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Bars where Pete has had a drink

Tuesday, October 12, 2021

#4380 - Elevator Brewery, Columbus, OH - 9/30/2021

Elevator Brewery and Draught Haus
Columbus, Ohio

The Elevator Brewery and Draught Haus in downtown Columbus, Ohio is simply one of the most beautiful bars I have ever been in, and requires a dip into the location's history before we get back to the present business. I have found that sources, even usually reliable sources, document several different dates for when the current structure was built and when the "Bott Brothers" moved into it, and the picture is further clouded by the fact that the brothers ran operations in several other locations in Columbus, and apparently moved their ornate entry area from one of those to the current building. So for the last word on key dates I will rely on the nomination form for the National Register of Historic Places.

According to this document, the site, now known as the "Larrimer building," was constructed in 1895 and began its life as a bar when William "Billy" Bott and his brother Joseph moved their thriving billiard parlor there, opening in April 1905. The source I found that was closest to the date of the founding, Taylor's "Centennial History of Columbus and Franklin County" (1909), confirms this opening date, as well as the grandeur and success of the business, stating, "In April, 1905, [the Bott Bros.] built the finest cafe in the United States and at the present time are conducting the largest and most prosperous business in the city."

The brothers brought with them the elaborate, curved glass front entry structures, and a magnificent back bar created for the 1893 World Columbian Exposition, AKA the Chicago World's Fair, taking the event's blue ribbon for craftsmanship. The spectacular bar is hand-carved Philippine mahogany, with onyx columns, and various inlaid designs in Mother of Pearl, copper, silver, and other woods. Another striking feature are the large and beautiful interior stained glass pieces. The bartender told us that these were added from a local church in the 1920s, and indeed they do not appear in a set of photos from 1910, but I was not able to confirm this origin. But in any case, they add considerable elegance to the ornate glass in the entry and elsewhere, and the finely designed tile floor.

Jack Sullivan describes the Bott Brothers' preceding activities thusly:

'Joseph came to Columbus in 1871 and found work in a variety of retail establishments.  Within a few years, he happened on his true love:  billiards.  Working in a local pool parlor, he became an expert pool and billiards player.

Billie, who had been nine when Joseph left, arrived in Columbus a few years later.  The brothers soon opened a billiard parlor in downtown Columbus immediately across from the State House, guaranteeing a lively traffic from lawmakers and gaining the reputation as the “third house” of the legislature, a place where “a meeting” was always going on.   Later the Botts would move to larger and more elaborate quarters, advertising 40 tables.   They were also branching out into other enterprises.  Their pool halls had always featured a bar;  in 1886 they opened a full-fledged saloon, a part of its interior shown here.  The long and ornate front bar had been purchased from a Chicago saloon erected at the 1893 World’s Fair.  The Botts featured an animated electric bulb sign outside that outlined a pool table where a pool cue descended and balls scattered.  Columbus had never seen its like; customers flocked to the place. 

The following year Joseph and Billie organized the Bott Brothers Manufacturing Company, an enterprise that sold pool and billiard tables and supplies, bar fixtures, refrigerators, playing cards, and even bathroom fixtures.  In short, the Botts handled everything needed to set up, in the minds of many, “dens of iniquity.”'  (pre-prowhiskeymen blog, 2014)

Elevator Brewery and Draught Haus
Columbus, OH
Sullivan continued that the business ended "in 1916 when Ohio voted to go “dry.” but it appears that Ohio state prohibition did not go into effect until 1919, about six months before federal prohibition took effect. In any event, the Bott Brothers do appear to have concluded the manufacturing, distilling, brewing, and saloon business with the advent of prohibition, whereupon the premises are said to have briefly hosted "Columbia Recreation," where the liquor was replaced by milkshakes, and billiards by checkers and chess. Legend has it that tunnels, now sealed, below the building led to the state house and other prominent nearby structures, to facilitate discretion while keeping the liquor flowing for city leaders.

In 1925 it became the Clock Restaurant, which maintained a highly regarded pool hall, played by the likes of Rudolf Wanderone -- better known as "Minnesota Fats." To this day the bar retains an 1891 8-foot Botts table, as well as an 1884 7' table. Despite some highly regrettable design touches that obliviated the beautiful (and since restored) front entry, the popular Clock Restaurant remained there for over half a century, finally closing in April 1979. "The Clock (Reborn)" (re-)opened in 1981 and ran until 1994, following by "Chasen's" in 1996 to 1998.

