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The Evil Sister Saloon, Bend, Oregon. R.I.P.

I loved the Evil Sister Saloon in Bend, Oregon. I count that on my one-handed list of dear, favorite places.

I noticed the Evil Sister while in the car with my brother and cousin, on the Division Street bypass. They both lived in Bend, and had for a long time. I noticed the 'Sister as if it had been named "Steve come here." They must have expected I would.

(I was living in Central Oregon at that time, by default. 1994 I believe. I'd grown up there, and went to the area that year in a misguided hope that I could find some comfort of home.)

I saw an ad or heard something on the radio that MDC was going to play at the Saloon. I didn't make that show, and I must say I regret that. It caught my eye, though. I heard later that it was a great show.

I discovered the Evil Sister some time later. I passed for an afternoon pint. I got talking with Cerstin, an owner, and I think I pretty much figured out what kind of place was there.

The Evil Sister was nothing more than a bar, with a pool table and a bit of space for music. Also, good music on the box. Also, much more than that.

That's where it's hard to describe a favorite place. But the Evil Sister, that was a favorite place. It saved my life, inside of my mind, back there in Central Oregon. I loved it.

Thursday nights, one keg of Pabst Blue Ribbon went for fifty cents a glass. And the glasses were more like 20 ounces than they were like a pint. Somebody rang a bell on the wall when the keg was empty. Just really punk rock, that's all I'm saying. And this was in the mid-90's, long after punk rock had gone uncool in the cities, or any place that presumed itself a city. The Evil Sister was good like that, and I loved it.

Some nights I stayed there late, and went to sleep in the back of my car. I had a Mercury Zephyr station wagon, a small unit. But it was big enough, back seat down, to sleep in the back. I'd slept in the thing a couple of times in Seattle. A couple of periods.

And so there was no harm in it. I relaxed at the 'Sister, and enjoyed brilliant conversation. Just regular people, but more so, in a way. It was an oasis, a place of character in a cultural wasteland. It was comfortable.

R.I.P.

Evil Sister Saloon

2 NW Greenwood, Bend, Oregon.

1001 NW Division

Yes, two addresses.

Karen and Cersten Cheatham, proprietors.

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Yeah, there were punk shows there. I missed most of them, to be honest. And yes, there was some punk rock on the tape deck. My favorite at the time was the Minutemen, and the Evil Sister played Double Nickels on the Dime quite a lot. I was happy about that. But as one may imagine, the best of the times there were nothing other than good conversation, some beer, and cigarettes. Well, I mean, that's about it when you get honest about it. We listened to music, as I said.

Ah. I'm getting nostalgic. A punk rock venue that thrived long after punk had been thought dead, and now the Evil Sister too is gone. Ah. That is nostalgic.

That doesn't seem right somehow.

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