Bars where Pete has had a Drink (4,126 bars; 1,678 bars in Seattle) - Click titles below for Lists:

Bars where Pete has had a drink

Sunday, June 28, 2020

#2792 - Tiny's Tavern, Wapato, WA - 6/13/2015

Tiny's Tavern (now closed) sign, Wapato, WA
Tiny's Tavern now looks abandoned (and there's no current liquor license for the address) and it appears that Jim Whitaker sold it and retired in 2017? It had quite the run though.

Wapato Washington, founded as "Simcoe" in 1885, is a small town in the Yakima reservation, about 10 miles south of Yakima and north of Toppenish, along the smaller of two highways that frame the Yakima River. It's population of 5,000 or so is over 85% Hispanic, and it once had a flourishing Japanese-American community -- before internment.

Jim Whitaker, owner of Tiny's Tavern for almost 40 years
"Wapato originated as a Northern Pacific Railroad stop (Simcoe) on the Yakama Indian Reservation. During the first half of the twentieth century, Native Americans, Anglos, Filipinos, and especially Japanese Americans supplied farm labor. The process that created a “Mexican Town” included growing dependence on cheap labor, especially during World War II when Wapato's Japanese American population was interned and the Bracero Program (guest-workers from Mexico) was instituted." (historylink)

When I visited in 2015, Ballard James "Jim" Whitaker had owned it for 36 years, having purchased it from Tiny's wife. Tiny was a local legend, and Jim told me some stories about him. Jim said Tiny was 6'7" or 6'8", almost 400 lbs "and not fat." Jim has a picture of him from when Tiny operated a feed store, and the photo shows him with a 100-lb bag of seed on each shoulder and under each arm. Tiny also started a donkey basketball event which continued long after his death, and which is referenced in the great old sign that I think still remains out front?

I hope that Jim is enjoying retirement and that the town of Wapato preserves the Tiny's sign forever.

Location of town of Wapato in Washington state

501 West First St, Wapato, Washington                              
Est. 1940? - Closed 2017? - Building constructed: 1947
Previous bars in this location: None known
Web site: facebook

Sunday, June 21, 2020

#4005 - Pioneer Saloon, Paisley, OR - 6/17/2020

Pioneer Saloon, Paisley, OR
Paisley Oregon, proud home of annual Paisley Mosquito Festival, is in the southeast Oregon area some call the "Oregon Outback," and many refer to as the middle of nowhere. The city business section, such as it is, lies mostly on one bend in highway 31, south of the Chewaucan River and adjacent to the Paisley Caves, where archeologists found the oldest known evidence for humans in north America, dating back some 13 or 14 thousand years.

Settled by the 1870s and incorporated in 1911, Paisley has always been small (current population is less than 250 people), but it has virtually always attracted people from the area with saloons. And as it currently hosts the Pioneer Saloon, and old west style bar and restaurant that features an antique back bar and claims to have been established in 1883, this has been near the top of my to-do list for northwest bars to visit.

I wish I knew more about the history of the place -- how consistently it has hosted a bar, what names it may have operated under, and for what time(s) it has been known as the Pioneer Saloon. In the back room there is a large print of a pre-prohibition photo of several men on horseback in front of a "Pioneer Saloon," presumably in Paisley and perhaps in the same building (?). Most of what I have found is summarized in this paragraph from a local magazine:

"One of only two original structures still standing in Paisley, the Pioneer Saloon—previously named the  Cooley Saloon and Paisley Tavern—developed an early reputation as a rowdy watering hole. In April 1888, Civil War veteran Henri Brown shot and killed Pioneer bartender Harry Schick over a game of cards. (Brown always claimed the shooting was an accident and was eventually pardoned by Governor Chamberlain in 1903.) And in 1906, local resident Gib Gaylor was found dead in the saloon’s club room. With a bottle of whiskey in one hand and a bottle of medical liniments to rub on his various aches and pains in the other, Gaylor had accidentally drunk the wrong bottle. All told, the Pioneer Saloon has persevered through two hangings, a deadly shooting and stabbing, Prohibition, two World Wars, the rise and fall of the timber industry and, more recently, the annual flood of trustafarians making their way to Burning Man in nearby Nevada." -- (Beau Eastes, 1859 Oregon Magazine)

