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Bars where Pete has had a drink

Tuesday, May 18, 2010

#1106 #S654 - Benbow Room, Seattle - 5/15/2010

Admiral Benbow Room, West Seattle
Update: The Benbow Room closed March 22, 2015

2nd Update: After a period hosting Vidiot, the Benbow Room was opened once again by Mark Fuller in July 2022

The Benbow Room, the bar associated with the old Benbow Inn since 1950, has thankfully been resuscitated by new owners in conjunction with the new Heartland Cafe restaurant. The direct entrance to the bar is from an alley -- I already like it! But the real pleasure is inside, where the bar takes on the interior of an old Spanish galleon, complete with the (fake) sunlight streaming through the aft windows.

The bar also features a rather bizarre in-floor koi pond -- bizarre because it is small, half covered by a table, and split by a wall.  This must have been quite different in the original configuration -- e.g. it must have been at least partially uncovered based on a story from a friend about how she once accidentally threw up in it.  The fish are now safely shielded from patron vomit (and virtually from sight), and the quirkiness of the current structure seems to fit in -- it's a dive-bar sort of koi pond.

The cocktails are appropriately focused on rum, and strongly on the sweet side.  The beers are biased toward the Wisconsin origins of the owner.  The staff is fun and the atmosphere a bit funky -- while we were there the television was playing a 60s Danish porn film that looked like the model for Austin Powers (and inspiring animated reactions from those at the bar).  Our party reported no sightings of the legendary Benbow Inn ghost.

Admiral Benbow Room, West Seattle
There are some better photos available here and here.

Historical Notes: According to Clark Humphrey's Vanishing Seattle, the "Admiral Benbow" operated here from 1950 to 2002, when owner Neysa Longmire passed away. The current owners apparently had to recover various auctioned off parts of the old bar to restore it.  (Note that while the current operation shares the 4210 address with the Shipwreck Tavern next door, the Admiral Benbow used 4212.)

4210 SW Admiral Way, Suite A, Seattle, WA 98116 - (206) 922-3313 - thrillist - - seattle weekly - westseattle blog

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