Restaurants by the Vibe: Nom Spots & their Feels

The most enjoyable places are built with character. 

Many of us crave to indulge more than just our appetites when searching for a bite. We want an experience that comes with a certain atmosphere. Which is why we’re dishing this list of digs with distinct vibes. You know, all the feels. Or whatever the kids are saying these days.

Midsummer Night Study
Imagine Coffee • $
5460 SW Philomath Blvd, Corvallis

Imagine Coffee brings a Midsummer Night feel with an air of focus, thanks to the pillowed, string lit arbors and a diverse array of cozy chairs and couches lining the tabled area, where patrons can read, write, or enjoy music and other events happening onstage. A big, open atmosphere, Imagine is a great place for a study date or brainstorm sesh. Grab a graciously priced bite, with bagels starting at $2.50, or get relaxed and caffeinated with their tea selection, coffee, lattes, and blended specialty drinks.

Greenhouse Garage
(South) Tried & True Coffee Company • $
120 SW Cummings Ave, Corvallis

The clean, uncluttered atmosphere—with dangling greenery lining the sleek wooden shelves and a whimsical mural—at the South Tried & True is one reason why the parking lot is always full and seats are sometimes hard to find. The shed-like building opens up in warm seasons to a sizeable patio complete with arch-able umbrellas. There’s always an indie or dreamy playlist on the docket, and a fresh feel to the air. More than coffee and tea, customers can choose from flavor-infused beverages; traditional donuts and tiny, decadent cupcakes; and best of all, beer.

Hole-in-the-Wall for Your Heart to Fill 

Tian Fu Noodle is definitely Corvallis’s number one hole-in-the-wall restaurant, offering authentic chinese fare. Their fixed menu is showcased on the wall, with pictures of each dish. All distinct and flavorful, you’ll find yourself coming back until you’ve conquered the entire menu. Located near campus, this is the perfect place for college students trying to find bang, and true quality, for their buck, with dishes averaging below $10.

Nutty
Squirrels Tavern • $
100 SW 2nd St, Corvallis

Look, a squirrel! That’s something you can say hundreds of times at Squirrels Tavern, where rodents, interesting art, and strange memorabilia line the shelves and walls. Be sure to bring cash for the bar, and definitely order a side of curly fries with Corvallis’ number one ($7) salmon burger. Squirrels regularly hosts live music from some of the best bands in the Valley, so check their event schedule. Or come on an off day and shoot pool or play foosball with locals in the upstairs loft.

Counterculture Eclectic
Interzone • $-$$
1563 NW Monroe Ave, Corvallis

Home to all eclectic vibes—with walls sporting an eternal turnover of local art, homemade zines and postcards, and out-of-the-box events like their regular Noise shows and poetry open mic nights—Interzone is a one-of-a-kind place that appeals to all our inner alternative childs. Their honey cardamom latte is simply unmatched by any other caffeinated beverage in Corvallis—especially with hemp milk! Word on the street is that their breakfast isn’t all too shabby either.

Fresh & Lively
The Corvallis Farmers’ Market • $-$$$
1st St & Jackson Ave, Corvallis

There’s truly nothing like the Corvallis Farmers’ Market. Twice a week, the downtown streets come alive—with all types pf Pacific Northwest folk, transplants, and Oregon state University students—to create a happy buzz of musicians, dancers, taste testers, vendors, yogis, flow artists, and most importantly: an all-star cast of local farmers selling their hard work in form of fresh produce, alive in color. Fruit, veggies, bread, salsas, jams, and baked goods galore—it’s all good here, at the heart of the Corvallis community. 

Sleek & Dreamy
Magenta Restaurant & SNUGbar • $$
137 SW 2nd St, Corvallis

Stepping inside Magenta is magic—like stepping inside a genie’s dream or something. The soft, pink lighting and rich drapery set a decadent atmosphere at this Asian-fusion restaurant, with arguably the best small plate deals in Corvallis. Ranging from $4-$15, they include classic options like Asian Hot Wings or Shrimp Salad Rolls for just $5. Other eye-fetching entrees and concoctions include the Spicy Lemongrass & Kafir Lime Frog Legs for $7 or Garlicky Escargot Grilled Baguette for $4. The bar service is something to talk about too, with fresh-made cocktails for the choosing. Sneak downstairs for a peak at the speakeasy, SNUGbar, open after 6 p.m., Wednesdays through Saturdays.

