Blaylock’s Whiskey Bar
433 13th Street
Michael Angiletta & Seth Howard, Owners
Where are you from? What is your background?
Michael: I’m a serial entrepreneur who has a love for manifesting new businesses and our town of Astoria. This project is the culmination of both of these passions for me. I’m active in the community and serve on the ADHDA Small Business Committee, the Liberty Theater Board, and I am founder of Project Storefront.
Seth: I have been retail management for the past 25 years and a professional entertainer for the past 20 years. I have lived in Oregon for the last 20 years, spending the last five on the North Coast.
How did your business begin? Why Astoria?
Michael: Seth had a dream to start a whiskey bar. Combining his dream, and my start up know-how, we set out to do something DIFFERENT, not just another bar, Astoria doesn’t need that. Rather, an offering that offers unique product (whiskey and charcuterie boards), a wonderfully cozy and romantic atmosphere, and an incredibly friendly and knowledgeable team. All the while, celebrating the unique cultural DNA of what put this town on the map - the logging and maritime industries.
Seth: I had a dream of creating a whiskey bar that was different from anything else on the coast. Visions of a nice place to sip whiskey on a chilly, drizzly winter evening. I love whiskey and wanted to share that passion with others.
I love Astoria. Originally I’m from Kansas and this town reminds me of any small town you would find in Kansas. People are friendly, laid back and the architecture. Of course, we have a beautiful river and trees. Astoria is the first place in Oregon that I feel like I’m truly at home in.
Who is your ideal customer?
Michael: In Astoria, a small town, it’s important to be able to serve all comers. Our town is much too small to carve out a select niche. That said, we want to serve out-of-towners and locals alike. While our concept has been embraced by the moneyed people in town (they’ve purchased memberships and whiskey storage lockers), we’ve intentionally set out to make a significant portion of our whiskey collection affordable for working class folks. We may come off as a classy environment, but it’s important that blue collar workers feel at home at our bar. In our first week, our customers have been incredibly diverse, including Portland hipsters, Astoria old money, tradespeople, military, Liberty Theater goers, and ironically enough, quite a few Fort George and Buoy employees.
Ultimately, we’ve created a place where you can just as easily have a Happy Hour with colleagues, casual drinks with your buddies, a romantic date night by fireplace, and even a nice dinner with friends.
Seth: Anybody who enjoys whiskey or who has always wanted to try it. We have a wide range of whiskeys for everyone. Inexpensive pours to high end.
What makes your bar stand out?
Michael: Everything that we said above. Unique drink and food, a beautiful and classy ambiance, stellar service, and a very overt celebration of this town’s history and traditions. I’ll also add that we launched our bar on time (one week late actually!) and were over budget by 15%. I’m quite proud of the result and would be happy to share with other new business owners how we did it.
Seth: I think the bar itself is what is unique. There is nothing else like it. We are not only selling/serving whiskey, but it’s a complete experience when you come in. The food pairings, the whiskey, the laid back comfy feel of it all.
What is your dream for Downtown Astoria?
To become increasingly vibrant for tourists and locals alike, and ready to support a town that can (and should) double in size.