Pioneer Saloon, Paisley, OR
Of course I'm also interested in the back bar, said to be a Brunswick. While it is a model that I can't identify, a framed description is attached to the bar itself:

"This bar was built in Boston in 1905 and shipped around the horn to Portland. It was brought to Paisley from Arlington, Oregon in 1906 by a six horse freight wagon driving by Melvin Parker." I'm not aware of a Brunswick factory in Boston (?), but at this point I'll take the info as described.

Pioneer Saloon, Paisley, OR
Presently the Pioneer offers a range of pizzas, sandwiches and burgers, ribeye steak and tri-trip sandwich specialties, and a variety of rotating home cooked specials including prime rib, meatloaf, linguine, lasagne, smoked brisket, and fresh baked pies with other home baked goods. The bar offers a nice variety of Oregon craft beers and a surprising range of cocktails, all served by some really nice people.

327 Main St, Paisley, OR 97636 - (541) 943-3289                              
Est. 1883? - Building constructed: 1883?
Previous bars in this location: Cooley Saloon, Pioneer Tavern
Web site: facebook 
Articles ranked: 1859oregonmagazine - onlyinyourstate - centraloregondaily (video) - lakecountyexaminer - yelp - tripadvisor - bendsource - roadtrippers  

#4010 - Kirk's Ferry, Brownsville, OR - 6/18/2020

Kirk's Ferry, Brownsville, OR
I am sitting in the old town of Brownsville Oregon next to a cabin that was built before the first white settlers even reached Seattle, sipping a cocktail, and chatting with bar owner Greg Hopla about everything from news of the day, to the towering restaurant and trading store he built himself, to the titanium swords he makes, to the large jousting tournaments and various medieval events he organizes, to swimming in the cenotes outside the ancient Mayan city of Chichen Itza. He is, to put it mildly, a remarkable fellow, and he plainly tends to undertake his projects at a grand scale.

The hand hewn log house to my right was constructed by Alexander Kirk, apparently sometime between 1846 and 1850. Kirk moved to the area in 1846, purchased some property, and within a year was operating a hand-hauled flat-bottomed ferry across the Calapooia river. The community that grew up around him was also initially called "Calapooya," after the local native Kalapuya tribe, and also "Kirk's Ferry," and eventually was renamed for Hugh Brown, who had arrived in the same party as Kirk, and established the area's first store. Meanwhile, the current cabin was apparently the second constructed by Kirk, and was "run as an inn or tavern for many years." "Anyone who wished to stop over at Brownsville could stay with father," noted Alexander's son Lee Kirk. The Hoplas found a ledger dating back to 1850 which included goods purchased by virtually all of the town's founders.

Kirk's Ferry, Brownsville, OR
Over the years the house passed down through various family members and eventually to Hopla's great-grandfather, Justice Porter, and from thence to his grandmother, who finally sold it to him, something Greg said he predicted when he was a young boy staying at the place. "It's your turn," Greg says his grandmother announced one day, before dividing the profits of the sale among her family and living the rest of her days happily on a small stipend. At that point the house had long evolved into a modestly modernized home, with extended rooms and siding that left little clue of it's primitive origins and historical significance. Hopla tore down the extensions and stripped it down to the original core, then to protect it constructed a massive outer structure, and told me about learning by trial and error how to operate a crane and set the large beams. Then he filled the surroundings with beautiful wood tables and bar tops he cut himself. The cabin is now filled with antique artifacts and adorned with taxidermy heads donated by the locals.

