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Bringing a new atmosphere to an old tavern

Dale Lowcock and Dani Kitchel have been busy breathing new life into a nearly 100-year-old tavern in downtown Brookings. The Pilot/Arwyn Rice
Dani Kitchel and Dale Lowcock met as single RVers and spent 12 years on the road together, totally committed to the roaming life, until Kitchel’s son, Adam Bryan, suggested they reopen the Pine Cone Tavern.

Bryan, a consultant who travels the U.S. advising new bar owners, turned them on to the Pine Cone Tavern.

“It’s a wonderful little bar and has great atmosphere,” he told them.

Grandsons Sasha and Trinity, who are in Brookings, were also a major factor in their decision to give up the traveling life to keep the old tavern open seven days a week from 11 a.m. to 2 a.m. As of Nov. 1, the tavern will be open from 11 a.m. to 2:30 a.m. on weekends and from 5 p.m. to 2:30 a.m. on weekdays.

With help from Bryan and daughter, Kesi More, Kitchel and Lowcock have managed to turn the historic tavern that has been a Brookings landmark for almost 100 years, into a meeting place that offers more than the ordinary list of spirits. Its unusual menu includes vegetarian recipes and special plates for vegans.

“We opened in early July,” Kitchel said. “And although we’re still evolving, our goal is to highlight the dark warm woodwork in the tavern and develop an intimate, inviting space featuring conversation areas where guests can gather for board games or log onto the web with wireless Internet access.”

Interest in the origin of the tavern has caused Kitchel to reminisce about the history of Brookings.

“In the new Pine Cone, you can imagine that on any given evening Bogart, Bacall, or Hemingway could be sipping a whisky ginger in the back corner swapping fish tales and playing a game of free pool,” she said.

Kitchel noted that the drink menu at the Pine Cone includes a selection of microbrews on tap and by the bottle, Oregon Eola Hills wines, and a full bar with most of the common spirits.

“But, we also have ordered some specials, including St. Germain and Fernet Blanca,” she said.

She made it clear that customers will not find hamburgers and fries at the tavern. She explained that the kitchen is small and they did not want the place to smell like cooking grease.

“We decided on a no-fried, delicious menu,” she said. “We make a red curry that is amazing, plus meatballs and sauerkraut, artisan cheeses and meat plate, a Mediterranean hummus plate and have recently added a pizza and I make with my own corn meal crust recipe.”

Kitchel said she and Lowcock have joined with Wild Rivers Motor Lodge to bring musical talent to the tavern.

“You can view Pine Cone Tavern and Lounge events on our website, www. pineconetavern.com, and be sure to become a fan of ‘The Pine Cone Tavern’ on Facebook to stay updated on the most current happenings,” Kitchel said.

Pine Cone Tavern is at 629 Chetco Ave. The telephone number is 541-813-1551.

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