Above: Ryan Dewey behind the bar at his Cannon Beach Hardware and Public House. Below: Kim Logan pulls a pint.
// Photos by Alexandra Shyshkina
Here’s an improvement in home improvement. Say you need a washer for the faucet, some penny nails for the porch, or solid hinges so the backdoor swings open when you're welcoming friends and slams with gusto when you're not. You can pick up all that – and a beer – at the Cannon Beach Hardware and Public House.
"Years ago, my dad saw a hardware store and pub in Dingle, Ireland and kind of put the idea in his back pocket," says Ryan Dewey who opened the beach town establishment about 18 months ago. “We needed a hardware store. The town hadn’t had one in years.”
Now it's a destination shop for summer people making beach home repairs. And the perfect gathering spot for year-round locals during the gray days of winter. They share pints and sandwiches on casual tables set among the hammers and nails.
"We've got stories that would make your armpit hair curl," says regular Peter "The Professor" Lindsey. The retired high school and college English teacher earned his nickname after writing a folkloric history of the town called "Coming in Over the Rock,” and has been known to jot down notes in the hardware/pub.
"I occasionally have a barley pop," he says raising a beer.
In a tourist town where jobs and population ebb and flow with the seasons, many year-rounders hold multiple jobs just to make ends meet. Introductions come with slashes. Someone is a handyman/bartender, a stone mason/hardware clerk, or a painter/restaurant worker.
“Jack-of-all trades, master of none,” says Dewey in his business attire Screws & Brews T-shirt, then reconsiders. “Or, everyone is an expert on everything.”
Claire Mittelstet acknowledges the contradictory combination of her jobs -- yoga teacher/bartender -- with a shrug.
"Everything in moderation," she says.
"Or just everything," says Tracey Abel and they both crack up.
For guys like Kevin "Kevlar" Bell, Tommy Misner and David Kinhan, the Cannon Beach Hardware and Public House is a community kitchen where $10 still buys lunch and a beer. And rainy evenings are passed playing cribbage or a lively game of their own invention in which dull products get the W+K plus pints treatment.
Above: Kim Logan delivers lunch to Tracey Abel and Brian McEvoy sharing a table amid the hardware supplies. Below: The casual pub atmosphere feels comfortably familiar to regular Brian McEvoy who originally hails from South London.
“Somebody makes up a funny commercial and then someone else adds to it,” says Bell.
David Bonnett cooks up specials like pulled pork sandwiches or lasagna or bacon-wrapped sausages in a kitchen the professionally trained chef diplomatically refers to as "limited," while Dewey pulls pints, and stone mason/waiter/hardware clerk Kim Logan works his charm.
“Everyone has more fun when Kim is here," says Dewey. “I’m more of a grumpy old man.”
Not too grumpy to chase away the clientele, he notes, and gets a laugh from those lunching amid the nuts and bolts.
"You have to hunker down for the winter and hope the summer will get you through," says Abel who owns a wine bar and also does event planning for companies around the country. She moved to the beach town about six years ago and had to wait a while for the welcome mat, she says. “I was trying to get into Cannon Beach society.”
"It's not like we're Mean Girls," says Mittelstet. It's just that they've seen a lot of people move to Cannon Beach, and move out again, faster than you can say BFF so, "You don't invest."
But for those who make it through the dark and rainy winter, there's spring and the promise that Cannon Beach Hardware and Public House just landed its license to serve food outdoors.
"I come for the hardware," says Misner. "And if he doesn’t have what I want, I can have a beer."
Here's to stocking shelves.