Links: The Project | Seattle's Oldest Bars | Washington's Oldest Bars | Pete's Favorites | Favorite Reviews | Interesting Bars | Contact Pete

Bars where Pete has had a Drink (2,581 bars; 1,268 bars in Seattle):

Bars where Pete has had a drink

Wednesday, July 23, 2014

#2230 - Conestoga, Clatskanie, OR - 7/15/2013

Conestoga Restaurant and Bar, Clatskanie, OR
The Conestoga Restaurant and Bar is located "in downtown Clatskanie, across from Humps at the main stoplight." The iconic wheels were removed for safety, and now the red and white forms of the Conestoga wagon float mysteriously about the restaurant door. Inside is a diner, with a classic neighborhood dive in back. It's been cleaned up recently by some new owners, who improved the food, and will tell you about various types of businesses previously in the space, including, as it so often is in these small towns, the city mortuary.

85 N Nehalem St, Clatskanie, OR 97016 - (503) 728-3702
Web site: facebook
Reviews: yelp

#2229 - Quay Restaurant and Bar, Vancouver, WA - 7/12/2013

Stepping into the Quay Bar in Vancouver Washington's riverside Red Lion can feel a bit like stepping on board the Flying Dutchman. The feeling strikes you initially as you take in the considerable work done to make it appear that you are in an 18th century sailing ship. Slightly less ancient are the pop cover songs coming from the bands there on weekend evenings, as the 50-ish crowd hits the dance floor to early 80s rock. But the sense of doom does not come only from the dance floor -- the building itself is slated to be demolished as efforts move forward to build a new, much wider bridge here where I-5 crosses the Columbia River to Portland. And perhaps partially due to that impending fate, you can sometimes find your party sitting forlorn at a table and starting to wonder if there really were any servers in the place, or if those were just ghosts, now slunk back to their watery graves, the promise of foodstuff now just a haunting memory.

Quay Restaurant and Bar, Red Lion Vancouver, WA
As if to further make you doubt your senses, the Red Lion web site doesn't reveal a hint of the abundant ship decor in any photos or descriptions of the restaurant. Here's their description of the bar:
"Adjacent to the restaurant and overlooking the Columbia River, the bar has a pool table, and offers live entertainment Friday and Saturday evenings."
That's right. A pool table!

Quay Restaurant and Bar, Red Lion Vancouver, WA
The people are fairly nice, and the hotel, restaurant and bar are all adequate, but they feel like a golden opportunity lost. You should go to the Quay Restaurant to check out the sailing ship decor and the fine view of the Columbia River. If the buffet is open, you should definitely choose that option -- not because there is anything particularly great about the buffet, but because it's a bit dicey whether a server will happen by any time soon (a lesson learned on our first visit and reinforced on our second). If you like any music written after 1981, you might want to skip the band. Enjoy the location and trouble not your mind over what could have been.

Quay Restaurant and Bar, Red Lion Vancouver, WA

Red Lion's exciting photo of the Quay Bar's exotic decor.

100 Columbia Street, Vancouver, WA 98660 - 360-694-8341
Est. 1962
Web site:
Reviews: tripadvisor - yelp - urbanspoon - examiner - barflymag

Thursday, July 17, 2014

#2228 - Lady Luck's Cowgirl Up, Tacoma, WA - 7/12/2013

A large, old west themed bar, with serving girls that dance on the bar to country music.  They serve diner style steaks and standards, and decorate the knotty pine walls with beer corporation paraphernalia.

14114 Pacific Ave S, Tacoma, WA 98444 - (253) 538-4996
Est. 2004
Web site: - facebook
Reviews: tacomaweekly - yelp - urbanspoon

Wednesday, July 16, 2014

#2227 #1152 - some random bar, Seattle - 7/10/2013

No, I wasn't so drunk that I can't even remember the name, they really did name this place "Some Random Bar." It's the first bar from Mike Maione, who decided to put his biology degree aside and move back to Seattle from Florida with his wife Jean Wallace and start a bar and restaurant in Seattle. The bar is in the former space of the short-lived C.S. Finnegan's, and seems a bit like a bar in the middle of some small town, that tries to bring a little bit of everything. They have Seahawks and soccer games -- and moved to the televisions so that you can watch from the bar with a neck injury -- and some interesting cocktails and food choices.  There's are eight beer taps with a "no crap on tap" policy and menu items like twice-cooked oxtails, lamb tongue salad, and chicken fried quail.

