Monday, August 24, 2009
#876 - The Caroline Tavern, Seattle (Lake City) - 8/24/2009
The Caroline is a nifty little neighborhood place that's been operating in the middle of nowhere since prohibition. It is said to have once been visited by Will Rogers, and now caters -- as one imagines it always has -- to a pleasant cross-section of ages, ethnic groups, and subcultures.
Historical notes: There is no doubt that the Caroline is one of the 20 to 30 oldest bars in Seattle. The Caroline itself includes mentions of a start date in 1933, and this Seattle PI blog entry states that "The Polk directory shows the Caroline at that address at least as early as 1937." However, I'm pretty confident that this is mistaken, and that while the bar may possibly date back to 1933, it was at a location on Victory Way (now Lake City Way) until approx. 1940.
In the late 30s and early 40s the Caroline was owned by Mrs. Mary McNulty. The 1937 Seattle Polk guide includes no mention of the Caroline or McNulty, but the 1936 through 1939 telephone directories list the Caroline Tavern or a tavern under Mary McNulty at 12341 Victory Way (now Lake City Way). The buildings currently around this address date back to the 40s, so this structure probably no longer exists. Then in 1940 the telephone directories and eventually the Polk Guide begin to list the Caroline Tavern, Mary McNulty, or both at the current address. It is not unusual for Seattle directories of the time to be missing bars that are so far out from downtown, and I would not at all be surprised to see the that the Caroline does indeed date back to 1933 (although not likely at the current address). However until I see this from some primary source, I will list it as "1936 or earlier."
13702 15th Ave NE., Seattle, WA 98125-3102 - (206) 362-9879
Est. 1940 or earlier at this address, 1936 or earlier at previous address
pi lake city blog - yelp - the stranger