Thursday, February 07, 2008

Dreams of Pier 11 - It Could Be So Grand

I've been thinking about the Pier 11 building ever since I posted about the ill-fated John Jacob Waterfront Grill in Astoria getting grilled.

I've spoken to many people around town, and there's one thing we've agreed on, even in currently contentious Astoria ... that one piece of real estate probably has the most potential in town to be a really great gathering place for locals to enjoy good food and drinks and a fabulous view. IF the food and drinks were reasonably priced (i.e. not the cost of a car down payment), and IF the atmosphere was comfortable and welcoming.

In the process, we had lots of fun brainstorming about what the place COULD be like ...

First of all, and this may sound a bit radical, we would have the bar run across the whole back wall so the customers are facing the river. As I recall, there's already a step down to that section of the building.

We'd remove that wall that separates that section (if it's possible structurally) and just leave whatever posts are structurally necessary. That way the area would be open to the rest of the building. And all the booze would be below eye-level on shelves, but lit and visible. And, please God, LOTS of beer taps.

It goes without saying that there must, must, must be comfortable swiveling bar stools, with padding, almost shoulder-high backrests, armrests and footrests! Lord have mercy, that alone would be a revelation in this town of butt-busting bar stools.

We all thought it would be great to have regular restaurant tables and chairs along the east and west sides, next to the windows. And more tables in the middle of the place ... the high ones, with those same lovely comfy bar stools, for diners who don't want to sit at the bar but still want to see the view.

Where the old bar is would make a good spot for the gamblers amongst us. Lord knows, their vices have kept many a bar afloat, and hey, they're going to do it anyway.

One of the problems with the place is that it's too damn big. How about, on the west side, making a dancing area with room for a band?

Of course, the main thing that would make any venture on Pier 11 successful is to have the booze and food prices local-friendly and reasonable. Lots of sandwiches, burgers, reasonable steaks, and of course, fresh seafood. I know I'm gilding the lily here, but I personally would almost kill for a decent salad bar.

Anyone else out there have any thoughts on our "vision" of Pier 11?

So many restaurants around here are victims of backward-thinking, i.e. let's price this shit so high only tourists can afford to come here. It's the locals who are the life blood and who keep establishments going in a seasonal town like this one. Capture the hearts of the locals, the tourists will follow.

Click here to see Elleda's photography at the Astoria Photografpix web site

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