It's a well-established excuse that Portlanders drink because of the weather. But if you tire of pickling yourself, you're in luck: Jessica Kelso opened Löyly earlier this year, a Finnish-style sauna that keeps you warm, all the while helping to rectify damage already done by booze. But if a chilly day just isn't complete without a warming spirit, never fear—Löyly will begin serving beer and wine next month for post-sauna enjoyment.
How did a Eugene girl become the proprietor of a European-style sauna?
I originally started doing wood-fired saunas with some friends, and got addicted. I spent my fair share of time in bars, and was almost relieved to find another pastime. While traveling in Europe, I did my best to find saunas. I found a great place in Amsterdam on a particularly nasty, cold day. I lounged around for a couple of hours thinking, "Why can't I have this all of the time? Do I really have to come to Europe for it?"
What are some of the benefits of using a sauna?
Some people swear it cures anything and gets rid of heavy metals. It does get your heart rate going a bit as the body works to cool down, and you do actually burn calories, according to the Journal of American Medicine. And it simply gives a rosy, relaxed glow that lasts. I always sleep really deeply after a good sauna, which a lot of people report.
What's the difference between a Finnish sauna and a Swedish sauna?
The Finnish sauna seems to be a little more hardcore and involves lots of rounds of heat and jumping into lakes, which is more my style. I recently had a couple of young Finnish guys who were on a skateboard/motorcycle tour call about coming in. When I told him it was women's day, I honestly thought he was going to cry. Since no one was there at the moment, I told them to come in anyway until someone else showed up. They pulled up on their bikes like five minutes later and were so giddy and happy, I had made two instant new friends.
You're about to start serving drinks at the sauna, which seems a little counterintuitive.
Finns and others go to the public sauna often as a social event, and they have DJs and stay up late. A drink and a salty snack after a long sauna is one of the greatest pleasures on earth as far as I can tell. It feels like a natural segue, and in moderation, not unhealthy at all. I am a bit cynical about totally purist and holistic lifestyles.