” she says. “And I like the clientele.”

Melting pot

Chris Loughner, the Dublin’s 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. “It’s 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 it’s good to see new people come in the door,” he says. “It’s 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. “That’s 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 band’s good-time soul sound seems to connect with all ages and musical tastes.

“It doesn’t matter how old you are. It just brings back memories,” he says. “I just wish there were more places out here to do it.”by: TIMES PHOTO: JAIME VALDEZ - Angie Quinn of Camas, Wash., dances to the 1960s- and '70s-based soul, rock and rhythm and blues stylings of Ants In The Kitchen at The Dublin Pub in Raleigh Hills. Top, Dain Ryan, the bandɢâ¬Ã¢¢s bass guitarist, entertains the lively crowd. Above, Mike and Steph Diamond take to the dance floor. Below, Antsɢâ¬Ã¢¢ drummer Edwin Coleman, entertains the crowd. Below left, Erin Metts, Ants in the Kitchenɢâ¬Ã¢¢s backing vocalist and dancer, works her magic on the Dublin Pub crowd.

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