Greg Hopla, owner, designer, builder,
Kirk's Ferry Restaurant & Trading Post
Hopla's money for the project and his vision for its development came from his many years of putting on various large, medieval and renaissance themed events, including jousting tournaments, elaborate sets, and his own period costumes and weapons. He worked for years in the Medieval Times Dinner and Tournament before striking out on his own with the World Tournament Of Champions -- designing and installing large sets, teaching men to joust and special horseback riding, and forging their weapons. He and his wife Shawna still work producing such events, even as they continue to developer the Kirk's Ferry Trading Post, Restaurant and Bar, and continue to produce titanium swords and axes as Knight Vision Weaponry.

They opened July 4, 2012, with 100 seats inside, surrounding the old cabin, and another 45 on the veranda in the shade of two old walnut trees. Greg scaled back some of his plans for the structure, when it appeared to the regulations imposed by local authorities just didn't make it practical to have large pioneer-themed dinner shows with the horses and activities he's organized across the country, and in Spain and Mexico. The entertainment these days -- interrupted by the coronavirus restrictions -- tends to be live country bands, with the occasional cowboy poetry reading. His son Dakota is now the chef, producing enticing preparations of grilled comfort food classics, including prime rib, fresh smoked ribs, chicken, burgers and wood fired pizzas.

Hopla in one of his other jobs
(Photo: Idaho State Journal)
Old downtown Brownsville, which sits across the river from Kirk's Ferry and just a few miles east of I-5 some 90 miles or so south of Portland, between Corvalis and Eugene, is well worth an extended stop. And I hope by now it is abundantly clear that Kirk's itself is a must-do stop for anyone interested in northwest history, bars and restaurants with a ton of character, or just a fulfilling meal while in the area.

Shawna Hopla

217 W Bishop Way, Brownsville, OR 97327 - (541) 466-5614
Est. July 4, 2012 - Building constructed: 2012 large structure completed; 1846-1850 (interior cabin)
Previous bars in this location: Kirk Alexander's tavern?
Web site: facebook
Articles ranked: eugenedailynewsdemocratherald - yelp - tripadvisor

Sunday, June 07, 2020

#3950 - The In Between, Port Townsend, WA - 2/1/2020

The In Between, Port Townsend, WA
Like a lot of people going there for the first time, I had some trouble finding the In Between. But whether or not rumors are true that this was designed to cut down on the percentage of tourists, it is now my favorite bar in Port Townsend.

The art deco, speakeasy decor starts with the beautiful antique bar that owner Kris Nelson rescued from the N.D. Hill Building (whether or not it was the original bar from the Town Tavern for many decades). Nelson also owns the Alchemy Bistro and Wine Bar in town, and for the new place he tapped two talented bartenders, Sophie Elan and Alexander Moats, to co-manage the bar and drink program. The result is a lovely menu of craft cocktails, with new drinks continually revolving in.

They also offer various nice small plates to snack on, and a patio with a view of Port Townsend Bay for the warm weather. But it is the vibe and most of all the cocktail selection -- including a number of tiki themed choices -- that will make it well worth the effort for you to locate the next time you're near the northeast Olympic peninsula.

Antique bar at the In Between, Port Townsend

823 Water St, Port Townsend, WA 98368 - (360) 379-2425                              
Est. Dec 21, 2018
Web site: - facebook
Reviews: ptleader - yelp - tripadvisor 

Thursday, May 21, 2020

#2696 - Tiki-Ti, Los Angeles, CA - 1/29/2015

The Tiki-Ti, Los Angeles, CA
TL:DR - A must visit in LA, confirm they are open and get there early (e.g. 4:00 Thursday), bring cash, order a Ray's Mistake, then an Uga Booga, then a Blood and Sand, and eventually an Uber home.

