Bend’s Local’s Night Brewpub Guide for Our Central Oregon Visitors

deschutes outside

One of the best ways to soak up a community is by getting to know the locals. One of the best ways to soak up Central Oregon’s amazing craft beer scene is knowing the best time for cheap beer and discounted food.

Our local newspaper recently printed some info on which breweries did what for locals. But they left out a couple of our favorite pubs and I figured most locals already know which nights are local’s night.

So here’s your visitors guide to the Local’s Nights at some of Central Oregon’s best breweries.

Monday

Deschutes Brewery, the place where the craft beer scene started in Central Oregon kicks off the week of local’s nights with a great deal on burgers and beers ($3.50 imperial pints (that’s 20 OUNCES!!!) And I’ll be honest, I was born and raised in Nebraska but haven’t had many burgers better than the beer-fed beef they serve at Deschutes.  (The cows that make the beef are fed with spent grain left over from Deschutes’ brewing process.)

Tuesday

For starters, don’t tell people you’re going to “The Bend Brewing Company.” Instead, let them know you’re heading to the “BBC” so you at least sound like a local. BBC is the place to go on Tuesdays for $2.75 pints and half price appetizers from 4-6 p.m. Another local tip: BBC has some of the best buffalo wings in all of Central Oregon.

Wednesday

Cascade Lakes Brewery, home to popular brews like Rooster Tail, is conveniently located on the road to Mt. Bachelor and near a mountain bike trailhead so it’s a popular apre-ski/ride stop for locals. Pints are just $3.25 on local’s night. Three Creeks Brewery in Sisters holds its local’s night on Wednesdays as well.

At Silver Moon, a pub burger and the beer of the night is $10.

And at Crux Fermentation Project, every night feels like Local’s Night with their Sundowner Hour. A half hour before and a half hour after sunset the pub offers beer and food specials. You can find the exact time of sunset each night on their website. (There’s more on fun Happy Hour specials in Bend’s Old Mill here in this video.)

Sunriver Brewing’s Galveston Pub in Bend offers $1 off all beer and wine plus there’s a different creative food special each Wednesday.

Wild Ride Brew Co. in Redmond offers “Wild Card Wednesday” where a different beer each week is discounted all day long.

If you’re a frequent Central Oregon visitor, several of the pubs have mug clubs as well, so be sure to ask about them.

Want more insider information on brewery specials? Check out this handy “Hop-py Hour” guide from beermebend.com

courtesy Mackenzie Wilson
courtesy Mackenzie Wilson

Sammies and Sandos: Central Oregon’s Best Sandwiches

Sometimes after a day full of adventure, all that you crave is a simple, yet delicious, stick-to-your-ribs sandwich. (And a beer, obviously.)

Whether you call it a “sammie,” “sando,” or “sammich,” there’s an amazing sandwich waiting for you at the end of the trail in Central Oregon. Heck, even if you’re one of those weirdos who consider a hot dog a sandwich, we have you covered. For the purposes of this story, we’re not including burgers in the “sandwich” category, but rest assured there are TONS of great burgers here. (Don’t see your favorite listed? Tell us where to find the best sandwich in Central Oregon in the comments!)

In the iconic downtown Bend breezeway, the Beach Hut Deli offers a great selection of hot and cold sandwiches in a “chill” setting perfect for catching a game on TV or just people watching on Mirror Pond Plaza. Try the Surfin’ Bird with turkey, avocado, bacon, cream cheese, mayo, mustard, pickles, tomato, red onions, lettuce, Greek peppers and cheese.

In beautiful Sunriver, Sunriver Brewing‘s menu is filled with post-adventure favorites, but one of my staples is the Turkey Dip with smoked turkey breast, pepper bacon, tomato, Tillamook white cheddar on a french roll with a side of natural turkey jus. Pair it with a Fuzztail Hefe and your afternoon is golden. (You can get the same sandwich at Sunriver Brewing’s Galveston Pub in Bend too.)

