Bars where Pete has had a Drink (3,844 bars; 1,641 bars in Seattle) - Click titles below for Lists:

Bars where Pete has had a drink

Wednesday, August 21, 2019

#3833 - Pair-A-Dice, Marsing, ID - 7/27/2019

Pair-A-Dice Cafe and Lounge, Marsing, Idaho
It's a pretty sure bet that you're in a small town when your address is 2. That's the case for the Pair-A-Dice Cafe and Lounge in Marsing, Idaho, on the western bank of the Snake River. The town itself is barely a half a square mile, but the surrounding population has continued to grow over the past several decades, and one can see how this could be a hopping place on weekend evenings, when DJs and bands are playing or country line dancing is in session.

I wasn't going to see any of that on the dusty, hot morning when I rolled in, but being the only customer in the place afforded me time to chat with bartender Gerry, 72, who  has led an interesting life and has tales to tell. Jerry's been diagnosed with stage four cancer, and he says he keeps outliving his doctor's predictions of six months. His wife died earlier from cancer.

Gerry, bartender at Pair-A-Dice Cafe and Lounge, Marsing, Idaho
Back in the mid 60s Gerry was running back / full back for the Washington Huskies (I think this is him). He says he had some NFL scouts looking at him before an injury senior year. He still has attachments to Seattle football and maintains Seahawks season tickets, although he rarely makes the games himself. Last time he was in Seattle during the season was to for a celebration of life for his nephew, and he missed the game then as well because his nephew was more important.

Gerry worked for years with a restaurant chain as a cook and later as an inspector. Last year Gerry had a place in Paradise, California, which he lost in the tragic Camp Fire -- the deadliest U.S. fire in 100 years. He was homeless living in his truck for two and half months after that, but when people came around distributing gift cards, he gave his away to people who needed them even more. Gerry has a little investment, sold some wood that could be salvaged from his property, has a pension and social security, and keeps on working. He says he'll probably need to quit the job before long, but here's a toast to Gerry defying doctor's predictions for as long as he can.

2 Main St, Marsing, ID 83639 - (208) 896-4182
Previous bars in this location: Caba's
Web site: facebook
Reviews: restaurantguru 

Tuesday, August 20, 2019

#2900 - Pioneer Saloon, Goodsprings, NV - 11/29/2015,,, Bucket List Bars -- sometimes I could know a bar I wanted to visit just by the sites that write about it. But there was never any doubt that the Pioneer Saloon in Goodsprings, Nevada was going to be high on my to-do list. There was little chance I'd miss this one -- despite being the only surviving business in a tiny ghost town, with 20% of its income now coming from its use in movies, the bar has its own PR agent. And once you see a few pictures, you have to go.

It's welcoming and fairly large, but somehow doesn't feel too touristy. We had a pleasant chat with Noel Scheckells, the current owner, whose sons run the bar and kitchen, and also with patron Jim, who is a session musician and told us he played drums on Patsy Cline's "Crazy," Bob Dylan's "Blonde on Blonde" album, "Gypsies, Tramps and Thieves," various Carpenters tunes and many others.

Of course it has ghosts, of course it has a great antique Brunswick back bar, and of course it has bullets in the wall (which may have come from a dealer shooting a cheating card player or may have come from former owner Don Hedrick's appreciation for a good story). It also features chicken shit bingo, barbecues where you can cook your own food, an expansive patio, and a 100-year-old urinal.

I like the history of the place compiled on this excellent page about Nevada's Brunswick bars:

"Built in 1913, the Pioneer Saloon, one of the nation's oldest stamped-metal tin buildings, is up for sale. The $1.35 million asking price includes two other buildings, all of the bar's antique fixtures and, of course, its colorful ghost stories and history. "I am asking a lot for the place because I want the new owners to be committed to it living on," said Don Hedrick, whose family has owned the saloon -- the last remaining commercial business in Goodsprings -- for 40 years. Hedrick has managed the business on State Route 161, seven miles west of Jean, since his father, Don, died in 1996. (The Saloon was turned over to its new owner, who was also a long time patron of the Pioneer Saloon, in December 2006. Less than a year later on October 17th, 2007 the long time, loved, and respected, former owner Don Hedrick Jr. passed away.)

