Black Squid Turns Two
A favorite among visitors and locals alike, Black Squid Beer House recently celebrated its’ second birthday.
To celebrate their birthday, the tap house hosted a big party in July, complete with live music, beer specials, and tap takeovers. Owners Sara and Andy Hill look back on two years of success running “The Squid.”
“One of the things that we learned is that the winters are not scary here,” says Andy Hill. “We’ve created an inviting atmosphere at the Squid. By listening to customer feedback and inviting them back, we’ve been able to survive the slow season.”
“Another thing we learned is to follow our passions,” says Sara Hill. “We were originally florists before opening Black Squid. While traveling for work, we would always stop at breweries and tap houses to try beer. That’s where we got the idea to open one of our own on the coast.”
The two-year-old bottle shop is located in the Nelscott district of Lincoln City and is dog-friendly with indoor and outdoor seating. Although Black Squid doesn’t serve food, the shop is a proud proponent of BYOF (Bring Your Own Food). Take out menus from local eateries are on-hand, many of which deliver to Black Squid for free. Snacks in the form of popcorn, chips, and chocolates are available for purchase as well.
“Black Squid Beer House is a taproom and bottle shop that focuses on a rotating beer selection- both on tap and in bottles and cans,” infers Sara. “Wine, cider, mead, and kombucha are also featured, with local options as well as specialty and imported.”
Hill says at any given time there are five styles of wine available by the glass, 12 beer and two cider taps on rotation. “For the beers, we typically have at least one light, two dark, two IPA, one sour, and then whatever other fun beers we find,” Hill infers. “To keep things fresh and new, we select different beers every week and bring in only one keg at a time. We're half bottle shop, which means we have something for everyone, with over 250 beers, 45 different ciders, over 80 wines, and 20 meads, in addition to whatever is on tap at the moment.”
Hill and her husband, Andy, said they have always wanted Black Squid to be the kind of place they themselves would hang out—casual, inviting, and eclectic with fair prices and a wide selection.
“Our personalities are pretty varied in themselves, so maybe that leads to attracting a variety of folks,” Hill emphasizes. “We’re both frustrated artists at heart, so it was fun to use the place as a big canvas for us both to create a fun design and atmosphere, using mostly stuff we already had laying around with a few new touches.”
The inside of Black Squid features two large sectional couches, tables, and chairs and the walls lined with beer and wine from Oregon and beyond. A weekly trivia contest is held Thursdays at 7 p.m. and local bands and artist receptions are a regular occurrence. Hill and her husband are always looking for fun ways to utilize their space with events. However, the main event is and will always be beer.
“Beer research and paying attention to fun new beer releases is the fun part for us and keeps things fresh for our day to day jobs as well,” says Hill. “Good beers are not hard to find in the Pacific Northwest, but we have to narrow down the selection- I guess what makes a good beer is knowing the brewery is solid, great ingredients, and freshness. Before we bring in a new beer, we read about it, look into the online feedback, and sometimes seek out the brewery for a sample.”
Hill says she wants customers to feel welcome when they are walking into Black Squid—like a friend stopping by. “We'd love them to leave having played some board games, met some new pals, and having tasted something they've never had before, and to take some fun new bottles and cans with them,” she said. This dedication to hospitality has been the not-so-secret recipe to Black Squid’s success. On any given night, you can see crowds of locals and visitors alike patronizing the bottle shop.
Asking Hill about future event plans for year three, she beams with excitement. “We plan to buy a projector so that we can screen free movies. It would be great to play old black-and-white films in the background. We also plan on doing more fundraisers. Since we opened, we’ve become engrained in the community. So, we want to give back by hosting more events for non-profits.”
Learn what all the fuss is about by visiting “The Squid” yourself. To learn more about them, visit BlackSquidBeerhouse.com or call 541-614-0733.