It's hard to tell if this place is going to catch on and make it, but the owners are very nice and it's a kind of place you root for.

2604 1st Ave, Seattle, WA 98121 - (206) 745-2185
Est. July 9, 2013 - Building constructed: 1903
Previous bars in this location: C.S. Finnegan's Irish House
Web site:
Reviews:  thrillistseattlemet - cornichon - yelp - thestranger

Sunday, July 06, 2014

#2226 - Rainier Bar and Grill, Enumclaw, WA - 7/7/2013

Rainier Bar and Grill, Enumclaw, WA
In 2005 new owners converted this historic dive to a cleaned up bar and grill with more contemporary pub food and cocktails. They refer to it as a "gastropub" which should be understood to mean nothing particularly fancy, but a large menu of restaurant quality food, definitely a cut above typical dive bar fare, with better than average burgers, sandwiches, wraps, and seafood options, along with fairly standard beers and cocktails. These are served by a friendly staff working in front of a nice, antique Brunswick-Balke-Collender back bar, and the place is said to be packed on weekend evenings.

The Bohemian, and former Rainier Wine House, in the current
location of the Rainier Bar and Grill, Enumclaw, WA
Historical notes: The Facebook page claims that the location hosted the Rainier Wine House as far back as 1904, the Bohemian Bar shortly after that, and a Rainier Beer wholesale distribution site founded in 1913 -- and features a photograph of a wooden building featuring the "Rainier Wine House" and "Bohemian" signs. The current brick structure was built during state-wide prohibition in 1917. Wally Duchateau writes in the Enumclaw Courier Herald that it was a "a speakeasy in the 1920s, a card room in the 1930s and 40s and a favorite watering hole for loggers in the 1950s." However, in the Sigrid city directory for 1934, available in the Enumclaw Plateau Historical Museum a few blocks away, the location is already listed as the "Rainier Bar." Thus it is likely that the location returned to a licensed tavern very soon after the Federal Beer and Wine Revenue Act took effect in April 1933. Duchateau's description continues, "During the 1960s, it appealed to Enumclaw’s fledgling hippies and in the ‘70s it was home base for a few would-be punks and Cobain followers. In other words, it had always been a small-town alcove for fellows and gals who were, more or less, sort of rebellious, unorthodox, and a bit out of step with the local culture in general."

Bacon Cheeseburger, Rainier Bar and Grill, Enumclaw, WA
It's a nice place to grab a beer or a meal, and it is pleasing to see them keeping the history alive with old photographs and other touches. But I do confess that I suspect I personally would have prefered the previous incarnation(s), given my fondness for dive bars and for scenes "a bit out of step with the local culture in general."

Brunswick-Balke-Collender antique bar at the Rainier Bar and
Grill in Enumclaw, WA

Close-up with added contrast of the Brunswick label on the
back bar at the Rainier Bar and Grill, Enumclaw, WA
1623 Cole St, Enumclaw, WA 98022 - (360) 825-6363
Est. 1934 or earlier (i.e. as a bar in the current building) - Building constructed: 1917
Previous bars in this location: Rainier Wine Co, Bohemian Bar
Web site: facebook
Reviews: urbanspoon - sportsandfood - yelp - patch

#2225 - Naches Tavern, Greenwater, WA - 7/7/2013

The Naches Tavern is said to have been built in 1919 and appears to have begun under that name during prohibition. A photo below is dated June 1926, and features what may be the current building, though substantially remodeled. The tavern is in the unincorporated community of Greenwater, which has a population of a little over 200, although you would never guess that many from the few mossy residences you can see from the road. It is pretty much the perfect mountain tavern, its log-cabin based structure entreating you from the wood, into the woody interior with a large stone fireplace and various relics donated by locals collected on the walls. It sits along state route 410 and welcomes locals, snow boarders from Crystal Mountain, bikers, hikers and various roadtrippers. The food is pretty standard bar fare, and the drinks are dive bar standards. It is said that the entire town gathers there on Christmas for a communal party.