The Pioneer Saloon was built by George Arthur Fayle, who had served as a Clark County Commission chairman and owned the Fayle Hotel in Goodsprings. The saloon has changed little since indoor toilets were installed in the 1930s. The interior and exterior walls are of stamped tin
and manufactured by Sears and Roebuck. It is thought to be one of the last, if not the last of its kind in the United States. The legendary cherry wood bar installed in 1913 was manufactured by the Brunswick Company in Maine in the 1860's. It was shipped in three sections around Cape Horn to San Francisco. Two of the sections were lost and the third became a fixture in a bar in Rhyolite, now a Nye County ghost town, before it was shipped to the Pioneer.

The saloon gained international attention in 1942 when screen legend Clark Gable hung out there for days afterhis wife, actress Carole Lombard, was killed in a plane crash at nearby Mount Potosi. No one is sure whether Lombard's ghost still wanders into the saloon looking for Gable. But some patrons among today's eclectic crowd of primarily townsfolk, bikers and tourists swear they share bar stools with spirits. The back room of the Pioneeris a mini-museum, filled with memorabilia of Gable and Lombard, historic framed newspaper front pages and old bottles. In the bar area, the original pot-bellied stove stills heats the building. Over the years, the Pioneer Saloon's charm has made it a popular spot for filmmakers. The town of Goodsprings was originally know as Good's Spring after its founder Joseph Good. Joseph Good settled in the area in the 1860's mainly because of the rich under ground spring. Many of the Cottonwood trees found in Goodsprings were originally planted by Mr. Good.

Goodsprings, Nevada became a booming Mining town in the early 1900s when the Yellow Pine Mine was established as well as the Fayle Hotel, the General Mercantile and yes the World Famous Pioneer Saloon. Next to the Pioneer Saloon is the Goodsprings General Store. This was at one time the Goodsprings Cafe and it is said that George Fayle built the Goodsprings Cafe first and lived in it while he built the Pioneer Saloon. Later in 1915 across from the Pioneer Saloon Mr. Fayle built a General Store and Icehouse. The store burned down in 1966 but the icehouse and a storage room still stand to this day." 

310 NV-161, Goodsprings, NV 89019 - (702) 874-9362                                             
Est. 1913
Web site: - facebook
Articles ranked: bluerevelation - reviewjournal - bucketlistbars video - culturetrip - daytrippen - roadsideamerica - huffpo - kensphotogallery - travelnevada - yelp - tripadvisor - atlasobscura - mydigimagvegasoffroadtours  

#3387 - Finca La Roja, Vinales, Cuba - 11/3/2017

After a few excellent days in Havanna, Trista and I and the other six friends on our Cuba trip piled into a huge, classic "taxi colectivo" and rode for three hours to Vinales in the province of Pinar del Rio, the westernmost and most rural province of Cuba and source of the finest tobacco in the world. Just outside of Vinales we spotted the "Finca la Roya" ("red farm") bar and restaurant, which seemed impossibly romantic, with its thatched roofed barns and homes amidst the rolling, lush landscape, limestone "mogote" mounds in distance, and a man plowing the rich red soil behind to oxen. We would be back.

So after settling down in our "casa particular" and spending the first evening in the town of Vinales, the following day we rented scooters and headed out for parts unknown, but not most definitely to include tracking back to Finca la Roya for a cocktail and lunch. We were the only customers and the open patio gave us some great views of the valley and, much to Trista's happiness, a menagerie of chickens, ducks, dogs and more critters.

