ASHLAND — Known for many years as a public ale house where people of all stripes could gather, the much beleaguered Siskiyou Pub will reopen tonight under old management and an old name, but with a new emphasis on mellow music, wine and more upscale food.

ASHLAND — Known for many years as a public ale house where people of all stripes could gather, the much beleaguered Siskiyou Pub will reopen tonight under old management and an old name, but with a new emphasis on mellow music, wine and more upscale food.

Former owners Patrick Couchman and Eric Weiss recently took the popular pub back after it failed as Jefferson State Pub under the ownership of Andrew Scot Bolsinger, the former Ashland Daily Tidings editor who has had several businesses fail in a flurry of lawsuits in addition to sexual abuse charges stemming from his time as a teacher and coach at a private school near Salem.

"Locals are looking forward to someone running it for the locals, instead of tourists, as an affordable, friendly, relaxed place," said server Kelly Takacs. "I'm very excited."

After a hiatus of 20 months, the Siskiyou Pub will open under its old name, offering a familiar array of microbrewed beers, regional wines and live folk, rock, bluegrass and jazz music, lightly amplified so locals can "do a little Ashland freestyle dancing, hang out, visit socially and be able to have a conversation without the music blowing the doors out and making your ears bleed," said Couchman.

When Couchman sold the pub in May 2006, "people cried and talked about how they met their spouse here, loved the fun, diversity and peacefulness and you'd find, drinking together, maybe a doctor in shorts and flip-flops, a ski bum in jeans and a Chevy salesman dressed up in a suit," said Weiss. "If you were new to town, you came here and in a few days, you had a circle of friends, and there were never any fights."

The pair are ratcheting the pub up the scale with meals such as portobello mushroom sandwich, crispy artichoke hearts and romaine wedge grilled in asiago cheese, all prepared by Derenda Hurst, former chef at McCully House in Jacksonville. Regulars will recall the pub's nachos, bratwurst sandwich and Cuban-style sloppy joes.

"It's pub food, but people say, darn, it's the best pub food we've ever had," said Weiss.

The space opened in 1989 as the Rogue Brewery and actually brewed beer. But the New Year's Day Flood of 1997 brought that era to an end, said Couchman. He opened the Siskiyou Pub (sans brewery) in summer of 1997, running it for nine years.

Noted for its deck and creekside ambience, the smoke-free pub will serve discounted beer from 4 to 6 p.m., as was its style in the old days, with familiar labels such as Walkabout (from Central Point), Deschutes, Pilsner Urquel, Murphy Stout, Sunshine Wheat and Rogue Dead Guy.

Greatly expanding its wine selection, the pub will have a big wine rack near the entrance and offer wine events, pairing various regional vintages with appropriate dishes.

Opening at the pub tonight is Craig Wright and Friends.

John Darling is a freelance writer living in Ashland. E-mail him at jdarling@jeffnet.org.