Fantasy, food and music

Fantasy, food and music

Quirky web-covered branches all line the little gothic chandeliers on the ceiling at Old Nick’s Pub, and sturdy wooden tables stand on the black floors. Fantasy motifs and Pride flags hang along the walls, and there is a raised stage at the end of the room.

Being able to step into a fantasy-style European pub was the goal of Old Nick co-owner and general manager Emily Chappell. She wants you to enter the bar and ask if you are in Eugene or in a bar in a land far, far away. If the pub’s aesthetic doesn’t do it for you, the fanciful-themed menu will.

“There are great restaurants all around,” Chapel says of Eugene. “But you can’t really go in and feel the imaginary comment of disbelief.”

Old Nick was born from the idea of ​​a music venue. Chappelle says she found magic in the local music industry about 10 years ago after a concert helped her raise money for a life-saving cancer treatment that her insurance refused to pay for. She says the concert helped “name and shame” the insurance company, and she retracted her decision within a week.

In 2014, Chappelle found the then-empty building across from Washington Jefferson Park, where Well-known bands including Melvins and Blue Oyster Cult played in the ’90s when they were Harpo Blue Note. She then pitched the idea of ​​a bar, restaurant, and music venue to her father, who happily agreed to help finance the project. For him, the pub was an important meeting place, she says. Since then, the pub has become known locally for its food, social activism and events, and more recently for hosting and supporting the drag queen story time in the face of anti-LGBT rage from right-wing extremists.

Chappelle has a British grandmother, and she also grew up singing Irish music with her family, so the idea for a European pub theme arose. From there, Chapel’s love of goths and fairy tales, such as Lord of the rings And the Star Trekgave way to the pub’s Gothic, Victorian, fanciful theme.

“Imagine if there was a Gothic pub in London, or somewhere in the British countryside, and that was kind of the theme,” Chapel says.

Imagination was important in Chappelle’s life, as it was a refuge during the challenges of cancer treatment. tell stories like Lord of the rings It’s about facing the impossible, which is like facing cancer.

“When you’re facing cancer that seems impossible, you feel like you’re definitely going to die,” Chappelle says. “And then you don’t. And it’s more like a miraculous journey, just like a fantasy.”

The imaginative pub theme is implemented at the events it organizes, inspired by nerd culture, including an 80s movie. Labyrinth And breakfast and lunch with an outdoorsy theme.

At these meals, which happen once or twice a month, chef and kitchen manager Sky Gross says, the food is tailored to suit the theme. An example is the spaghetti dish with blood sausage Bolognese, based on Star TrekKlingons.

“I’ve been thinking about the Klingons, and everything they have is blood and honor,” Gross says. “So I ended up making a pasta dish, but instead of using beef or chicken, I used blood sausage.”

Another example of this brunch is a star Wars A dish inspired by the desert planet of Tatooine. The harsh landscapes remind Gross of the Middle East. So, they created a breakfast plate with foods like eggs, bacon, and tomatoes with spices and a presentation similar to falafel.

The menu outside of the brunch speaks volumes, too. Old Nick serves classic British or Irish pub food like shepherd’s pie, but the names are taken from fairy tales. For example, there is the Prancing Pony steak, with the name nodding to the Prancing Pony Inn from the hobbit.

“We imagine this is something you’d eat if you were at Prancing Pony,” Chapel explains.

While I haven’t tried the Prancing Pony’s steak, I had Orc’s Belly, which Chappelle says is her favorite menu item. It’s brown sugar bacon belly – where the wordplay came from – served with roast potatoes, seasonal vegetables, and a balsamic mustard sauce. For someone who isn’t usually a fan of pork, the belly slices were perfect – not overly roasted, with just the right amount of chew. The potatoes and vegetables were balanced with the meat, and the mustard sauce added just the right touch to complete the flavour.

For the less adventurous eater, I assure you, the burgers and fries won’t disappoint. For me, the burger was a classic, high-quality burger that you would expect from a pub, and the fries had a unique seasoning that paired nicely.

While you’re enjoying your fantasy-inspired meal, you’ll regularly get a show on stage. As Chappelle says, the pub is inclusive for anyone who plays there. From local punk acts, live action role-playing games to Dungeons and Dragons and roving teams to pull off events – even this story time for families – everyone is welcome.

Located at 211 Washington Street, Old Nick’s is open from 4 p.m. to midnight Monday through Wednesday, 11 a.m. to midnight Thursday, 11 a.m. to 2 a.m. Friday and Saturday, and 11 a.m. to midnight Sunday. Details of the events and roster can be found at OldNicksPub.com.

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