The drinks and food were pretty good, but our favorite part of the visit was the setting and the family, including when 3rd generation tobacco farmer Don Alfredo, who spoke no English, led us down into the barn and demonstrated his artisan cigar rolling skills. But then again this is one of the places where nothing I could write could possibly add much meaningful description to the pictures.

Dan Afredo, rolling a cigar for us (Trista photo)

KM 24 Carretera a Vinales, Vinales 22400, Cuba - +53 48 69539

Saturday, August 17, 2019

#3128 - Daphnes Bar, Edmonds, WA - 12/22/2016

It's hard to believe that I haven't posted about this lovely bar before now, but in the meantime it has only strengthened its position as probably my favorite bar in the greater Seattle area. As anyone who has ever been there will know, this is largely due to the tiny, intimate space, partially to the reliably fine cocktails produced, and in no small part due to the rollicking character of its star bartender Desmond "Dez" van Rensburg.

There is no pining about the "Seattle Freeze" in Daphnes. If you're one of the dozen or so people to get a seat in the tiny 250' square former barber shop tucked within the 1923 Edmonds Theater building, you're not only elbow to elbow with other patrons, you are quickly pulled into the conversation, likely introduced to the others, and perhaps given a nickname (I was "Big Dog"). At times it can feel like tiny local joint off a side street in Paris, and at other times like you are joining a rickety traveling carnival. And it certainly doesn't hurt that the cocktail menu always features a few of my favorites (Old Pal, Negroni, Corpse Reviver #2, Sazerac) and anything you order is well made.

If you're visiting or living in Seattle, it's easy to overlook Daphnes, some 15 to 20 miles or so out of town -- and that's fine with me as it keeps the frequently full space from being completely overrun. And I am certainly not beyond choosing a route home on our road trips that includes the Edmonds ferry, simply because it affords a stop there.

Daphnes was opened in 2006 by Brian Taylor and Louise Favier, who have also owned other restaurants in western Washington (Jack Murphy's, Daphnes Fairhaven) and in New York (Pencil Factory Bar). They moved back to New York in the summer of 2013, and sold all Washington businesses except Daphnes Edmonds. I fervently hope that the bar, and Dez, continue on for many, many years.

415 1/2 Main St, Edmonds, WA 98020                                             
Est. 2006 - Building constructed: 1923
Previous bars in this location: None known
Web site: facebook
Reviews: heraldnet - komonews - heraldnet - seattlerealestatehelp - yelp - tripadvisor - culturetrip - myedmondsnews  

#3801 - Croke Park (Whitey's), Boston, MA - 6/24/2019

Danny and Danny at Whitey's / Croke Park, Boston MA

In preparing for a visit to Boston I'd read about at least three bars that were touted as the best dive bar in the city, and at Croke Park, AKA Whitey's, in Southie, I finally believed it.

The first "testimonial" cited on the bar's own web site begins this way:

"I don’t want to say this is the worst bar in the world because I’ve never been to places like Bangladesh, Rwanda, or Haiti. But I can say with 100% certainty that this place is, by far, the worst bar in Boston. I’ve been to crackhouses where I’ve felt safer. Also, that had less crack. Seriously, at no point did I feel like I wasn’t about to be stabbed by the locals."

I was not there at a time of day where I would enjoy that sort of scene, but it still impressed me as a welcome dive, with the sort of character accrued over time, and a few characters who provided lively conversation. In particular I met two fellows named Danny, both locals, both born in Ireland, and one of them the owner of the bar. Owner Danny had a very different worldview from mine, but that didn't stop us from having a quite enjoyable -- and fairly long -- bar conversation. Indeed, I went well beyond my planned one drink when customer Danny kept buying another round because he wanted to see the conversation continue.

As expected from a classic dive, the bartenders deliver generous pours for an inexpensive price, and while the exterior features a surprisingly fresh coat of paint, inside the walls are covered with the names of doodles of patrons over the years. I don't know if they like this or not, but Esquire named it one of the top bars in the country. If you like true dive bars with a rugged personality this is a must stop when you are in the area.