Lumberjack with a Thai Twist
Woodsman Dining • $$
529 Main St, Philomath

There’s really no place like the Woodsman, a former lumberjack haunt with American fare and an added Thai menu, bursting at the seams. Where else can you get a burger and fries with your wontons and potstickers? The ambiance caters to this odd, yet charming combination, sparking mixed feelings of nostalgia through their decor: a large hanging chainsaw, old pictures of Oregon loggers, and a boombox that plays throwbacks you can sing along to whilst nose-diving in your tabletop thai basil and salivating over a homey aroma of herbs and spices.

Dim-Lit Omens
Crowbar, at Downtown American Dream • $$
214 SW 2nd St, Corvallis

A-hole-in-wall with arguably some of Corvallis’ best cocktails and bar service, Crowbar offers a dim-lit oasis to birdlovers wanting to grab a pint and slice. The crow-themed walls give the place an unforgettable quirk unique to Corvallis, and the prices are nothing to complain about. Slices start at $2.50 + toppings, while pints range from $3.25 to $5.50. A part of American Dream, Crowbar is known to have great daily specials, which you can read about on their website.

Gears & Plates
Handlebar at American Dream Monroe • $$
2525 NW Monroe Ave, Corvallis

A campus favorite and another American Dream locale, Handlebar offers bicycle decor, displayed alongside customer-made paper plate art that you’ll never tire of. Same as Crowbar, Handlebar offers unmatched daily specials on pizza, pints, and cocktails with house-infused concoctions. Regulars enjoy sitting at the bar before and after a Beavs game, or outside under the space heaters or in the sunshine on a nice day.

Sunset Cityscape
Sky High • $$
160 NW Jackson Ave, Corvallis

This industrial-looking brewery takes you straight to the sky, with a rooftop dining area, featuring corn hole, space heaters for cold nights, and views you can’t find anywhere else in Corvallis, stretching to the mountainous outer edge that lines the valley, meaning beautiful sunset views. Expect a good mix of beer brewed on-site, and choose from a delicious menu of burgers and other food items.

Nautically Polished
Kingfish Lounge • $$
151 NW Monroe Ave, Corvallis

Ahh, a writer’s paradise. If Hemingway suddenly rose from the dead and decided to take a trip to Corvallis, there’s no doubt he’d feel at home in the swanky, dim-lit Kingfish Lounge, with its hanging skeletal boat above bar, and hardy cocktail list for the scouring. The perfect place for pre or post dinner drinks and relaxed conversation.

Barrels & Brilliancy
Castor • $$
458 Madison Ave, Corvallis

Fun fact: the word castor is defined as the reddish-brown oily substance secreted by beavers, used in medicines and perfumes. Oddly intriguing, right? Patrons of this relatively new Corvallis bar have been equally intrigued by what’s inside: a classy ambiance with wine barrels and twinkling lights. Most fetching, however, are the food and booze selections, with a fine list of reds and whites, $7- $13 by the glass; cocktails with unique flavors such as black walnut, bergamot honey, and sugar spiced brown butter; and snacks, small plates, and entrees, featuring fresh sea fare, seasoned veggies, and quality meats between $5 and $30.

Garden Oasis
Gathering Together Farms • $$-$$$
25159 Grange Hall Rd, Philomath 

Plants aplenty, rustic charm, gnarled wood decor: Gathering Together Farms is the perfect place for a fresh plate on the outskirts of town. Nestled along Mary’s River beside some 50 acres of farmland, the eatery offers a rotating menu of Italian-influenced farm-to-table, organic cuisine, with starters as low as $4 and personal artisan pizzas in the $10 range.  

See something we missed? Let us know for next time at editor@corvallisadvocate.com.

By Stevie Beisswanger
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