It's a timeless scene: a man in a suit masterfully navigates the ivory keys of a Mason & Hamlin grand piano on a small stage, its Plexiglas lid illuminating the hammers as they delicately pad along the strings. On stools gathered around the instrument, a couple dines on braised filet mignon, and a bit farther back in the softly lit, intimate venue, a waiter carries a tray of gourmet cocktails. Every night, Ivories Jazz Lounge & Restaurant sets the stage for world-class jazz players and the culinary stylings of chef and occasional ice sculptor Art Trafton. The menu is loaded with supper-club classics such as beef au poivre, mixed grille, and a diverse selection of pastas. The bar stirs up similarly comforting signature drinks, among them the alpine with peppermint schnapps, whipped cream, and hot cocoa. Around dusk, ensembles that often include founder and master pianist Jim Templeton take to the stage with a blend of improvisation and standards. Nightly events range from jazz collectives to blues players, and occasionally depart from the jazz-club template to feature standup, poetry, and workshops on topics ranging from music to jazz-style stage-diving etiquette.
At Cozmic, the culinary team kneads organic flour made from local Willamette Valley wheat into crusts that are brushed with buttery extra-virgin olive oil. Then, they pile on toppings and set the pies to bake on 700-degree stones. The list of toppings—many of which are also organic, such as the apples—breaks traditional pizza boundaries by including unique options such as kale, and vegetarian meats, which offer an alternative to the eatery’s local sausage, smoked pork, and pepperoni.
These Jersey-Eugene-style fusion pies are the brainchild of Kirk Giudici, also the founder of Rising Moon Organics. When Kirk decided to embark on a second organic foods endeavor by opening a pizzeria, he found himself drawn to a vintage 1945 building that was an Edsel car dealership back when man didn’t travel only by hovercraft. While renovating the 4,000-square-foot auto display room, the same environmental principles that led Kirk to organics undergirded his decorating approach of using only recycled and repurposed materials. As a result, diners sip their homemade fountain sodas and Oregonian microbrews while perched at a bar made from a shuffleboard and lit with dryer-drum light fixtures from Kirk’s Laundromat.
The restaurant space, massive enough to have once housed a fleet of automobiles, enabled Kirk to create a stage dubbed The Edsel, which has attracted national acts such as Michelle Shocked, The Be Good Tanyas, and eight-time Grammy Award winner Marcia Ball. In addition to musical acts, the pizzeria’s calendar is full of events such as Science Pub, when tipplers learn about topics such as why it’s impossible to teleport your clothes along with your body.
West Fest 2011, an outdoor music festival nestled in Wallace Marine Park, entertains concertgoers with a brimming lineup of classic and contemporary rock performers. Headlining musician Chuck Prophet—known for recording alongside Warren Zevon, sharing stage space with Lucinda Williams, and living up to his last name by predicting future events—takes the stage at 8 p.m. with his band The Mission Express. Session guitarist Jeff Pevar from David Crosby side-project CPR opens the night at 6:30 p.m. with a solo performance and three-handed ventriloquist-dummy quartet.
When they first opened, Primrose & Tumbleweeds sold 47 types of wine by the bottle. Today, their selection has increased to more than 4,000 wines, with regional pride fueling its growth—the store features a gigantic sampling of wines made in Oregon and the Northwest. Such a sizable inventory might seem intimidating, but the staff has settled on a few surefire methods for doling out sips: daily tastings, an ever-changing "Today's Pour" menu, and a weekday happy hour that runs from 3 p.m. to 6 p.m., not to mention live music on Fridays and Saturdays.
Even though wine is the main event, the venue is no mere wine bar. More than 250 craft beers and 75 hard ciders round out the list of libations, in addition to small-batch spirits that are distilled locally. The food menu proves just as changeable as the drink specials, with seasonal dishes such as bratwurst simmered in Guinness and the remains of a local snowman. The kitchen's ingredients are typically local, and the prep, hands-on. For example, homemade soups full of mushrooms and Hungarian spices complement sandwiches piled with turkey, brie, and whole-berry cranberry sauce.
Named for the famed German soprano, Lotte Lehmann Concert Hall pays homage to a wealth of musicians during its slate of concerts. Throughout the year, the USBC music venue welcomes gospel choirs and symphonies to its stage, as well as wind ensembles that double as the venue’s air conditioning system.