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Viewpoint Restaurant and Lounge opens a new beer garden

by: ESTACADA NEWS PHOTO: ISABEL GAUTSCHI - Viewpoint Restaurant and Lounge owners Lynne and John Barkle hold up the tap handles for the beers that will be offered in their new beer garden.Estacada certainly has a lot of options for how to celebrate July 4.

One of them is to experience the brand new beer garden at the Viewpoint Restaurant and Lounge.

Viewpoint will host a free barbecue with hamburgers, corn and beans from noon to 7 p.m. Thursday, July 4, in the new beer garden.

Viewpoint owner John Barkle said people will have a great view of the fireworks from the garden area as well. Even though it has been a long time since the restaurant was open on the Fourth of July, it has been a longstanding tradition for people to watch the fireworks show from the Viewpoint parking lot anyway.

Barkle said that the barbecue will be the “grand opening” of the beer garden.

His wife, Lynne, calls it his “baby.”

He got the idea for the beer garden one summer when it was “hotter than you know what.”

But the shaded, woodsy area a few steps from the restaurant was much cooler.

Once Clackamas County and the Oregon Liquor Control Commission approved the project, Barkle set to work turning the spot into a beer garden last June.

“Basically this was woods, and we cleaned it up,” he said. Although there are still many tall, lovely trees in the beer garden area.

“We want to keep it as natural as possible,” Barkle said.by: ESTACADA NEWS PHOTO: ISABEL GAUTSCHI - Don Olson and Kevin Harding make final arrangements in the beer gardens configuration before its opening June 22.

Gravel was added and a fountain was installed, as were horseshoe pits, and picnic tables were set up.

Barkle, along with his friend Don Olson and employee Kevin Harding, put the outdoor bar together.

Barkle plans to add more lighting and pave some of the grassy area near the beer garden for motorcycle parking.

The beer garden will hold up to 200 people.

“I expect to see a lot of motorcyclists, a lot of antique car clubs, a lot of people just taking a ride from Portland or Sandy or Gresham out for a Sunday drive and wanting to relax,” Barkle said of the garden.

Groups can rent the entire garden for a wedding, anniversary or other event during the week.

Barkle hopes to have weekend barbecues in the garden and to have musicians play by the fountain every now and then.

More lighting will be added, and the hours will be extended once the beer garden is “more widely known.”

Located near Milo McIver State Park on Springwater Road, Viewpoint is the only restaurant for several miles. The next closest restaurants are in downtown Estacada or Redland.

Nevertheless, Viewpoint has been in existence since the 1950s.

Barkle describes the restaurant’s early reputation as a rowdy joint with lots of dancing back “when drinking laws were looser.”

“Cowboys and loggers used to duke it out a lot,” Barkle said of the restaurant’s early history.

The original building was on the other side of what is now Springwater road. It had a stunning vantage point high above beautiful farmland and woods. No wonder they called it ‘Viewpoint.’

But the original building down in the 1980s. Legend has it that the water used to put out the fire caused the land to cave in, creating the steep 200-feet drop-off. Don’t worry, it’s fenced off.

Viewpoint was rebuilt, farther back.

Barkle bought the place for the fist time in 1993.

Barkle is a retired firefighter. He was once the fire department Operations Chief in Springfield, Oregon.

But he was no stranger to the restaurant business. In California, Barkle had owned a beer and burger bar with another firefighter.

He moved to Oregon to raise Christmas trees but had enjoyed the beer and burger bar so much, he decided to buy Viewpoint.

The Barkles owned and operated Viewpoint until 2003. They took it over again in 2012 and had some work to do restoring its image.

They totally remodeled the restaurant and painted it.

“We wanted to give a good impression when people drove by,” Barkle said.

by: ESTACADA NEWS PHOTO: ISABEL GAUTSCHI - The Barkles, standing by the fountain, hope musicians will play there from time to time and perhaps couples will get married there.Viewpoint is a popular destination. It has karaoke and dancing, free poker tournaments and a mean prime rib.

Barkle mentioned that the restaurant draws a much younger crowd since the Safari Club closed.

The Barkles are quick to point out that they “cater to a mature group of drinkers” — they’re interested in fun, not fights.

If you go

The Viewpoint Restaurant and Lounge will have a grand opening of its new beer garden from 11 a.m. to 8 p.m. Thursday, July 4.

There will be a free community barbecue from noon to 7 p.m.

The country western duo Cheap Whiskey will perform.

Members of the American Legion and Auxiliary Carl Douglas Post 74 will be there to celebrate service men and women. They will also accept donations.

Viewpoint Restaurant and Lounge is at 20189 S. Springwater Road, Estacada.

For more information, call the restaurant at 503-631-3400.



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