By: Alex Altman
EUGENE, Ore. – As you walk into the lively atmosphere of downtown Eugene, you may come across an establishment that gives off an inviting vibe. Oldies rock plays at a reasonable volume as the music floods into the sidewalk of Willamette Street.
“Hello, welcome to The Barn Light. What can I get for ya?” said Aubree Ridge, 26, who is dressed head to toe in jet-black clothing. Ridge is a Eugene native and works at The Barn Light as a bartender full-time. She greets every customer with a friendly ‘hello’ and works quickly and efficiently despite the fact that there are less than ten people in the rather large establishment. Ridge’s duties range from wiping of the pale green metal bar stools, to filling up Mason jars with robust mixed cocktails or coffee. She also cleans a variety of random objects that cover the walls such as antique plates and a taxidermy deer head. A foosball table is tucked away in the corner as a few elderly men seemed to be very involved with their match. Ridge approaches them to see if they need anything to make sure their Barn Light experience is as pleasurable as can be. The architecture is intricate as the left side of the bar is flooded with retro objects on a brick wall to give it an old school feel, while the right side of the shop is wooded and coated in USA paraphernalia and hunting accessories to give the feeling of a cabin in the deep south. These clashing cultures make the Barn Light unique in its own sense.
Ridge loves her job and everything about it, “I fell into this environment because of my coffee experience.” Ridge said. “My bar experience has come [since] I’ve been here, it’s all stuff that I’ve been learning now. It’s been really fun. I was pouring beers at my previous job and that was the only bartending experience that I had, but now we have a full bar.” When asked about her opinion on the recent changes to downtown Eugene and the upbringings of The Barn Light itself, Ridge said, “it’s a massive improvement in comparison to what it was looking like three, even like two years ago. So it was really interesting to see things develop.” Ridge said. “This [The Barn Light] was a shit-hole building for a very long time, it was really underdeveloped. It’s really nice to see this area come about and it’s been super awesome to be in a business that represents that.”
Aside from bartending, Ridge spends the majority of her time playing with her dog, listening to heavy metal and going on camping trips with friends. Ridge said, “It’s nice to just forget about the stressful things in life, and I use those three activities as an outlet and to have some ‘me time’.”
Ridge loves her job and the people she works with. Her co-worker, Grady Lambert, spoke very highly of her, “Working with her and witnessing the way she interacts with customers has allowed me to make more personalized interactions as far as strangers walking in off the street.” Lambert said. “She has a pretty natural gift for that.” Lambert described Ridge as “friendly, pretty accessible, [and] understanding.”
With the hipster and edgy aura surrounding the state of Oregon, these bar/coffee shop businesses are on the rise. The Barn Light is a new and up and coming business that has potential to continue to grow and gain reputation in the downtown Eugene community.
Click here for more information on The Barn Light.