Sunriver Brewing Co. Galveston Pub

Three Creeks Brewing in Sisters is a perfect rest stop after hiking up Black Butte, fishing at Camp Sherman or mountain biking the Peterson Ridge trails. And for me, there’s not a better sandwich in all of Central Oregon (or anywhere for that matter) than the legendary Chicken Bacon Tater. NBD, just your basic sandwich with grilled chicken breast, thick sliced hickory smoked bacon, fries & chipotle ranch all rolled together in a toasted pita, “Taco Style.” Yes, that’s right: THERE’S FRENCH FRIES IN THE SANDWICH! Pairs nicely with a Knotty Blonde.

The Row at Bend’s Tetherow Resort has a great pub-style menu that includes all your favorites like burgers and wings and a rotating beer menu featuring several local breweries. And while it sounds simple: sourdough bread, smoked ham, and Tillamook cheddar cheese served with daily soup – the grilled cheese is top notch (especially served with the tomato soup that’s usually available.)

Crux Fermentation Project

Crux Fermentation Project is easily one of Bend’s favorite brewpubs. The pub features three hugely popular food carts outside on the lawn. And while the pub itself has a limited menu, the Banh Mi sandwich has long been a standout dish. It’s porter-hoisin roasted pork belly, cubed ham, fresh cucumber, cilantro, do Chua, and sweet chili aioli. My colleague Kristine implores you to get EXTRA CILANTRO!

Exterior view of people on the patio at 10 Barrel on Bend, Oregon's westside
The patio at 10 Barrel Brewing’s West Side Pub.

You can find a great steak sandwich on just about every menu here these days (most here are made with locally grown beef,) but you probably won’t find a better one than the one at 10 Barrel Brewing‘s West Side pub. Know how I know? Because my wife says so and, well, she’s kind of a steak sandwich expert (or so I’ve been told.)

For an out of this world dining experience, Worthy Brewing is your place thanks to the world’s first “Hopservatory.” Founder Roger Worthington will tell you the Salmon Sando is the best in the universe: grilled Atlantic salmon, Tillamook pepper jack cheese, fresh guacamole, lettuce, tomato, pickled onion, chipotle aioli on ciabatta. (Pro tip from my colleague Kristi: Get it as a lettuce wrap.)

And finally, Brother Jons has two locations in Bend and both have great menus. You can’t go wrong though with the Cuban: Pulled pork, ham, melted swiss, sautéed onions, dill pickles & spicy brown mustard on a grilled hoagie roll. (While you’re waiting, the habanero cheese dip is worth noshing on – it’s a white wine & garlic habanero cheese sauce with house-fried yellow and blue corn tortilla chips.)

Start the Day Off Right: Central Oregon’s Best Breakfast Spots

There might be some debatable data out there about breakfast being the most important meal of the day. But I think we can all get behind the idea that it’s the most delicious meal of the day. (Because, bacon.)

Central Oregon has tons of great spots for your morning meal – whether you prefer the stick-to-you-gut favorites like pancakes, waffles, bacon & eggs, or lighter fare like muffins, croissants, quiches and more.

Rockin’ Dave’s Bistro, McKay Cottage, and Cafe Sintra are three of our favorite spots because of their diverse menus, fun atmosphere and, of course, delicious food. (All three also serve lunch.)

Rockin’ Daves serves up a variety of bagel sandwiches and full breakfasts like the House Hash, which includes your choice of pastrami, corned beef, pulled pork or pork belly. Looking for the perfect on-the-go breakfast to take along on your hike? You can build your own massive breakfast burritos to stuff into your backpack.

McKay Cottage, located across the street from the Deschutes River in the heart of Bend, has been one of the region’s top breakfast spots for years. In fact, readers of our local alternative weekly have named it “Bend’s Best Breakfast” every year since 2010. The cozy cottage is always filled with hungry patrons while the spacious front yard serves as an outdoor dining room when weather permits.

The cozy cottage is always filled with hungry patrons while the spacious front yard serves as an outdoor dining room when weather permits. Enjoy dishes like stuffed French toast, lemon ricotta pancakes, biscuits and gravy and several variations of eggs benedict. McKay Cottage also offers award-winning scones, muffins and more.