Shortly after, a father and son couple of beer lovers with no experience in brewing or restaurants, established a brewery in a grain elevator in nearby Marysville. The location inspired the name "Elevator Brewing," and the owner's business card title of "elevator operator." In 2000 they opened a smaller brewery and a restaurant in the Larrimer building. Ryan Stevens, the younger partner, passed away in 2003, but his father Dick maintained the business, largely as an homage to his son. In 2016 employees Will Triplett and Kevin Jaynes completed a buyout of Dick's remaining shares and took over the restaurant, and then in 2020 the 81-yo Stevens sold the remaining brewery to Jackie O's, a popular Athens brewery.

Today the splendor of the Botts Brothers grand business floor remains on full display and in immaculate condition. It continues to serve some fine Elevator Brewing beers (and root beer), along with spirits and upgraded versions of pub food such as beef tenderloin medallions, cajun chicken penna, and blackened mahi mahi on a hot Finnish Tulikivi firestone. It is a can't miss stop for anyone interested in bars and/or history.

And finally, after mentioning spirits, lest we neglect the other worldly events that some people inevitably observe in bars of such antiquity, the building does of course come with a share of ghost stories. The most well known of these is described by ohioexploration.com

"On a cold February night in 1909, an infamous womanizer named Col. Randolph Pritchard was at the Bott Brothers Saloon, as he often was. Pritchard was called into the street where he was stabbed by a woman, presumably one that he had abused. The Colonel stumbled back into the saloon, collapsed on the floor and bled to death. At the exact moment of Pritchard’s death, the large clock in front of the saloon stopped, marking 10:05. The only trace of his killer was her fresh footprints in the winter snow. The clock stood for many years, stopped at 10:05 for eternity…or at least until it was removed and replaced. The ghost of Colonel Pritchard is said to roam the restaurant, but has only been spotted on rare occasions. Pritchard’s killer, who was believed to have froze to death the night she killed him, is also said to make her presence known. Mysterious footprints have appeared in fresh snow where no one had yet walked. There have been several witnesses who have claimed to see the footprints appear right before their eyes."























































This photo is said to be from 1890, although that
seems dubious to me, as it is the current location.





The Clock Restaurant appears to have been very
popular, although how theycould live with
themselves after doingthis to the beautiful entry
is a mystery indeed.





































161 N High St, Columbus, OH 43215 - (614) 228-0500
Est. 2000 - Building constructed: 1897
Previous bars in this location:
Web site: elevatorbrewing.com - facebook 
Articles ranked: thethirstymuse - pre-prowhiskeymen - yelp - tripadvisor - ohioexploration - beeradvocate - dispatch - untappd - gallivant - experiencecolumbus - heritageohio

Saturday, July 10, 2021

#4277 #S1708 - Sisters and Brothers, Seattle - 7/10/2021

Sisters and Brothers, Seattle, WA

Sisters and Brothers first opened in a small brick building across the street from Boeing Field, in Seattle's Georgetown neighborhood, in March 2016. Jake Manny, who ran a joint called the "Crying Wolf" in East Nashville, moved out to Seattle to be near his family and live on a boat, and partnered with a number of people including a couple veterans from Tom Douglas restaurants and local bar owner Drew Church (Hazelwood, Hotel Albatross). From there the Manny crew dished out beers, cocktails, and delicious buttermilk-brined, Nashville Hot Chicken -- sometimes with lines around the block -- until February 2020, when they seemed to have been forced out by neighboring winemaker and reputed local lout Charles Smith.

Meanwhile in Interbay, owner Christina Moy, after years of running Chen's Village on its reputation for salt & pepper chicken wings as the building was quite literally falling apart, finally gave up the ghost and closed the Chinese restaurant and dive bar lounge in December 2018, with rumors swirling that the 1936 building would be demolished. (At a nearby Expedia office, we referred to the place as "Chen's Lodge," based on the observation that the V, I, and L had fallen off the exterior lettering that once read "CHEN'S VILLAGE.") 

The bar history of the building goes back well past the classic dive bar lounge that occupied a small part of the Chen's building. It was the "Tiki Hut," featuring the "Shell Room" bar, by at least 1962, and the bar retained the Shell Room moniker through later incarnations as "Hope's Hut," the "Blue Hawaii Restaurant," and "Lee Chee Garden." 

Wedge salad with chicken tenders
Sisters and Brothers, Seattle, WA

Fortunately Manny is said to have much appreciated Chen's and the earlier incarnations, and he has done a great cleaning and remodeling (significantly expanding the bar area) while maintaining the original bones and old lounge vibe of the place. Slick black and cobalt blue vinyl covers the booth seating, the tops of the walls are lined with vintage toys, an array of swanky mid-century lamps hang from the ceiling, and the walls are covered with mcm pop art, underground comix covers, and vintage local beer lights and paraphernalia.

