March — Inferno Lounge
“I’ve been with Clatsop Community Bank since I opened my business almost four years ago,” said Rich Ewing, owner of Inferno Lounge in Astoria’s Pier 11 building. “Steve Allen (who owns Pier 11) persuaded me to give Clatsop a try,” he added. “They’re personable, quick, and have done things to help me along the way, like printing checks when I ran out unexpectedly,” he said.
Rich started his career in the club industry when he was 18 years old, successfully promoting the Red Onion in San Diego before we was old enough to be a patron. After becoming a manager (and reaching legal age), “I shadowed every job in the club except the bartenders,” he said. “Bartending was something I really developed after landing in Astoria,” he explained.
Rich bartended at Baked Alaska, where many locals first remember meeting him. “I always tried to be very consistent with the drinks I made and the service I provided,” he said, “and offer a little entertainment—whether it was music or magic tricks.”
When he decided to launch Inferno, he sought ways to differentiate from the many bars in town. “We offer our full menu until closing, for example, because few other places do it,” he said. Inferno was recently voted “Best Bar” for the second time, and took third in the readers’ choice for “Best Pizza.” “It’s rooted in true New York street style and marked by fresh, uncomplicated ingredients,” he said.
“Astoria is a great community,” Rich added. “I’ve moved and come back more than once, and it’s the people and their support that keep me here.”