In Sunriver, Cafe Sintra has become the go-to spot for breakfast with a unique menu featuring eight different omelets, five delicious eggs benedict options, spinach & egg crepes and much more (including pancakes.)

Eat Like a Local: Our Favorite Spots to Dine in Central Oregon

When you roll into a new place for vacation, one of the first things you want to do is find a great, local place to grab a bite to eat. You didn’t drive up from the Bay Area to pop into an Applebees, right? Central Oregon is chock full of amazing local restaurants sure to fit into every culinary category.

Here are some of our favorite spots – we’d say “secret spots” but they’re pretty popular places and, well, nothing in Central Oregon is a secret anymore.

PizzaPizza Mondo in downtown Bend is hands-down the locals’ favorite place to get a slice or whole pie. In fact, the tiny little pizza joint has been named Bend’s Favorite Pizza by readers of the local Source Weekly newspaper every year since it opened in 1996. I mean, c’mon. A lot of pizza shops have come and gone since then – yet “Mondo” remains at the top. And for good reason. Local tip: There’s a basket of brownies at the counter where you pay. Buy one.

 

SeafoodThe Pine Tavern has been a staple of downtown Bend since 1936 for one simple reason: It’s just a great place to get classic American comfort food. And for many locals it’s the go-to spot for some delectable seafood entrees, including baked salmon stuffed with Dungeness crab, bay shrimp, brie and cream cheese. Local’s tip: Don’t fill up on the sourdough scones that come before dinner. Save them and take them home for a perfect late night snack.

Burgers – Nearly all of Central Oregon’s brewpubs have amazing burgers on the menu, but if you really want to dine like a local, go a little under the radar and check out Hardy’s Hot Wings, Hamburgers and Ice Cream. No frills or bells or whistles, just a wide variety of tasty hamburgers and the most Buffalo-esque wings in town. (Ask about the hot-wing challenge.)

Dessert900 Wall in downtown Bend is known for great food and an amazing Happy Hour, but it’s most popular dishes might just be found on the dessert menu. My wife and I sometimes will plan a date night just for the powdered sugar beignets. They come with a bittersweet chocolate sauce, raspberry sauce, and vanilla mouse for dipping.

Italian – Bend’s had its fair share of Italian restaurants open and close over the years, but one has stood the test of time: Marcello’s Cucina Italiana in Sunriver. A staple of classic Italian fare with a PNW twist, Marcello’s has been filling bellies since 1980. You’ll find all the classics like lasagna, chicken parm and spaghetti, but also a few surprises like salmon-n-chips, pork osso bucco, penne arrabiata. Local tip: Stop in on a Wednesday for $10 all you can eat spaghetti – including a side salad or cup of soup & homemade bread.

Brewpub – Now this one gets a bit tricky. Ask five locals their favorite brewpub and you’re more than likely going to get five different answers. Some love Crux Fermentation Project and their huge, grassy yard that feels more like a neighborhood party than a restaurant. Some are old school Deschutes Brewery fans who’ll tell you about the good ole days when the joint was way smaller (but the beer was just as good.) Bend Brewing Co. has staked its claim as being the locals favorite for years while newcomers Sunriver Brewing Co. now boasts popular hangouts in both Sunriver and Bend. My favorite? I’m always partial to Deschutes Brewery where I can belly up to the bar for a burger and a pint of the pub-only Bachelor Bitter. It doesn’t get any more local than that.

Sparrow Bakery’s famous “Ocean Roll.”

Breakfast – Everyone knows the best breakfasts come from the smallest, most quaint spots in town. That’s true to form in Central Oregon where Sparrow Bakery stands out. The original Scott Street location is a tiny little brick building in the Old Iron Works Art District while the newer Northwest Crossing spot is a bit larger, more modern pastry oasis. Ask anyone in town and they’ll say Sparrow’s “Ocean Roll” is among the best pastries anywhere. If you’re looking for something a little more “stick to your ribs,” check out McKay Cottage in Bend. The breakfast landmark has amazing pancakes, eggs benedict and much more in a quaint riverside location.

