2016 MUGGY awards
THE VALLEY VOTED FOR THE BEST, AND THE RESULTS ARE IN
Scientific? Not exactly. But a survey of about 300 local imbibers resulted in some thoughtful results to help you select your destination depending on what you're looking for.
Bar with best atmosphere/ambiance
Winner: Golden Valley Brew Pub — The back bar at Golden Valley (of dense Honduran mahogany salvaged from a Portland hotel of the 1920s) steals the show every time a new patron enters. Relax with a craft brew just yards from where it's made, while chatter fills the air and sports are televised on the flat screen TVS, or take a cocktail to the backroom for a game of shuffleboard and to watch the game in a more private setting. Other top vote-getters: Wildwood Hotel; The Bitter Monk; The Old Oak.
Best Happy Hour Menu
Winner: Golden Valley Brew Pub — A staple of McMinnville's dining and bar scene since it opened, the happy hour menu was updated just after voting, with oysters, Big Boy Mac 'n' Cheese, sliders and more. Other top vote-getters: McMenamins Hotel Oregon; 411 Eatery & Lounge; La Rambla.
Best Beer Selection
Winner: The Bitter Monk — McMinnville’s downtown growler station has quickly become a favorite. With 16 rotating beer and cider taps and 100 bottles in the fridge, there’s always something specific for every taste. Small pub that offers plenty, also with a big screen, live music, and outside seating popular when the weather is good. Other top vote-getters: Growlers Tap Station; Golden Valley Brew Pub.
Best Live Entertainment
Winner: The Wildwood Hotel — As intimate a music experience there is in the Northwest, Wildwood has become a destination off the beaten path for regional and national touring music acts embracing the opportunity to perform in this charming, turn-of-the century tavern. Truly a hidden gem of the Northwest music scene. Other top vote-getters: The Mac Club; The Horse Radish; Grain Station Brew Works.
Best Spot for a Cocktail
Winner: Thistle — Bartender Patrick Bruce’s reputation as a mixologist precedes him. Quaint, modern and connected to a renowned farm-to-fork restaurant, the bar at Thistle is one to check off the bucket list for cocktail enthusiasts. Other top vote-getters: The Blue Moon; Nick’s Back Room; The 411 Eatery & Lounge.
Best Bar for a Glass of Wine
Winner: Nick’s Back Room — If no one ever showed you, you would never discover it. But once you find the door at the end of a trash receptacle-filled alley, you will step into one of the classiest locations in town, with bottles from the world’s finest wines lining the walls. If you run into founder Nick Peirano, challenge him to a game of pool, if you dare. Other top vote-getters: R Stuart Wine Bar; La Rambla; Willamette Valley Tasting Room.
Winner: Ben Unterseher, Golden Valley Brew Pub — How do you earn a following from patrons as a bartender? Martini Fridays is a good start. Ben U serves up a new recipe every Friday until close for just $5. Other top vote-getters: Patrick Bruce, Thistle; Troy Fuller, The Deluxe Billiard Parlour.
Best Small Town Bar
Winner: The Wildwood Hotel, Willamina — Adding to the intrigue of this establishment are the constant ghost hunters seeking out the upstairs boutique hotel and a colorful past that includes time as a brothel. Other top vote-getters: Lumpy’s Tavern, Dundee; Barrel 47, Carlton; Trask Mountain Outpost, Yamhill.
Best Bar for Day Drinking
Winner: The Blue Moon — Great for breakfast and a bloody Mary or to escape reality mid-day. For what one of McMinnville’s most historic bars lacks in daylight, it makes up for in authentic '70s decor, drinks friendly on the wallet and a sense of community inside — no matter the time of day. Other top vote-getters: The Bitter Monk; McMenamins Hotel Oregon Rooftop Bar; Growlers Tap Station.
Best Bar to Watch the Big Game
Winner: Jae’s Landing — Neighborhood bar just off Highway 99W in NW McMinnville has TVs in every direction, plenty of open space to walk around giving high fives when your team is up, and an outside deck to calm the nerves when things aren't going so well. Other Top Vote-getters: KAOS (1882 Grille), Golden Valley Brew Pub; The Mac Club.
Best Spot to Play Pool
Winner: The Deluxe Billiard Parlour — What’s in a name? While there’s plenty to say about the place locals affectionately call “The Dirty D,” it’s the two pool tables next to the juke box that are the heart and soul of this decades-old bar. Stealing from one Yelp reviewer: “The charm (for most) is infectious.” Other top vote-getters: Nick’s Back Room; The Mac Club; Jae’s Landing.
Best Bar for Singles to Mingle
Best Bar to Responsibly Play Video Lottery
Winner: The Blue Moon — Between the bar and restrooms, and just a couple steps to the ATM, the six video machines at The Blue Moon allow you to play for the jackpot without completely ditching your group. Remember to set a limit! Other top vote-getters: The Deluxe Billiard Parlour.