Naches Tavern, June 1926 - Tacoma Public Library

58411 Washington 410, Greenwater, WA 98022 - (360) 663-2267
Est. ? - Building constructed: 1919
Previous bars in this location: None known
Web site: facebook
Reviews: hdrcreme - chinookscenicbyway - yelp - courierherald - dailysunnews - yahootravel - tripadvisor - urbanspoon - bikerfriendlybars - friendlymoth

Friday, July 04, 2014

#2224 - Wood Shed Restaurant and Lounge, Naches, WA - 7/7/2013

Lest you be concerned about the hustle and bustle of downtown Naches, rest assured that the "Wood Shed Restaurant and Lounge at Eagle Rock Resort" is a good 10 miles upriver the actual town. And the "resort" is two small cabins and 5 RV hookups. This bar and restaurant, joined to a grocery store along Highway 410, is pretty much what you look for in a roadside joint, serving a range of comfort food, dive bar basic drinks, and hosting a small gathering of bikers, tourists and locals (two of the latter were describing coming upon a rattlesnake in their shop the previous morning). I had a gin and tonic and a leisurely chat with bartender Mark, who hails from West Seattle.

8590 State Route 410, Naches, Washington - (509) 658-2100
Web site: - facebook
Reviews: yelp - urbanspoon - tripadvisor - discoveryakimavalley

#2223 - Old Town Pump, Union Gap, WA - 7/7/2013

"The city of Union Gap was originally named Yakima and was officially incorporated on November 23, 1883. When bypassed by the Northern Pacific Railroad in December 1884, over 100 buildings were moved with rollers and horse teams to the nearby site of the depot. The new city was dubbed North Yakima. In 1918 North Yakima was changed to simply Yakima, and the original town to the south was named Union Gap." (Wikipedia)

The Old Town Pump does have an old pump in it, but everything else is newish, except for the customers and staff. However it does appear to date back to about 1960, and it looks like it has been very substantially remodeled after the old tavern was shut down in 2010. It has an old timey, wood exterior but is more like a cafe inside, serving up pretty standard drinks and pub food.

3716 Main St, Union Gap, WA 98903 - (509) 452-2864
Est. c.1960
Web site: facebook
Reviews: link - kimatv - urbanspoon

Thursday, July 03, 2014

#2222 - The Main Event, Baker City, OR - 7/7/2013

Baker City Oregon sits alongside I-84 in northeast Oregon and features one of the better preserved historic portions of a town in the area. Within the 42 acre historic district there are about 60 to 70 structures that date back between the 1880s and 1915, and inside one of them is the bar and diner called the Main Event. Said to have been an old smoke shop back in the 1890s, it is a long space, with an old bar down one side, serving a classic diner menu and dive bar style drinks in a relaxed, friendly atmosphere.

1929 Main St, Baker City, OR 97814 - (541) 523-6988
Previous bars in this location: Cattle Kate's
Web site: facebook
Reviews: pubsbardivesyelp - tripadvisor

Wednesday, July 02, 2014

#2221 - Silly Birch, Boise, ID - 7/6/2013

Something like a frat house basement, Silly Birch has 14 microbrews, video games, jello shots, and lots of twenty-ish guys in backwards baseball caps. It is relaxed and open during the day, and a slightly less packed version of the popular 6th and Main bars on Friday and Saturday evenings.

507 W Main St, Boise, ID 83702 - (208) 345-2505
Est. Aug 31, 2012 - Building constructed: 1945
Previous bars in this location: The Hangar, Mack and Charlies
Web site: - facebook
Reviews: boiseweekly

Monday, June 23, 2014

#2220 - China Blue, Boise, ID - 7/6/2013

People have been drinking in this space since it was built in 1906, constructed by the Boise Turnverein and Harmony Society to provide a social center for German immigrants, singing "Die Wacht am Rhine" (Stand Guard at the Rhine) as they lay the cornerstone. And there the society, established in Boise in 1870, hosted theatrical and musical events, as well as gymnastics including "turning" (twirling dumbells) for a couple decades, until people of German descent began to be ostracized during World War I, and they decided to close the center, sandblasting the name off the front entrance.

Idaho State Historical Society photo
In the intervening years it is said to have hosted a print shop, a 7th Day Adventist church, a strip club, a WWII Air Force office, and a number of bars and restaurants. In 1969 Rod Davidson and Chas Allan purchased it, filled it with antiques and memorabilia including brass lights from the Idaho state house and a grand Brunswick oak bar, and helped revitalize this old portion of Boise, and it's now flourishing nightlife scene.

Nowadays it is an oontz-oontz techno and hiphop bar, complete with VIP section and several bars, including one inside the women's room. It is owned and run by Ted Challenger, who also owns Dirty Little Roddy's down below and the Main Street Bistro.

