In ancient Greek mythology, the Sirens were the nemeses of the Argonauts, Odysseus and many a brave adventurer — their songs so beautiful and entrancing they could entice sailors near enough to shipwreck on the treacherous shore of the island where they lived.
Matt Morrissey and Wayward Sandwiches executive chef Justin Rouse are hoping their latest venture in downtown Canby, a high-concept whiskey and cocktail bar dubbed Siren Song, will hold similar allure — albeit with a happier ending.
“I’ve always been drawn to water — the sea and the freedom of it,” says Morrissey, whose other restaurant, Wayward, boasts a similarly adventurous brand identity along with a prominent reproduction of The Great Wave off Kanagawa — one of the world’s most recognizable ocean-themed artworks — on one wall.
Siren Song is currently taking shape at 136 North Grant Street — formerly the home of the Balance & Harmony yoga studio — whose owners recently moved to the East Coast.
“We’re running out of kitchen space very quickly at Wayward,” Morrissey said with a laugh. “So, we’ve been brainstorming creative ways to address that and expand our footprint a little bit.”
The whiskey and cocktail bar will feature Wayward’s menu offerings along with lighter fare crafted by Rouse and his team — including oysters, pâté, tureens, wings and from-scratch jalapeño poppers.
“We’re going to focus on making really good, classic cocktails,” Morrissey said. “We’re not looking to do anything super weird; we’re just trying to make really good drinks.”
Wayward is known for making virtually everything they serve — including condiments and pickles (a recipe passed down by Rouse’s grandmother) — from scratch, and Siren Song will be no different.
“We’re going to make our own bitters,” Morrissey explained. “We’ll squeeze fresh juice every day, you know, little touches like that. There are several wonderful bars in town, and we’re not looking to compete. We want to offer something different, something that’s not necessarily being done in the area.”
The space will boast seating for about 50 guests, including the bar and a mix of custom booths, as well as video Lottery machines. Guests must be 21 and older to enter.
Its centerpiece will be an 8-by-37-foot mural by a Bend artist, depicting the bar’s mythological namesakes. Morrissey is also looking to source antique accouterments that will fit the theme and local wood for the bartop.
“We’re thinking we might do oak,” he said. “There seems to be an awful lot of oak around, thanks to the old ice storm [in February].”
The new bar is currently under construction, and Morrissey hopes to be open as soon as August. He said he’s grateful for the opportunity to bring a second hospitality concept to downtown Canby.
“We’re just still so bullish on downtown Canby,” Morrissey said. “With the Beer Library and some of the other things that are coming in, we really think this is going to be a destination area for folks.”
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