Beer Goggles Salem

What is it about Salem that attracts so many chain restaurant franchises? We have just about every low end greasy fast food joint you can think of. That's why it wasn't a surprise to me that Salem had a Beer Goggles. I hadn't been to this one on Hawthorne near Market St. before, but I knew that this franchise is a great place to watch March Madness. They usually have great drink specials and the spiciest chicken wings. The Beer Goggles in Salem is on the back side of Moon's Cabaret which is why I wasn't able to convince my wife to come along with me on this adventure. When she saw that we were driving around the side of a gentleman's club, she refused to get out of the car. I didn't want to miss any of the Duke tournament game, so I jumped out and my wife promised to pick me up when the game was over. The first sign that this was going to be an unusual experience was the lack of smokers hanging out in front of the tavern. It didn't take long to discover where they were. As I opened the door, a cloud of cigarette smoke wafted over me like a fire fighter entering a burning building. The lack of oxygen caught me by surprise and I went into a coughing fit as I entered the room. When I finally gathered myself together enough to stand up straight, the bartender placed a 24oz Coors Light in front of me and said, "the first one is on the house." I told him that I thought smoking in bars was illegal in Oregon. The bartender and owner Mike McMahon told me that it was illegal, until an amendment was passed to the smoking ban during the February special session. According to Mike, a temporary loophole allows for smoking in restaurants and bars with franchises in multiple states.

The law change was made, he said, to reconnect smokers with the Oregon Lottery in an effort to boost revenue while the state suffers from the down economy. A connection was made here for sure, every person in the places was puffing away. My irritated eyes watered as I scanned the paper menu for a bite to eat. Many of the items on the menu are endorsed by pro athletes and other various celebrities. Since I was rooting for the Blue Devils from Duke, I selected the Sockaroni Spaghetti Marinara for $6.95, a favorite of coach Mike Krzyzewski. When the item finally came out from the kitchen, the server's hand that was clutching my plate was also holding a lit cigarette with ashes dangerously close to dropping into the food. When I alerted the owner, he promptly took care of the situation by calling the young women back into the kitchen. An argument ensued, and the server stormed out of the kitchen and out the front door, still holding that same cigarette. The guilt of having this person fired ruined my appetite. So, I decided to approach the owner to smooth out the situation. Mike was a forgiving guy but said that she had been making a lot of mistakes like that, ever since his personal relationship with her went sour. After a quick scan of the pasta, he wasn't able to see any ashes and then took the plate into the kitchen for a "reheat." On his return, I was given another complimentary Coor's Light. Not bad for under $7. I tipped him $10 for his troubles.

The owner continued to tell me that Beer Goggle's is into sustainable business practices and donates to needy causes. The night I was there, all the proceeds from the video games were given to charities that supported social justice. All of his drinks are served in bottles and cans to reduce the amount of dish washing required to run the kitchen. Not only does all that get recycled, but they are also re-purposed. He grabbed my now empty cans of Coors Light, led me to the alleyway on the side of the bar and to a latter leading up to the rooftop. Up there, he showed me a firing range that he is working on to attract customers during the summer months. Mike took the cans to a card table set up at the other end of the roof. He came back to a where I was standing pointed his finger at the cans cocked his thumb and made a firing noise with his mouth. All of this he said should be ready by First Wednesday in April.
With all of this going on, I wound up not seeing too much of the game anyway. Beer Goggles is not somewhere that I recommend going to if you do not like cigarette smoke but they have lot's of big screen TV's for watching tournament games. Next time I'm in there, I'm planning on ordering the spicy chicken wings a favorite of both Dennis Rodman and Phil Mickelson.

1532 Hawthorne St.
Salem, OR 97301

13 comments:

KandN said...

I spotted that place the other day--missed my turn and had to turn around. N wants to know if they have big screen TVs? How were those spicy wings?

Anonymous said...

We had a great time watching the Super Bowl there a couple of years ago. The atmosphere is very relaxed. The wings taste as good as they look in their ads.

Salem Man said...

K, they have lots of big screen tv's and even more little ones. The smoke was pretty thick in there so I didn't do too much exploring. I regret not ordering the wings they did look really good and the portions large. Maybe next time.

Stephanie Matlock Allen said...

First Burgerville's compostable cups, and now this. It's so great to have another franchise practicing sustainability - what an ingenious way to re-use materials! I'll be sure to stop by on First Wednesday.

Bart Franken said...

I work for the Oregon Legislature and I can assure you that Mike is pulling your leg about the smoking ban amendment. No such loophole was passed or even considered in February. Mike has been defying the laws for years and I'm surprised he passes health inspections. I will contact the Oregon Restaurant Association about this issue.

Anonymous said...

I think you mean Stars Cabaret (instead of Moon's). :)

tracylee said...

That's too bad about the smoke. I try to avoid that area of town, but if they have live music, maybe I can persuade my N to go join in.

The prices sound great, and Mike sounds like he's determined to make customers happy!

Nate Rafn said...

It all sounds so bizarre!

Anonymous said...

Wow! Where can I get won of those beer glasses they show on there website? Awesome!

jason said...

I just moved to Salem last week, i might try this place out tonight.

Anonymous said...

They're allowing people to smoke in restaurants! This is another example of a government takeover and turning this into a nanny state. Backroom deals, creating legislative loopholes, forcing us to smoke in restaurants. I don't want the government meddling with our smoking ban. This hopey changey stuff isn't working out for us at all.

Anonymous said...

Mama, Thanks for pointing out my gullibility. You kept me from making a fool out of myself by writing to the ASPCA to complain about the unfair treatment of chickens at Beer Goggles, making them hang out in such a smoky place. It could be hazardous to their health.

Now I can better spend my time writing to the Frivolity Squad of the Salem Police and finally get Salem Man convicted of a crime. I see from the Statesman Journal that he just recently escaped another conviction. "Salem man gets no prison time in bomb case" SJ March 23, 2010.

KandN said...

Anonymous said...
"They're allowing people to smoke in restaurants! This is another example of a government takeover and turning this into a nanny state. Backroom deals, creating legislative loopholes, forcing us to smoke in restaurants. I don't want the government meddling with our smoking ban. This hopey changey stuff isn't working out for us at all."

I knew that Obama guy was going to do something like this to poor smokers. He made them get that health insurance first. Now, he is giving them a reason to use it by making them go into smoky restaurants. I'll just have to drink me some more tea and make him go away.

N