100 S 6th St, Boise, ID 83702 - (208) 338-6604
Est. 2003 - Building constructed: 1906
Previous bars in this location: Old Boise Saloon (1969-1973), Joe's All American Grill
Web site: facebook - oldboise
Reviews: boiseweekly - djcoregon - boiseghost - yelp

#2219 - Dirty Little Roddy's, Boise, ID - 7/6/2013

After trying to explain some of the types of bars I like most to my ex-cop cousin, he immediately pops out his cell phone, calls a friend still on the force, and asks him what bar in town is the most likely one to get into trouble. His friend answers probably Dirty Little Roddy's or China Blue, so later in the evening I drop by. Given the frat party atmosphere, I can see how these places would lead to the sort of scuffles and various sorts of illegitimate business that would draw an inordinate amount of police attention, but it would not be accurate to call it a rough crowd. I need to work on my descriptions a bit.

Roddy's is in the basement of the historic, old Boise Turnverein building, and with its sister bar China Blue upstairs it sells more liquor than any bar in Idaho (or at least it did this for much of its existence). It's western themed, but like a 1970s western theme, with peanuts on the floor, a mechanical bull, a DJ, drunk college girls, and lots of guys with backwards baseball caps. To class it up a bit, they have bikini bull ride events, pantsless St. Pattys Day, and door prizes for best breast augmentation surgery.

It's a fun place, if you're in the mood for that sort of thing (and if you are, make sure and take a cab home).

100 S 6th St (basement), Boise, ID 83702 - (208) 338-6604
Building constructed: 1906
Previous bars in this location: Joe's Down Under
Web site: facebook - oldboise
Reviews: link - boiseweekly - yelp - boisebarguide - urbandrinks

#2218 - Cricket's Bar and Grill, Boise, ID - 7/6/2013

A bare bones biker and college kid bar.

1228 S Oakland Ave, Boise, ID 83706 - (208) 344-6235
Est. March 12, 1990 - Building constructed: 1957
Web site: facebook
Reviews: boiseweekly - yelp

Thursday, June 19, 2014

#2217 - Overland Bar, Boise, ID - 7/6/2013

Overland Bar, Boise, ID
Immediately upon entrance the Overland Bar convinces you that it is one serious dive, as you step out of the bright sunlight needing a good amount of time for your eyes to adjust the very dark, windowless interior. They have karaoke seven nights a week, but for the classic dive experience you need to come early enough to avoid that. I'm not sure how old the bar is but it clearly dates back to the late 50s or early 60s. The building was constructed in 1954 and the bar is listed in the 1962 Polk Directory.

Overland Bar, Boise, ID
Eyes slowly adjusting, you take in the classic black vinyl, velvet paintings, wood paneling, and eventually even the carved wooden sign reading "Schmuck's Cornner." Who is the topless lady in the painting? Who are the schmucks? And why does their corner have two n's in it? I consider asking, but somehow the answers seem better left in the darkness.

3907 W Overland Rd, Boise, ID 83705 - (208) 336-4707              
Building constructed: 1954
Web site: facebook
Reviews: boiseweekly - jrhask

#2216 - Piper Pub and Grill, Boise, ID - 7/5/2013

Though I don't believe they brew here, the Piper Pub and Grill feels like a modern brewpub sort of place, with a large menu of modern pub food, 16 good beers on tap, live music Thursdays through Saturdays and featuring summery cocktails like huckleberry mojitos. They also have a sort of scotch club, where you can work your way through 40 varieties of Scotch whiskies.

150 N 8th St, Boise, ID 83702 - (208) 343-2444
Est. 1989
Web site: - facebook
Reviews: boiseweekly - boisebarguide - yelp - urbanspoon

#2215 - Bud Jackson's, La Grande, OR - 7/3/2013

Bud Jackson's Sportsman's Bar and Grill is a fairly typical mid-sized sports bar with standard pub food options, pool tables, and sports on televisions.