Bend’s 7 Best (and maybe not-so-well-known) Family-Friendly Dining Options

Back in the day, finding a “family-friendly” restaurant meant looking for something involving animatronic characters or a dollar menu where “happiness” came in a box.

But in Bend and Central Oregon, you’ll find a huge selection of true family-friendly restaurants that are as appealing to mom and dad as they are to the kids. In fact, just about every spot welcomes your little ones and has a kids’ menu with food you won’t feel bad for feeding your children. And as the dad to a teenager and two kids under 4, it’s nice to walk into a restaurant without getting the stink eye from the host or other patrons.

Here are a few of my family’s favorite spots to eat.

Crux Fermentation Project in Bend, Oregon
Crux Fermentation Project

Crux Fermentation Project

Grab a beer from the patio bar, find a spot in the grass and let the kids run free. With its gigantic green space, lawn games and diverse selection of local food carts, Crux is arguably the best family-friendly dining option in the region. The brewpub is home to some of Central Oregon’s most popular beers and is known for its amazing Sundowner Hour (food/drink specials a half hour before and after the sun sets.) Added bonus: There’s often live music outside as well, giving the kids something to really wiggle to.

Paddle board group on Deschutes River in Bend, Oregon
Can’t beat the views from Red Robin in Bend.

Red Robin

Located along the Deschutes River in Bend’s Old Mill District, Red Robin is kind of the go-to spot for families looking for good food, a fun environment and a great view. Sure, it’s a chain but even on vacation, it’s sometimes nice to eat somewhere familiar. Bonus points for unlimited broccoli. Heck, tell them it’s someone’s birthday and you’ll get a free cupcake out of the deal.

La Rosa

One of our favorite Mexican restaurants, La Rosa’s Northwest Crossing location has a kids menu that features all the traditional favorites like tacos, enchiladas, etc. along with some “American” standards like chicken nuggets. And the refried beans that come with the complimentary chips and salsa is always a big hit for parents of wee babies. The location is also just a short walk down the street from Compass Park. The park features a playground, pavilion with picnic tables and green space that each summer hosts outdoor movies.

Sunriver Brewing Co. – Sunriver Pub

Sunriver Brewing Co. Sunriver Pub

Great food, great beer and A CHILDRENS’ PLAY AREA. That’s right. Just inside the door, there’s a small kids’ play area stocked with toys, books and a giant chalkboard. For parents on vacation, Sunriver Brewing Co. might just be the new Happiest Place on Earth. There’s also a nice, big patio for dining outside in the sun – perfect for people watching during the busy summer season in the Village at Sunriver.

Pizza Mondo in Bend
Pizza Mondo in Bend

Pizza Mondo

When my middle daughter was just starting to eat real food, Pizza Mondo was of the first places I took her when mom left us alone for the day. (Dad of the year, right?) It’s a tiny little pizza joint in Downtown Bend that also happens to make the city’s best pie. That’s according to the locals who have voted it “Bend’s Best Pizza” every year since it opened in 1996. Pro tip: There’s a basket of brownies next to the cash register. Don’t even think about leaving without one.

Deschutes Brewery

This one might be surprising to some, but Deschutes Brewery’s Public House in Downtown Bend is actually one of the most family-friendly spots in the area. The kids’ menu features some super tasty options beyond the traditional hamburger or chicken strips. For mom and dad, the dining here straddles the line between pub food and fine dining. And the beer, of course, is legendary at Bend’s first brewpub. The pub’s expansion a few years ago really opened up the restaurant and now there’s tons of seating so a table with a couple of high chairs won’t cramp the style of the tables next to you.

goody's chocolates, bend oregon
Goddy’s Chocolates & Ice Cream

Goody’s 

Ok, so it’s not a “restaurant” in any way, shape or form. Nope, Goody’s is just home to Central Oregon’s best chocolates, candies and ice cream and it’s a must-visit for anyone vacationing here. Check out the original shop in Sunriver, the Downtown Bend location or take a tour of an actual chocolate factory. Your sweet tooth – and your kids – will thank you.