*Under the Bridge
Written by Hillary Holman #NWGoodEats
It’s August and it is time to fish, sleep, eat and repeat for many of us. For those of you headed down to the mouth of the mighty Columbia, let me tell you about a little place called Workers Tavern.
I found this joint after fishing 7 days straight and driving 1000 miles up and down and back again on Pacific HWY 101 with Mike and Rob. We needed some R and R to keep up the pace for the home stretch.
After a day of fishing salmon and crabbing out of West Mooring Basin in Astoria, I ran in to a deck hand working the dock. His rain gear looked about as tired as mine. I asked him where folks go to eat around here. His furrowed brow instantly raised, and he gave a little chuckle. He pointed to the other side of the street just south of the Astoria Bridge and said, “You need to go on over to Workers. That’s where we all go when we’re done working. I wouldn’t go anywhere else.” This place was literally right under the bridge and not even a block away from our hotel. I gave him a nod and off I ran to look for the guys. This gal was headed to the Workers.
It took 5 minutes to wash my face and take off my boots and away Rob and I went, down the main drag of Astoria to find this infamous place. We took off from our hotel on foot and found Workers Tavern quickly. You can’t miss it If you are on foot. If you are driving, you may get distracted by the monolithic bridge you are driving under, so be careful, find a place to park and walk your way under the bridge.
The door looks as though it may have come off a 1500’s Portuguese pirate ship. It’s been there for generations. Treasure adorns the walls. Literally, thousands of $1 bills that have been signed and hung from travelers and workers alike. The Buddy Board at the door is a list of drinks that exists from locals who have earned their names upon the drinks here. The history is extraordinary. Walking up to the bar to order, eyes gazing up from the bar gave us a smile and a nod. We were all here for the same reason. Good food, good company and some rest. I ordered the Tuna Burger with Stew, Rob ordered the Ribeye and some hush puppies.
We got our order in and headed down the dollar adorned hallway to the back patio. What a great surprise! The salty sea air filled a lovely and lively outdoor space with an eclectic mix of patrons enjoying the evening. There were fire pits and dart boards. The locals were shaking mason jars wrapped in washcloths. What were they doing? Were they making butter in a new old-fashioned kind of way? How odd but fun! Actually, they all had ordered the Yucca a signature Workers cocktail. The trick is, a Yucca must be shaken for 2 solid minutes until the washcloth releases from the ice on the glass, then it is ready to drink. Be careful friends, these are delicious and dangerous. The stew was ridiculously good! The Tuna Burger hit the spot. Only love, time and care create food like this. Rob’s steak was well seasoned, cooked perfectly, and very satisfying after a long day on the water. Two Yuccas later, and with a full belly, we stumbled back over to the Astoria Riverwalk Inn for a long night’s sleep.
If you are in Astoria, and you are working, this is the place for you. Put a buck on the wall and kick your feet up. Enjoy the friendly workers who frequent here. Enjoy the grumpy workers who frequent here. I think you’ll enjoy the food, drinks, and atmosphere as much as we did! It a good time. Cheers to you Goonie Town for having one of the Pacific Northwest’s gem dive bars right under your bridge.