There appears to have been a bar in this location since 1947, and named with some variation of "The Bit" since 1963. It is said to have originally been John's Offshore Tavern, although the listings I have found in the 1948 and 1960 city guides list it simply as John's Tavern. For at least the last 15 years or so it has had a substantial music focus. It was a blues club under owner Drew Greer in the early to mid 2000s. By the time it came to my attention new ownership was playing a mixture of rockabilly and punk, but this version, owned by Ed Konek, closed down in Nov. 2009. It was acquired shortly thereafter by a woman who had been a bartender at the Funhouse, and resumed business as the "2 Bit Saloon" in May 2010, with a focus on hardcore and punk bands.
I confess to be confused about both the country tax records and my own notes about the age of the building, so I think for a history I shall simply go with this version, which the Gilman Park blog recovered from the web site for the previous Bit Tavern:
|Bit Tavern token from tokencatalog.com|
"Built in 1907, the 2 Bit Saloon building was originally a General Mercantile or store. In 1947 it became a bar, called John’s Offshore Tavern. The bar changed ownership and name in 1963, becoming The Bit Shagatha, which is apparently British slang for a whorehouse. And news to me. Bit shagatha? Never heard of it. And neither, apparently, has Google. Perhaps it was a short-lived early 1960s thing or maybe the “two hippies” who renamed the bar were yanking somebody’s chain.
Either way, apparently the liquor board “caught on” in 1966 and the owners were forced to change the name from The Bit Shagatha to The Bit Tavern. In 1999, a new owner gained a full liquor license and changed the name to The Bit Saloon. According to the Ballard News Tribune, the new owners changed the name to The 2 Bit Saloon when they reopened last year “to signify new ownership and because ‘2 Bit’ is a better known phrase.” Sounds good to me and definitely better than Bit Shagatha."
Est. 2010 - Closed Sep 20, 2014 - Building constructed: 1907
Previous bars in this location: John's Tavern, The Bit Shagatha, The Bit Tavern
Web site: the2bitsaloon.com - facebook
Reviews: myballard - ballardnewstribune - gilmanpark - gilmanpark - eater - link - link