Sidelines was the first bar I visited in Bend. This is weird because it’s a sports bar. The only thing I know about spectator sports is that I’m required to root for the Ducks. So when I find myself accidentally at Sidelines in Bend during a Duck game, I cheer when everyone else does and then go back to smack talking and devouring my tacos and tequila. (Tip: Try the blackened fish tacos. Surprisingly awesome.)
I end up at Sidelines occasionally because it’s where brother hangs out. Sidelines is his Cheers. True to form, everyone knows his name (which is Lael, by the way). And because I’m related, many of them know my name too. It’s an extended family of sorts… all the regulars look out for each other. They have each other’s backs, and can’t stop giving each other sh*t.
King of ribbing might just be daytime bartender, Eric. Eric is one of my faves in town. Whenever I stroll into the bar — after I recover from the assault of 72 TV screens displaying every sport under the sun — I always get a big genuine smile from Eric or sometimes, if it’s not crazy busy, a bear hug. And then the smack talk starts. The jesting is never mean spirited, but Sidelines in Bend is not for the thin skinned or the meek. You have to give as good as you get.
|Eric Wellman (and “Frank”), bartender
at Sidelines, in Bend, Oregon
In early November, Eric started sporting a mustache so formidable it had it’s own name: Hank. He claimed it was for Movember, but we all got a little attached to Hank, and Eric didn’t shave it, er, him, until the new year. He’s now sporting a more subdued goatee which has been dubbed Frank. But Frank is no Hank.
Eric grew up in Southern California, has been in Bend for 17 years, and has been a daytime slinger of drinks and zingers at Sidelines for about three years. Before Sidelines in Bend, he tended bar at The D (Bendspeak for The D&D), and M & J. He played soccer in college, but says he’s too old for that now, so he golfs when he can (if we were at the bar, someone would make a Geritol/Viagra/Depends joke right about now).
Here are a few more things you should know about Eric…
Name: Eric Wellman
Bar: Sidelines — Downtown, 1020 NW Wall St.
Favorite thing about Bend? All the outdoor options.
Signature cocktail? The Wellman Bloody Mary (ask for his signature Bloody, otherwise you’ll get the standard).
Favorite drink? The Prineville (like the Madras only in reverse: vodka and cranberry with a splash of OJ).
If you carried a flask, what would be in it? Bushmills Irish Whiskey.
Favorite Meal in Bend? Enchiladas de Camarones (that’s shrimp enchiladas for you no habla folks) at El Rodeo.
Favorite hang when you’re off duty? Cascade West.
Favorite sport to play? Golf. (He’s been playing for 33 years, but claims he’s still bad at it.)
Tell me something about you that would surprise your customers: I have an undergrad degree in history from Gonzaga.
Personal Motto: “The best laid schemes of mice and men often go awry.”
So, when you’re in a day-drinking kind of mood, I highly recommend a stop at Sidelines for a Wellman Bloody, blackened fish tacos, and a visit with Eric (and his facial hair). Oh, and in case you need some ammo, feel free to mock him mercilessly about his deep love for ’80s rock.