L-A Pub Crawl with L/A Meet up
By Toby Haber-Giasson | Photography by Lauryn Hottinger
We want to take you on a Saturday night tour of some of LA’s best nightspots. Who better to lead it than L/A Meet up?
L/A Meet up was started three years ago by members of Uplift (formerly YPLAA), an initiative by the LA Metro Chamber of Commerce to engage young professionals. Now their Facebook page is the hottest ticket in town for under-40s. L/A Meet up does social networking like it’s their job!
PEDRO O’Hara’s, Lewiston – 6pm
L/A Meet up told Pedro’s that LA Metro Magazine was coming, so their favorite waitress saves us a good table. She has bags of swag (t-shirts, hats, Mardi Gras beads) and good deals on the beer.
Why do you like Pedro’s?
Jennifer: Every time we go out, we start here.
Lauren: The waitresses know us by name, what we drink, our food orders. There’s a consistent staff, so you make relationships.
Jen: The food isn’t pub food, but it’s not high-end stuff you’re not sure about. Just real food, and regular beer. They even sell Baxter now.
Who comes here?
Lauren: Everyone- older people, families, us regulars.
Jen: When I see Bill (Welch, the owner), it’s hugs and good times. Bill had his grandchildren here, so there’s a family feel. Lots of lawyers come for happy hour.
Lauren: I come here with my parents because I know it’s gonna be reliable.
Jason and Paula arrive after a private dinner together at Fish Bones.
Jason: We like weekday happy hour- $1 beer.
Is it really about saving money, or just the fun of it?
Paula: Both. We all have good jobs, you know.
Special programming appeals to them.
Lauren: They have an unlimited taco bar on Tuesdays.
Adam: Pedro’s has pull tabs for beer discounts.
Jen: L/A Meet up comes here for Trivia Night on Tuesdays.
Lauren: We’ve won five or six times. We went to the championship against the Brunswick Pedro’s. Twice, we went in as the wildcard team, since the owner loves us. This past year, we won second place!
Baxter Brewing Menu
BAXTER BREWING, Bates Mill, Lewiston- 6:55pm
We walk up the steps to this bustling beer cafeteria- at night, an oasis in the no-man’s land of the Bates Mill complex. We meet other L/A Meet up friends here, in touch via text, who already snagged the best table for us.
We order pints in the taproom.
Lauren: Window Seat and Stowaway are usually our go-to’s. Window Seat is a seasonal brew, so you can only get that in the winter.
Why they meet-up in LA
Most of the members are single, but they’re using Meet up for fun, not to meet a mate.
Are there any couples who have met through Meet up?
Kelly McCosh & Sean Smith did. Kelly, who started the group meetup, originally, got a group of ladies together to attend a bachelor auction (for Amy Brooks who has CF). Kelly bought a date with Sean at the auction. That was three years ago, and they have been dating ever since.
Through the glass windows, you can see the brewery.
Jennifer: Baxter gives tours. You can see the machinery, sample some beer. They have six other huge tanks out back. And you can learn about Luke, the owner.
Paula: Luke’s a local guy. I think he went to Clark.
Is supporting local business appealing to you?
Jason- I like knowing Baxter’s a local brewery.
Paula-They were real trendsetters in terms of putting beer in cans. They also make small batch beers that employees make just once, with things in them no one ever made before, or again. Like Cherry Birthday Cake.
Does it really taste like that?
Paula: Cherry- yes, but I don’t know about the birthday cake!
There are games out here in the open space, intimate space in the tap room. Games include a bean bag game called corn hole, cribbage, and cards.
Adam: I’m here for air hockey.
These young people are drawn by Baxter’s events.
Jennifer: They do a Brewfest- we go every year. They get over 40 different breweries to come from all over the state. We’ve also built terrariums here!
Jen; They also do Bend and Brew here.
Isn’t that a little corny?
Sabrina: Not at all! You pay $30 and get 5 beers and 5-course meal after an hour of yoga with Chill Yoga, a studio down the street. The food is from Marche, because Baxter doesn’t have its own kitchen.
Bear Bones Beer, Lewiston- 7:57 pm
Like Baxter, Bear Bones is strictly a tasting room with eclectic seating available. Behind a counter is a wall with whimsical tap handles sticking out. Above is their menu.
The Meet up group probes the essence of Bear Bones.
Paula- He’s not looking for the same scale as Baxter.
Jason- He’s open to letting his brewers try something different.
