There are two categories of bars. The first is bars that I don’t like: prison bars, bar codes, barbers, El De Barge, and Barbarossa rum. The second category is (plot twist!) bars that I do like: rap bars, chocolate bars, Babar the Elephant, Bar Rafaeli, and, above all, bars where you get drunk (but not on, obviously, Barbarossa. See category one for further clarification).
When determining which school to root for in the Civil War it is important to note which town would be more fun to celebrate in. While I can’t say I’ve been to every bar or club in Eugene and Corvallis, I’ve been to enough to form an opinion backed by semi-exhaustive “research.” My findings indicate that one town is the clear winner: bar none.
To begin, take the dry campus that is the University of Oregon. Now, “dry campus” doesn’t exactly scream par-tay, but don’t let that appellation trick you. There are multiple bars within a block or two of campus, the holy trinity being Taylor’s, Rennie’s, and Max’s. Personally, I find Max’s to be the best of the three; Rennie’s has two floors, which forces me to negotiate stairs while intoxicated (not fun!), and Taylor’s is always so packed with Greek life riffraff that you’ll likely catch either a black eye from an errant fist-bump or an STD just squeezing your way towards the dance floor. Max’s can be crowded as well, but they offer “Sweet Caroline” sing-a-longs and free popcorn. Plus, they serve delicious and underappreciated pickled eggs. Other attractions include the exercise in neon-colored chaos that is 80’s Night at John Henry’s and the hidden gem of $2.50 microbrew pints at Agate Alley on Wednesdays.
If all that sounds like a bit of a mixed bag, well, it is. At least the bag is “mixed” in Eugene, whereas in Corvallis the bag is full of nothing but flaming crap (side note: when did leaving burning bags of poop on doorstops stop being a staple of American teenage society? I want to go back to those days). To be fair, Downward Dog is a nice place on the riverfront that gains major points for naming a drink after the greatest TV show of all time, but they are the only bar in Corvallis I feel deserves my hard-earned and/or embezzled money. The Peacock, while offering $1 Pabst all day every day, attracts the type of shady crowd that you’d expect to frequent a bar that offers $1 Pabst all day every day. Sancho’s and Impulse, located right next to each other, are perfect if you’re looking to get the tar beat out of you by an enraged bro in a polo shirt, but don’t’ serve much of a purpose beyond that. There is also the tiny bar in the back of Bombs Away, but in order to enter you have to recite the lyrics to at least five Arcade Fire songs and sign a blood oath declaring Wes Anderson the greatest director of all time.
Verdict: Comparing the bars in Eugene to those in Corvallis is kind of like comparing eating a Hot Pocket to eating rubber boots. Sure, Hot Pockets aren’t “high cuisine,” and yes, they can be gross at times, but would you really prefer to gnaw through galoshes? I thought so. Eugene wins this category, tying up the score for the week at 2-2.