We chatted with bartender Dave Young, a partner with Jake in the Nashville restaurant whom Jake convinced to come out to Seattle to set up the bar program here, and check out area tiki bars in on his off-time. Of course that was before both ambitions, along with the restaurant itself, were thrown for a loop by COVID. But they are up and running now, with some tasty cocktails and that delicious chicken. The "Seattle Hot" is plenty good for me, basted with a blend of chili purees to give it a nice snap. But if you're a heat lover, you can amp it up to "Nashville Hot" or even "Insane," which add Ghost Chili puree to inflict upon your mouth and innards. At any heat, one bite of their chicken sandwich and the debate about Chick-fil-A versus Popeyes, etc. will seem utterly moot.


I'd love to have this place in my neighborhood, but 7 miles away is nicer than the 12 miles to the old place, and the vibe of this, esp. with the ghosts of old Chinese and tiki bars therein, is even better than the original. I expect to be here often.


































































544 Elliott Ave W, Seattle, WA 98119 - (206) 283-2078
Est. June 25, 2021 (bar opened at this location), June 2, 2020 (opened for takeout-only in this location), 2016 opened in original Georgetown location - Building constructed: 1936
Previous bars in this location: Tiki Hut (The Shell Room), Hope's Hut, Blue Hawaii Restaurant, Lee Chee Garden, Chen's Village
Web site: sistersandbrothers.com - facebook 
Articles: seattletimesseattlemetroadfoodeater - artzone (video) - dinersdriveinsdives - theinfatuation - everout - yelp - tripadvisor 





















Sunday, July 04, 2021

#4271 - Tim's Bar and Grill, Kelso, WA - 6/26/2021

Tim's Bar & Grill, AKA Tim's Tavern, Kelso, WA

Tim's Bar and Grill in Kelso, previously known as Tim's Tavern and Tim's Timber Tavern, is half dive bar, half Kelso historical museum. The museum part is in the form of over 200 historical photographs of the Kelso area -- all or most from the Cowlitz County Historical Society -- which line the upper walls of the place, including pre-prohibition Kelso saloons like the Old Corner Saloon, Secors Saloon, and Swager Saloon.

The bar itself has been a substantial part of Kelso history. Tim Bonner appears to have purchased the Timber Tavern here in 1982 and run it for over three decades before he passed away in 2017. His daughter Teresa Bonner appears to have run it since. It was called Tim's Timber Tavern or just Tim's Tavern for most of that time. The Timber Tavern had previously been there since the 60s, and before that Howard's Tavern in the 40s and 50s, and perhaps earlier. The structure was built during prohibition (1923).

Tim's Bar & Grill, AKA Tim's Tavern, Kelso, WA
Beyond the large collection of framed photos, the bar is a fairly typical neighborhood dive, with pool tables, shuffleboard, a good selection of beers, and a menu of classic diner/bar food that emphasizes breakfast. It is located in an odd part of "Old Town" Kelso where Allen Street splits into a major road that bridges over the Cowlitz River and a smaller road of the same name that houses three blocks of small businesses before running into the river's edge.


























213 Allen St, Kelso, WA 98626 - (360) 636-2627
Est. 1982 - Building constructed: 1923
Previous bars in this location: Howard's Tavern, Timber Tavern
Web site: facebook  
Reviews: yelp - tripadvisor - untappd - restaurantguru 

Tuesday, May 11, 2021

#4098 #S1674 - Citizen Campfire, Seattle - 8/4/2020

Citizen Campfire, Seattle, WA
The lot adjacent to Citizen Cafe hosted a BBQ truck briefly until a back injury to the pitmaster ended that venture in 2017. But the space was upgraded and put to excellent use during the COVID pandemic, with a sort mid-century patio setting that would become an adults only outdoor bar at 4:00pm. It know offers drinks from the cafe including alcoholic slushie drinks, with cafe snacks or food ordered from nearby Lazy Susan. You can snack and sip from lawn chairs or bean bag chairs, at the fire pit or in the greenhouse. I've added it to my list of best options for sunny days.
 
























































706 Taylor Ave N, Seattle, WA 98109 - (206) 284-1015
Est. April 13, 2018 
Previous bars in this location: None known
Web site: citizencampfire.com - facebook 
Reviews: eatinseattle - dailyhive - untappd 







#3457 - The Camp Bar, Tacoma, WA - 2/16/2018

Camp Bar, Tacoma, Washington

When Patrick Haight, veteran bartender from Seattle's Tini Bigs martini lounge, opened his own place, it was a swanky craft cocktail emporium in Belltown or Capitol Hill. Instead he acquired the old "Acme Tavern" (AKA "Acme Grub Cage") just below the Hilltop area and converted into an elaborately themed camp site for adults, with tents and camping gear and various odd bric-a-brac. So when the COVID pandemic hit, adding actual tents -- both inside and out -- was a natural. In addition there's now an outdoor patio with fake grass, picnic tables and tree stump seats.