Paula: Yes. He plays around with using CO2 or Nitrogen. That makes it taste different.
Jason: He made a beer with beets.
And you’re willing to try it?
Paula: Yes! I love the color.
Sabrina: I really like the one with the Smoky the Bear logo. It has a nice smoky aftertaste.
How does Bear Bones compare with Baxter?
Paula: Baxter is into commercial production for the region, Bear Bones is more intimate.
Meghan: I’m glad we have both of them. Portland has a wide range. I’m glad LA has two that are both wonderful, and different.
Jen: And in walking distance of each other!
Paula: Baxter does small batches of weird stuff, but here at Bear Bones, it’s all that.
There’s a performer playing the blues on a cigar box guitar.
How important is the musical entertainment?
Lauren: It’s hit or miss. We like the games.
Indeed, Bear Bones has backgammon tables, and a wooden Old Century baseball game. Our photographer, Lauryn Hottinger, just smacked a home run!
Fire House Grille, Auburn- 8:45 pm
We swing over to Auburn’s Fire House Grille when this writer gets hungry. The bar’s original owner, a retired fireman, filled it with old helmets, hoses and whimsical memorabilia. But it’s all about the beer.
What’s good here?
Lauren: Good wings, with lot of different sauces: Gen Tso, Sweet Chili, Buffalo- I don’t even have to look at the menu…On Wednesday and Sunday, they’re 75 cents.
Do you use Uplift for professional networking?
Megan: I like Uplift for the social contacts. They’re building a community to keep people in their 20s and 30s in the area, and that’s just as important as networking. Even though I’m from Windham, I come to LA instead of Portland.
Adam: I grew up in Greene, so LA is my city. I got into Meet up when Melissa Simones invited me to trivia. Since I started hanging out with this group, I’ve noticed what’s so cool about Lewiston; there’s so much culture here!
Jennifer: Good breakfast. We came here after the Bridge Run. They were open and we had Bloody Marys at 10:30 on a Sunday morning!
Fire House has music. Tonight it’s Andrew Bailie laying down a groovy cover of “Billie Jean” that’s making it hard to just sit still. And L/A Meet up? They like the beer.
Do you follow any bands?
Lauren: When Chad Porter plays here, and A Mighty Lion.
American Legion Hall, Post 153 Auburn- 9:30 pm
This stop is a palate cleanser. The average patron’s age here is much higher than…well, anywhere else. Jean Louie hosts Karaoke Night and we watch these older couples get up and dance.
Why do we like it here?
Lauren: It feels like I’m hanging out in my grandfather’s basement, only with a karaoke machine.
Jen: It’s karaoke with no judgment. Because of the age gap, they support you. Of course, you do have to sing old songs they like. The newer songs have too much sexuality.
Does the older crowd here set some relationship goals for you?
Lauren: When I see that older couple share their beer and then get up and slow dance to a song, hold each other- that’s what we want.
Jen: When I’m 80, I hope I can go out on a Saturday night and slow dance with my honey.
Do you see yourself here in 30, 40 years?
Jason: My family is just okay sitting home in front of the TV, but these people come here. We totally appreciate what they have.
Meghan: We revel in it. We hug them, to honor that dedication to each other.
Sabrina: After the ho hum of the week, Saturday is their night. If that’s all they have to look forward to; that’s epic.
Jen: And when they bring crockpots of food- we hit that night once a month!
This place is like a home away from home- with cheap beer.
Lauren: We never pay over $3 for Sam’s or PBR. The pitchers at the legion are $10. If you’re a member, you pay half of that.
The Blue Goose, Lewiston- 10:25pm
This place is brimming with patrons of all ages, some dancing, all drinking inexpensive beer.
Why do you like the Goose?
Jason: It’s loud, its crazy, and it’s a place where you can end the evening on a high note.
Jen: Everyone comes here. It’s been around forever, Batesies come here during the school year; in the summer, it’s kind of dead.
Lauren: I see a former patient over there, my car mechanic right there, and 20 of my best friends right here. What could be better?
Our bar crawl ends at 10:59pm, when we all get back in the van.
Thank you to our hosts for the night:
Jennifer Cooper, Paula Drouin, Adam Fortin, Meghan Hunt, Lauren Parkinson, Jason Raper, and Sabrina Toye.
Thanks to Jim Marston, our designated driver of the big, sexy 15 passenger van!
Special thanks to Jason Hall who came up with this idea in the first place. Not to mention adding some comic relief for Lauryn, our photographer.