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Boy, howdy. The belles at the bar were in full rodeo regalia on a recent Saturday night at Scenic Loop Cafe. Rising to the occasion, Mike Barfield's band held court under the glassy-eyed gaze of a major trophy head and in front of a backdrop of cedar cabin cladding. Despite the group's lively sound, the bar was a place of refuge from the adjacent dining room where the noise level seemed higher- and lacked the acoustic appeal of Mike's "original Americana" music. Framed in hard surfaces, including a flagstone floor, the restaurant is its own amplifier, and the handsome kilim and other rugs hung about don't quite do the job of noise suppression during peak hours. So here's a tip: Even on weekends, Scenic Loop's crowd appears to be an early one and there was a noticeable thinning by 8:30. Arrive late. And arrive hungry, the portions are enormous. - Ron Bechtol

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