The routine since this past November has been a simple. A good friend and I finish every weekend mountain bike ride with the search for the best post-ride place to drink beer and have something to eat.
Our criteria for a best place designation are simple. It must offer a variety of beers with the majority of them not being "lite" or turned out by megabreweries. The food menu has to have a few more choices than fried everything. No, I'm not talking tofu burgers, but a range of culinary possibilities.
Next, there has to be a couple of big-screen television sets so we can catch whatever sports events that might be worth watching.
Finally, the best post-ride place has to be one where you don't have to scream to make yourself heard. That, and it can't be subject to heavy doses of bro/bra cooler than thou 'tude.
Tough criteria? You'd be surprised at how many good places there are for low key, low noise, low attitude imbibing and noshing. Sure not all the places we ended up considering tops meet all the criteria but most do and do it well.
Topping our list is the Three Creeks Brewing Company in Sisters after rides on the Peterson Ridge or Maston Allotment trail systems.
Three Creeks turns out some good brews (try the red) and the food is well beyond classic pub grub. Atmosphere, noise level, good television sets, nice bar and a complete lack of bro/bra make for a great apres-bike experience.
While having nothing by way of televisions, the Terrebonne Depot rates high for the great building, bar, food, and, when the weather's right, my vote for the best deck dining and swilling experience in Central Oregon.
Ride Gray Butte or Smith Rock and then add in a visit to the Terrebonne Depot. It's a killer combo.
After riding Horse Butte, and even Horse Ridge, we head to Boston's Restaurant and Sports Bar. Boston's gets high marks for multiple television screens, decent food, and decent brews. You can hear yourself even if you whisper in this place and we've yet to run into any 'tude.
Now for the biggest surprise of all -- the Draft House in the Cascade Village Shopping Center. There it sits right in the middle of franchise central yet Deb Beaver was able to put together a great little pub totally free of pretension. It's a comfortable space with easily the best selection of brews on tap in Bend, decent eats and plenty of TV sets to watch if some decent sports event happens to be on.
That's the good news. The apparent bad news was that the place has been closed as of late. Not to worry, one local brewer tells me that it's simply a change in ownership in progress. I hope so because the Draft House gets tops honors for being the least likely candidate (hey, it's in a shopping center) for post-ride enjoyment but has become a go-to place.
Another viable option for the killer combination of eats, brews, tvs, low noise, low amount of tude plus a cool deck after Gray Butte or Maston Rides is the Seventh Street Brew House in Redmond.
Now hold on a minute you might say, what about all those don't miss pubs people always talk about? It short, our complaints with them are: too noisy and way too much "Bendatude" despite decent brews and food.