From Bluegrass to Bingo, Sam Bond’s Garage Has It All


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On Monday nights, when most other bars are sound asleep, Sam Bond’s Garage can hardly contain its patrons. The large, wooden room reverberates with animated chatter as people grab drinks and, if they’re lucky, a place to sit. Although the main event doesn’t start until 9 p.m., seasoned attendees know to grab a table at least an hour in advance. They’re not here to watch a band, nor to partake in happy hour specials – surprisingly enough, this twentysomething crowd (and the occasional aging hipster) is here to play bingo.

At Sam Bond’s, however, bingo is not just bingo. Hosts Tom Heinl and Scott Kirkpatrick lead the crowd through rounds such as Cursing Bingo, in which players are encouraged to scream obscenities if they don’t have the number called (“you have small mammory glands!” was shouted last night), as well as the final Blackout round, when the lights dim and the disco ball in the center of the ceiling switches on. They also dole out eccentric prizes: a child-size Smurfette costume, a Suzanne Summers thighmaster and flats of organic fruit have all been given away in recent weeks. This, along with Sam Bond’s array of local beers and modestly-priced munchies, is what keeps the bar full on an otherwise-uneventful Monday night.

Every night of the week holds something special for Sam Bond’s. Tuesdays are bluegrass jams, regularly hosted by Sean Shanahan as well as Chuck Holloway of the Green Mountain Bluegrass Band. The rest of the week is less predictable: this month alone, the venue hosted reggae, rock, americana and even “experimental country” acts. With such a full, unpredictable lineup, it’s no wonder Sam Bond’s landed on Esquire’s Best Bars in America list in 2007.

But there’s something else that makes Sam Bond’s so special. Is it the bar’s location in Eugene’s up-and-coming, yet slightly shady Whiteaker neighborhood? The wooden benches and mason jars? The vegan pizza and organic, hand-squeezed fruit juices?

Yes. To all of the above.

These little quirks – unconventional night entertainment, Ninkasi IPAs from the brewery down the street, and the strangest rounds of bingo one could ever hope to play – are what make this bar such a great fit for Eugene’s alternative, hippie/anarchist crowd. Those looking for a sanctuary from Nike-sponsored developments on the University side of town will find it here. So the next time you’re looking for live music with an unconventional community atmosphere, come to Sam Bond’s Garage, order a pint of your favorite local ale and drink in the best of what Eugene has to offer.