1. Cowfish 62 W. Broadway, 541-683-6319. CowfishClub.com.
2. Old Nick’s Pub 211 Washington St., 541-844-1280. OldNicksPub.com.
3. Sam Bond’s Garage 407 Blair Blvd., 541-431-6603. SamBonds.com.
Eugene’s best bar, Cowfish, has maintained a consistent schedule: dance parties seven nights a week for the last 11 years on West Broadway. On their way to the dance floor, clubbers walk past a painted teal entrance and a small patio. Then, they have a chance to see actual cowfish — small, boxy, flat-bellied yellow fish with two horns extending above its eyes — swimming in an aquarium behind the bar. An array of red and blue lights illuminate the underside of the bar and shine through wisps of fog, creating the classic dance club feel.
The bar provides a friendly and welcoming atmosphere that’s sometimes lost in the dance club scene. Owner Shawn DiFiore views his club as an outlet for people who haven’t taken comfort in mainstream institutions. “Dance clubs are like schools; they’re a place where different types of people can come and learn about each other,” Cowfish owner DiFiore says.
DiFiore hosts DJs and electronic musicians almost every night, and he keeps the talent local, something he’s proud of. He even DJs himself once a week. Of course, the club’s sound system keeps bodies moving every night. — Clayton Franke