268 W Broadway, Boston, MA 02127 - (617) 606-5971                              
Web site:
Articles: onlyinyourstateesquire - yelp - timeout - bostonherald - roadtrippers - universalhubuniversalhub - lonelyplaneteater - nytimes

#3041 - M T Saddle, Shoup, ID - 8/20/2016

Note: After a long time with blog posts lagging behind bar visits, I've recently gone about 9 months without posting a blog entry, and I am now 1,154 bars behind. I do plan to resume blog posts, but since I don't know when (or if) I will catch up on all bars, I'm going to take a different approach. Rather than always posting in the order I visited bars, I will now be posting which ever I feel like doing next, which should enable me to catch up on at least the most interesting (at least to me) bars. The order and dates I actually visited the bar will still be reflected in the titles.

First hint of the M.T. Saddle Saloon
With that said, I had to resume these posts with what may now be my very favorite bar,  the M-T Saddle Saloon, near, Shoup, Idaho. I was not sure we'd actually reach this one, as it is 13 miles down a single lane dirt road along a river, and my car is the furthest thing from an offroad vehicle. There were a few hints of this on the internet from hikers and hunters, including a photo from just the year before my trip, so we were optimistic as we turned off Highway 93 and headed east along the Salmon River. 18 miles later we arrived in the old mining town of Shoup, which actually had human residents and an active business the past few years, but that all ended when the Shoup Store, with its antique gas pumps and beer guzzling salmon sculpture, closed down last November. From Shoup the pavement ends, but the one-lane dirt road is fairly wide and in good shape. While not seeing any humans, we passed deer and ospreys, yellow cliffs and desert bighorn sheep. Approximately 13 miles down the dirt road to seemingly nowhere, we spotted a faded plywood sign for the M-T Saddle, and shortly thereafter, there, almost miraculously, it stood.

The saloon was opened by Mike Tibbits in the mid 70s (his initials forming half of the double entendre of the establishment's name). The presiding bartender was a perfectly grizzled character named "Oly." The taps were inoperable, but the refrigerator was stocked with cold, cheap beer and sodas. The saloon, with a couple other buildings on the lot, was crammed full of dusty photos, paintings, and artifacts. One of the locals told me that Tibbits had a plan to create an entire little ghost town block, but that plan seems to have been abandoned. There are few hints of the bar's existence from outside the lot itself, and we chatted with some semi-locals who had just stumbled upon it that day after deciding to just head down that road to see what's at the end of it. You might imagine their surprise. In my own search for "hidden gems" of bars around the northwest, it will be difficult to top this one.

Bartender Oly

A few road obstacles on the way
3431 Salmon River Rd, Shoup, Idaho                               
Est. 1970s
Previous bars in this location: None known
Web site: facebook (unofficial)
Other: Idaho State Police Preliminary Order

Tuesday, November 27, 2018

#2688 - Raging River Cafe and Club, Fall City, WA - 1/11/2015

Located in a strip mall across the street from the Snoqualmie River, the Raging River Cafe and Club is known most for its old school diner style breakfasts. But it also has a bar section, with an almost fern-bar style, rectangular bar -- wines and spirits behind glass up top, and river rock below -- which caters to a lively, dive-bar sort of crowd.

33719 Redmond-Fall City Rd SE, Fall City, WA 98024 - (425) 222-6669
Est. year - Building constructed: 1956
Previous bars in this location: Sportsman's Cafe
Web site: - facebook
Reviews: yelp - tripadvisor - beeradvocate - untappd 

#2687 #S1304 - Agave Cocina and Tequilas, Seattle - 1/6/2015

Sitting along with a number of other restaurants in a clutch of condos in the shadow of the Space Needle, Agave is a local mini-chain of modernized Mexican restaurants owned by Federico Ramos, with sister restaurants in Issaquah and Redmond. Frederico is said to have designed the fixtures and ironwork himself, and to accompany the food he built the largest selection of 100% agave tequilas in the Pacific Northwest.