An immigrant from the Philippines, Ray Buhen established the Tiki-Ti in 1961 in a former violin repair shop owned by his father-in-law, where his son and grandsons run the bar to this day. Buhen had been part of the very founding of tiki culture in the U.S., one of the original bartenders at the seminal Don The Beachcomber's in Hollywood. Buhen had arrived in the U.S. in the last few years of prohibition, worked as a hotel bellhop and elevator man, then trained as a bartender before joining the new Don the Beachcomber's in 1934.

The Tiki-Ti, Los Angeles, CA
Part of a substantial group of Filipino bartenders who created much of the "tiki" menu and culture, Buhen would go on to work at several more Hollywood grog shops, including The Dresden Room, the Seven Seas, Palms in the Jungle, China Trader, Sugie's Tropics, Ching Hau, The Luau, and the Clark Gable funded Christian’s Hut. (The drink making was interrupted by a stint in the Long Beach shipyards during WWII.) And as this was Hollywood and thereabouts, Buhen's customers included Charlie Chaplin, John Wayne, Howard Hughes, Burt Reynolds, Jack Palance, Marlon Brando, Jack Palance, and Tyrone Power (the inspiration for the "Blood and Sand").

Ray worked the bar until he was 88, and passed away shortly after, in 1999. Since then his son Mike and grandson Mike Jr., have run the place, taking a moment every Wednesday to ring a bell five times, whereupon the entire bar makes a toast to the revered founder. Further details on Ray's life may be seen on the bar's web site here.

Virtually everyone agrees that Tiki-Ti is "a classic," but a classic what exactly, is a bit more complicated. Most critically, the huge cocktail selection, 96 choices at last check, and full of secret recipes that Ray took with him from Don the Beachcomber's as well as inventing along the way (and no beer and wine available), is top notch. The house favorite is "Ray's Mistake," a white rum, gin,  passionfruit, pineapple juice, bitters, falernum, and dark rum float concoction of some sort that resulted from an error in constructing an Anting Anting in 1968, and the rest is history. (The recipe is officially a secret but googling reveals any number of attempts to reconstruct it.) The most fun drinks to order, on the other hand, are those that inspire the assembled regulars to chant throughout the preparation. These are the aforementioned "Blood and Sand" (to chants of "Toro, toro, toro!"), perhaps served in a new custom mug designed by Doug Horne, and the Uga Booga, accompanied by chants of the drink's name.

Ray Buhen working at the Dresden Room, late 1960s
(photo via Tiki-Ti Facebook page)
The size and decor are as much those of a cozy dive bar as the more famous tiki establishments, and while purists may not have chosen the pop music over exotica, or the kitschy bric-a-brac over a more deliberately fashioned polynesian decor, it remains one of the most beloved tiki bars in the country. Given its tiny size (12 bar stools and about 30 people max), customers may face lines if they go on a popular day, and/or during popular hours (again, try being there at opening time, currently 4pm, at midweek). The bar is closed Sundays through Tuesdays, which repeatedly frustrated this eager would-be patron, as those seemed to be the only days I had available in LA. But I finally made it in 2015, and am much looking forward to future and longer visits.

Mug designed for Tiki-Ti by Doug Horne,
inspired by the "Blood and Sand" cocktail
(photo from the Tiki-Ti Facebook page)

4427 Sunset Blvd, Los Angeles, CA 90027 - (323) 669-9381
Est. Apr 28, 1961
Web site: - facebook
Recommended Articles: critiki - theworld
Additional Articles ranked: instagramlaistbbctikiwithray - losangelesconservancy - thirstyinlaworldsbestbars - punchwikipediayelp - tripadvisor - wanderingchopsticks - bonapetit - roadtrippers - thrillist - timeout - drinkableglobe 

Sunday, May 17, 2020

#2786 - Pastime Tavern, Lacrosse, WA - 6/12/2015

Butch's Pastime Tavern, Lacrosse, WA
Lacrosse, Washington lies a 3.5 mile drive off of Highway 26 in southeast Washington, between Hooper and Dusty, north of Jerita and Sheck, and just a 40-mile drive from Palouse Falls. The population in the 2010 census was 310 -- 95.8% white, 0.3% black, 0.3% Asian, and 0.6% Native American (you can probably do the math).