As much as I love any place that would call itself a "grub cage," the Camp Bar is better in many different ways. Their web site says they are located "in a historic building that housed Tacoma's second oldest bar (Est. 1932)." This claim is a little wonky given that A) The building was only constructed in 1956; and B) 1932 was still in  prohibition. But the Acme Tavern starts to appear in city guides in 1941, listed at the building next door, on the corner of 13th, and then appears to have moved into the new (current) building right after it was constructed.

The current incarnation is pretty darn swell. The decor is somewhere between a dive bar and a theme park -- "In Tacoma bar terms, I’ll break it down for you: It’s going to be more like The Mule Tavern than En Rama." (News Tribune) The cocktails include a popular "One-eyed squirrel" concoction, with 10 rotating good beers on tap. The food emphasizes burgers and comfort food with some unique twists, including make-your-own s'mores with a little hibachi stove.


The staff are cool, and they host various events including a very popular karaoke night and "Not Safe For Work Bingo."

If I live anywhere close to this I would probably go a lot.









































Est. 2017 - Building constructed: 1956
Previous bars in this location: Acme Tavern / Grub Cage
Web site: thecampbar.com - facebook 
Articles ranked: southsoundtalk - southsoundtalk (tents) - newstribune - dinepiercecounty.com - king5 - yelp - tripadvisor - komonews 

#3946 #S1664 - Velvet Elk, Seattle - 1/19/2020

The Velvet Elk, Seattle, WA
I've added this cozy craft cocktail lounge to my list of favorite Seattle intimate spaces. Established as "The Saloon" and renamed about 6 months later when Kim Beecroft took ownership, the small but two-level bar is sometimes referred to as a "speakeasy." While they do some some speakeasy era classics, the only thing really hidden about the bar is that it is in a location you wouldn't expect, around the corner from Mioposto in a tiny retail section across from Mt. Baker Park.

I quite like the funky decor, the mellow vibe, and the high quality cocktails. Thankfully it seems to have made it through the worst of the COVID era, with a little bit of help from a successful gofundme and its grateful patrons, and I'm eager to go again soon.





















3605 S McClellan St, Seattle, WA 98144 - (206) 717-2902
Est. June 1, 2019 - Building constructed: 1930
Previous bars in this location: The Saloon
Web site: velvet-elk.com - facebook
Articles ranked: theinfatuation - king5 - yelp - intentionalist 

Sunday, May 09, 2021

#3852 - Doreen's Saloon, Cottonwood, ID - 8/30/2019

Doreen's Saloon, Cottonwood, Idaho
There's not much internet presence for Doreen's Saloon in Cottonwood, Idaho, but the snippets I can find tell me that it is currently closed and for sale. so I presume that's true. From a snippet in the Cottonwood Chronicle ("Voice of the Camas Prairie") I gathered that Doreen's was established in 2012 (at the time of this writing the Wikipedia page on Cottonwood still features Lowell's Saloon, which preceded Doreen's in the space). Indeed from a Facebook group I learned about a whole series of bars in this location, including Jenny's Tavern, T-Bar, Hap's Bar, the Country Still and Busdastubleup. Maybe it'll be something else by the time I come through again.



According to Wikipedia, the central Idaho city of Cottonwood began in 1862 as a series of way station shelters for prospectors and mining suppliers on their way south to Florence and Warrens. Its population seems to have risen steadily in the first half of the 20th century, then hovered just below about 1,000 people ever since. Doreens was established by Doreen Ash, which would have seemed appropriate, had I known it when I walked in to encounter a thick wall of cigarette smoke.

On at least the day I walked in, Doreen's was populated with NRA snapback caps, Trump stickers, and old coots. A couple of the latter were expounding at great length on the ways of the world: "There's global warming, but it's a natural cycle ..." "Everything dies if it ain't adapted"


I was there for exactly one drink on exactly one day, so I couldn't tell you that much about the place. Was business picking up on this Friday afternoon? Was the evening crowd much different? Does it sometimes get rowdy? Who's been 86'd? What the hell is a Bustastubleup?

I guess I'll probably never know, but I'm glad I stopped in.












U.S. 95 Business, 416 Main St, Cottonwood, ID 83522 - (208) 962-7331
Est. 2012? - Building constructed: year
Previous bars in this location: Jenny's Tavern, T-Bar, Hap's Bar, Country Still, Busdastubleup, Lowell's Saloon