Local point

Bighorn Bar & Grill owner Haley Stuart jokes with a customer while she makes a Moscow Mule.

Bighorn Bar & Grill owner Haley Stuart jokes with a customer while she makes a Moscow Mule.

Photo/Eric Marks

For more information, visit www.bighornbargrill.com.

Weekends are celebratory. Eat, drink, have a party, go to a party, catch a movie, go for a run. Hell, just do chores if scratching stuff off your “to do” list is what does it for you. Whatever your pleasure, those two precious days between stretches of work-week drudgery are a time to raise your arms and triumphantly pump your fist in liberation from the obligations of employment. Alas, there may be a time when you stayed up a little later than you should have, maybe had a few drinks, maybe lost an hour of sleep to Daylight Saving Time. Triumph turns to sloth, but you still have to eat, so maybe just dinner at the local can be our last celebratory act this weekend.

So it was for a family outing to our neighborhood Bighorn Bar & Grill. Unassuming in its mini strip mall setting, and previously a little rougher around the edges, a change of owners and major renovations in recent years have created an oasis in the old Northwest. It’s funny how the taboo of kids in a bar vanishes by the addition of “and grill” to the name, but that’s exactly the case here. While you are greeted by a smallish bar immediately upon entering, the room opens up to an expansive area of seating, shuffleboard, darts and a pool table. Slightly rustic, eclectic, Western decor, well lit from large windows and Edison bulbs, welcomes you to a wholesome place to enjoy beverages or a meal. A few muted TVs don’t overwhelm, and the background music allows for conversation with friends.

I’m impressed with Bighorn’s efforts to carry local beer—out of their 10 taps, local beer flows from six. A fairly standard assortment of domestic, import and craft bottles and cans are also available. And while I’m not especially a wine enthusiast, the drink menu lists a good variety by the glass or bottle. Probably the least robust selection is in the hard liquor, with no cocktails listed on the menu and what appeared to be an average roster of bottles available. Assuming they know their customers, beer and wine is what this semi-suburban crowd wants.

As bad as it sounds, I like being able to bring my kids to a bar. It’s civilized. They know I like to drink beer, and I think it normalizes an acceptable level of alcohol consumption and socializing. I’m not suggesting they hang out while Daddy gets hammered, but an evening with beers, dinner and games is a pretty good way to get in some family time. I don’t shoot nearly as much pool as I did in the past, but I sure enjoyed taking a few shots with my son and watching him play darts with his sister.

There are, of course, two sides to a story—another recent visit found the Bighorn unpleasantly busy with families letting their young ones run amok loudly around the games and other customers. And while I love my four-legged kids, the same night saw a few too many dogs sharing my space. You can’t always pick your neighbors, or who shows up at the neighborhood bar.

I’d be negligent if I didn’t briefly mention the Bighorn food menu—tasty, fairly priced, and a cut above standard pub fare would be a fair description. In both the food and drink menus, all ages in our family easily found something appealing and satisfying.

The Bighorn isn’t a place to get rowdy or see a band or drink cocktails with witty names—just a nice neighborhood bar and grill for low-key celebrating.