I'm particularly partial to bars named the "Pastime" -- there aren't so many left these days, but so far I've identified 65 towns in Washington that have had a Pastime at one time or another, and about another 100 elsewhere in the U.S. I wish I knew a lot more history behind Butch's Pastime in Lacrosse. I was told that Butch Thomas has owned in for the last 40 years, although it seems to be owned by Blain and Lana Thomas now, and that it's almost 100 years old, having had some ten different names over the years and 3 to 4 remodels within memory.

You won't stumble across Lacrosse and Butch's by accident, but if you drive down South Main you're eyes will likely be caught by the faded western scenes painted on the exterior walls (and which continue inside). If you're thirsty the Pastime has a selection of popular beers and an old school pub menu of burgers, fried food, etc. Then you can add it to your list of remaining Washington State "Pastime" stops, with whatever others you may have dropped into in Castle Rock, Blaine, Oroville, Ritzville, Selah or Wishram.

(Token image from

210 S Main St, Lacrosse, WA 99143 - (509) 549-3608
Previous bars in this location: Unknown
Reviews: tripadvisor 

Tuesday, May 12, 2020

#3591 - Sip 'n Dip Lounge, Great Falls, MT - 8/19/2018

Fifty years ago Great Falls was the largest city in Montana and included the swanky O'Haire Motor Inn, which included a tiki bar with windows into the swimming pool, inspired by the Chicago Playboy club, and a young Pat Spoonheim playing piano in the bar. Today, Great Falls has slipped to the 3rd largest city in the state, the local economy has struggled for many years, and the O'Haire is a fairly pedestrian motel. And yet the old Sip and Dip Lounge inside, still featuring keyboards by Piano Pat -- now well into her 80s and semi-legendary -- is now known nation-wide and was once cited by GQ Magazine as one of the ten best bars in the world and the "#1 bar...worth flying for."

What has made the Sip and Dip probably the city's most famous attraction -- over the local symphony that has hosted guests like Yo-Yo Ma and Itzhak Perlman, the local minor league baseball teams that have included players like Pedro Martínez and Raúl Mondesí, and the shortest river in the world -- are the mermaids that have regularly graced the pool since 1995. A story I read in the bar itself said it started when a housekeeper put a sheet around her legs in 1994, but the more prominent histories (e.g. Wikipedia) only mention that it was started by general manager Sandra Johnson-Thares on New Years Eve 1995 as her idea to inject a "fun factor."

The 75-room motel and tiki bar were constructed by Edgar O'Haire in 1962 and the lounge has maintained most of the same tiki theme and decor ever since. Piano Pat was sadly not available during our visit in the Fall of 2018, but we did make sure to visit during mermaid hours (the pool is open to guests outside of the mermaid hours, and we were informed that not all of them wear a swimsuit despite (or perhaps because of?) the bar room view.

The menu features pretty standard contemporary pub food, there is a good beer selection, and the cocktails tend to be more toward the beach party end than craft cocktails. But the history, Piano Pat, and just the existence of one of the tiny handful of mermaid bars in the middle of Montana should make this a bucket list sort of stop for just about anyone.


Mermaid hours (if you go, check online for current times):
Monday: 6:00pm - 9:00pm
Tuesday - Thursday: 6:00pm - 10:00pm
Friday - Saturday: 6:00pm to 12:00pm
Mermaid Brunch: 10:00am - 2:00pm, 1st and 3rd Sunday

17 7th St S, Great Falls, MT 59401 - (406) 454-2141
Est. 1962 - Building constructed: 1962
Web site: - facebook
Articles ranked: critiki - atlas obscura video - wikipedia - national trust for historic preservation - ixploredelishorbitz - yelp - tripadvisor - headhuntersflyshop