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Sunday, September 04, 2011

#1446 - The Bluebird Inn, Bickleton, WA - 5/21/2011

Update: The Bluebird Inn appears to be not quite the oldest bar in the state.  See Oak Harbor Tavern.


The Bluebird Inn is in downtown Bickleton, Washington -- population 90 -- and it is the oldest bar in Washington state, constructed and starting business as a saloon in 1882, seven years before Washington became a state.  (The Brick, in Roslyn, is the oldest bar running under the same name.)   Previous names have included The Pool Hall, The Club, The Bickleton Tavern, and The Bluebird Tavern.  Bickleton is known as "the bluebird capitol of the world" for its population of Mountain Bluebirds and Western Bluebirds, and the roads and hills are now peppered with thousands of birdhouses put up by the locals.  (Note that the clock in the photo runs backwards.)

The Bickleton bar itself is decorated with local brands, after the previous owners held a branding party.    Just in front of it and still in use is an 1884 Brunswick pool table that has been in the tavern since 1902, and is coveted by Brunswick for their museum.  Behind the bar is a list of seven people who have been 86'd.  (If these are all locals, they comprise close to 10% of the population of town.)  There was also a list of "Honorary" 86'd -- it was never completely clear what these people did.  The Bluebird is currently owned by mother and daughter Nelda and Candice Flores and Lisa Still.  (No women were allowed into the tavern until the 1960s.)


The food is pretty standard diner fare and drinks are pretty standard as well.  But one doesn't drive all the way to Bickleton for unique drinks, but rather for the history: From bickleton.org:  "This is the only building left in town that has not been burned by the major fires that have ravaged the town since it’s beginning. The oiled wooden floor is original and in good shape considering the many feet that have walked on it. Some of the footprints are now being made by forth generation customers."

"Two hay rake wagon wheels hang from the ceiling with fruit jar light fixtures. A picture of Bickleton’s founder, Charles N. Bickle and his wife Fanny E. (Bacon) Bickle, share a wall with board paintings and deer antlers put up by local hunters. Two card tables used for pinochle and poker have a half circle cut into them for a previous owner so he could reach the cards. His belly was quite large."


121 E Market St, Bickleton, WA 99322 - (509) 896-2273
Est. 1882 - Building constructed: 1882
facebook - bickleton.org - theviewfromrighthere - yelp

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