I will have to be more adventurous in future visits, but in this one I was inclined toward the margarita with jalapeno and cilantro. I like both the food and drinks and a bonus was sassy bartender Katie K.

100 Republican Street #100, Seattle, WA 98109 - (206) 420-8195
Est. May 3, 2014 - Building constructed: 2012
Previous bars in this location: None known
Web site: - facebook
Reviews: eater - worldsbestbarsthestranger - yelp - tripadvisor  

#2686 #S1303 - Bitter Raw, Seattle - 1/6/2015

After a working tour of Japan, New York, and San Francisco, John Sundstrom returned to Seattle and started collecting recognition from James Beard and others at places like Dahlia Lounge, Carmelita, and Earth & Ocean, before opening cozy Lark on Capitol Hill in 2003. Eleven years later he moved Lark to a much larger room to in a 1917 warehouse, which had enough room on the upper floor to create a comfortably dark second bar, Bitter/Raw. The focus is shellfish, chacuterie, and fancy, raw, small plates, and while oysters are a little too raw and bitter for my tastes, it's a quite nice location for light bites and fine cocktails.

952 E Seneca St, 2nd floor, Seattle, WA 98122 - (206) 323-5275
Est. Dec 4, 2014 - Building constructed: 1917
Previous bars in this location: None known
Web site: larkseattle.comfacebook
Reviews: seattlemet - yelp - seattleweekly - restaurantguru 

Sunday, July 22, 2018

#2685 #S1302 - Mama Stortini's, Seattle - 1/3/2015

Mama Stortini's, Northgate Mall, Seattle
The first Mama Stortini's was opened in University Place in 1993 by Joe Stortini. Joe was born in Tacoma after his parents, Giuseppe Stortini and Giuseppina Piazza, immigrated from Port Sant'Elpidio, Italy in 1914. Joe excelled in baseball and football in high school and at the University of Puget Sound, eventually being named to both the UPS and Tacoma Athletic Commission's Halls of Fame.

Joe got a Masters in Education and worked as a high school teacher at Mount Tahoma High before leaving to enter politics. He became a state senator and held several other roles in Pierce County politics. No doubt his greatest challenge in life, brought upon himself, came in August of 1991, when a woman with whom he was having an affair killed herself with an overdose of drugs. Stortini, who was serving as Pierce County Executive at the time, was with her at the time and called 911. The incident apparently happened after Stortini informed the woman, who had divorced her husband, that he wanted to repair his relationship with his wife.

Mama Stortini's, Seattle
The incident marred a life and careers which already made Stortini one of the most recognizable personalities in the South Sound, feted for his many contributions to local charities. I assume the incident led to his departure from politics, and eventually into the restaurant business. Joe expanded to a restaurant in Puyallup before selling the business in 1999. He would later return to the business with Joeseppi’s Italian Ristorante on Pearl Street in North Tacoma, which he runs to this day, well into his 80s.

Meanwhile, the corporation that acquired Mama Stortini's expanded to Northgate Mall in Seattle. It no longer has the personal touch that Joe provides, but it does feature a stolid menu of Italian-centric American and Americanized comfort foods, some nice wines, and some sugary cocktails that one doubts would meet the approval of old Giuseppina Piazza.

Joe Stortini, found of Mama Stortini's
while serving as state senator in 1973

Joe Stortini, circa 2013
401 NE Northgate Way #1103, Seattle, WA 98125 - (206) 365-5567                              
Est. Nov 25, 2014 - Building constructed: 1950
Previous bars in this location: Twigs Bistro and Martini Bar, Romano's Macaroni Grill
Web site: - facebook
Reviews: yelp - tripadvisor - eater