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(Photo by Eric Weakland)

The Hummingbird Saloon draws thirsty and hungry regulars to its Columbia City space

The Hummingbird Saloon has been in business for nearly eight years, becoming a staple for many folks in the Columbia City community. Throughout the pandemic, neighborhood spots like these have become even more precious to loyal regulars and newcomers, too.

Owner Eric Weakland describes the venue as "a popular local restaurant/bar with good food, craft cocktails and a cozy vibe." He says they're also getting better known for their weekly food offerings and seasonal cocktail specials. A few recent Yelp reviews lauded the saloon's service, the diversity of brews on tap and unexpected food finds like "the mac and cheese with the burnt ends of brisket" or the tuna Nicoise with wasabi mayo .

The venue was originally started by the owners of Full Tilt Ice Cream in Columbia City and another family. Weakland assumed ownership in August of 2019.

People often head to the restaurant-bar's social media outlets for timely updates. Recent Instagram posts, for example, have announced an "Unhappy Hour" that runs until 6, screenings of Sounders games, as well as new food-drink pairings. One alluring combo we spied? A sandwich featuring smoked Buffalo mozzarella on baguette with sweet smoked Roma tomatoes and basil pesto aioli, alongside the El Gusano Temprano, a cocktail showcasing Flor de Cana extra seco, Hue-Hue Coffee Rum and horchata ("shaken to foamy, sweet bliss").

When asked how the business has managed to navigate this past year, Weakland says, "We’ve been doing what we can to assist our industry brothers and sisters currently affected by the layoffs by offering a discount on food and drink every day, as well as a meal on select days. Past that, we were a part of the Flourish community church, and Flying Lion Brewing’s community reach-out."

"Columbia City has always been a wonderful, vibrant and inclusive community," he continues. "As a business owner, I intend to maintain the standards we already have in place."

Yet no one emerges from this past year unscathed.

"The pandemic has challenged every business, regardless of size," Weakland says. "I used the time the best I could; reimagining our food and drink menus to best fit the situation. I have been fortunate that my community is so close. The running joke is that all the businesses in our neighborhood are passing around the same $20. I thought it might be funny to sign one to see."

Weakland is grateful for loyal customers who have continued — and still continue — to show up. "The absolute best thing a consumer can do to support a business like mine?" he asks. "Come in! If you respect the staff, the rules we’ve established and the people around you, we will all thrive. Most businesses in the community will happily box your food to go, bring it to your car or make everything safe and comfortable for you."

And just like that, we're planning a near-future visit to The Hummingbird Saloon.