The North Bend Eagle


High school friends take over Arlie's

by Nathan Arneal
Published 5/30/18

Aaron Nelson and Alex Hamilton are still getting used to the bar business, but they’d still like to make you any drink you want... as long as the ingredients are listed in the name of the drink you order.

Arlie's owners
Alex Hamilton and Aaron Nelson have been operating Arlie's Bar since April 27. They plan to make very few changes to the bar.

“As long as it’s an easy one, like Jack and Coke,” Hamilton said with a laugh.

The two buddies reopened Arlie’s Bar about a month ago, and they haven’t gotten much sleep since.

“It’s long hours, but it’s worth it,” Nelson said. “It’s fun. We enjoy it. We’ve talked about doing this as friends for a long time. It’s easy to get up in the morning.”

Nelson, 32, and Hamilton, 31, have been friends since their North Bend Central school days and lived together in Lincoln for three years before both eventually moved back to North Bend. They’ve toyed around with the idea of running a business together for years when this opportunity came up.

“We both wanted to get into something like this, to do something on our own,” Nelson said. “We’ve definitely had multiple conversations about doing a bar, we just didn’t really know where or when.”

The unexpected death of bar owner Arlie Eckstein in December left the future of Arlie’s Bar in limbo. About a week after hearing the news, Hamilton called one of Eckstein’s daughters expressing interest in business.

“We kind of knew it was a done deal from then,” Hamliton said. “We were that interested in it and the price was right.”

Eckstein’s family had one request: keep the name. Nelson and Hamilton had no problem sticking with Arlie’s.

“When we talked about this, we never wanted to change the name,” Nelson said. “In a small town like this, everybody knows it (as Arlie’s), so it makes more sense to keep it the same.”

The bar a half block east of North Bend’s Main Street on Highway 30 has been named Arlie’s since Eckstein bought it in 1997. The new owners want to maintain the name recognition it has built up over two decades.


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