2209 Adams Ave (at Willow St), La Grande, OR 97850 - (541) 962-7858
Est. April 2004
Previous bars in this location: The Eastside, Bogey's
Web site: facebook
Reviews: lagrandeobserver - yelp - urbanspoon

#2214 - The Spur, Harrah, WA - 7/3/2013

Sitting across the street from a large building with a plaque saying it was once the largest potato warehouse in the northwest, the Spur Tavern has definitely been around for a while as well. The bartender informed me that the owner told her that it's been around since the 1890s. I haven't been able to find any historical evidence of this, however, and from the generous help of the folks at the Yakima Valley Museum, it appears that at least the name "Spur" probably originated some time after prohibition (which commenced Jan 1, 1916 across Washington state) and that the current building may have been constructed in the 1920s.

"The Northern Pacific Railroad does not extend service to the Harrah area until about 1916-1917; after which much mention is made of the line being a spur off the main line running through Wapato (a town to the east)—and the line soon ventures further west to pick up lumber and farm products in White Swan.  And talk is made of “spurs” (or probably dead end sidings)  used to load iced or refrigerated boxcars off the main spur.  So the Spur Tavern probably was named for that as it is just north of the tracks." (John Baule, personal correspondence, June 22, 2014)

"The building now known as The Spur Tavern was originally occupied by the Pastime Pool Hall opened in either 1925 or 1928 by Luther Rathburn, who subsequently sold out to Jim Meikle and Sam Russell.  The reason I say 1925 or 1928 is because the source mentions the opening was after a disastrous fire that nearly destroyed the town—there were two such fires, one in 1925 and one in 1928.  It does not confirm the building was built then, just that the business opened so it could have been a new building or it could have been just a new business."  (Ibid)

Baule also notes that there was no town in this location in the 1890s, though of course this does not categorically rule out the possibility of a saloon here.

Nowadays, at least, the Spur Tavern is a homey, western-themed dive bar, with horse shoe drawer handles, tattered taxidermy, and pictures of various cowboys, horses, and Budweiser girls on the wood paneled walls. It's a brick structure, with a small crenulated facade along the top (the history of virtually every old town across Washington state includes one or more disastrous fires destroying the downtown core between the 1880s and 1920s, with brick buildings replacing wooden ones after the fire).

Harrah was originally established as "Saluskin" in 1913, named for a local Indian chief who was none too pleased when it was renamed after a local rancher a few years later (and is said to have subsequently refer to it as "Thief Town"). I arrived there on a hot Saturday afternoon, and chatted with the small number of patrons in the cool respite at the Spur bar. Just before I headed out for the road, a very drunk native American fellow named Jeff walked up to me, punched me pretty good in the arm, gave me an approving nod, and walked out.
4 Martin Rd, Harrah, WA 98933 - (509) 848-2855               
Reviews: urbanspoon

Wednesday, June 18, 2014

#2213 - Van's 1885 Bar and Grill, Naches, WA - 7/3/2013

Naches, Washington is a central Washington town of about 800 people. It is named for the nearby Naches River, which in turn is said to be named for the native words for "turbulent water," formed by the confluence of the Little Naches and Bumping River flowing down the eastern slopes of the Cascades and eventually into the Yakima. Van's 1885 Bar and Grill was in the Van Ness family since 1944, and called "Van's Tavern" for most if not all of that time. I chatted with the current owner, Elliot Baker, and when I asked him how long the place had been his, without pause he told me "Seven years and three days."

Elliot had worked in sales for Montgomery Ward and worked in real estate. In addition to the desire to have his own place, he was tempted by the grand, antique, oak Brunswick bar, which he believes was constructed in 1885 (hence the bar name).  The bar is said to have been made for Schlitz, which supplied a Schlitz-only bar formerly across the street, below the brothel. The bar is believed to have been sawed in half and this half put in its current location sometime in the 1940s. (While the bar has a general similarity to some antique bars I have seen across the state, including at Loggers in Sultan and Merchants in Seattle, it is not exactly like any others I have found in Washington.)  The 1934 and 1935 Yakima Polk Guides list "The Tavern" and "The Past Time" tavern in Naches, but unfortunately do not include addresses, and I have no way to date the bar beyond the information Elliot has received re. the Van Ness family.

The bar might be seen as a neighborhood dive, but it is considerably larger than it appears from outside, and with the current food options, cleaning, and upgrading by Elliot it feels almost as much like a family restaurant -- at least on an afternoon like the one I visited.  Typical beers, cocktails, and pub food are available.

208 Naches Ave, Naches, WA 98937 - (509) 653-2257
Est. 1944? - Building constructed: 1921
Previous bars in this location: Van's Tavern
Video: yakimavalleyrisktakers