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Tuesday, October 18, 2011

#1546 #S914 - The Chieftain, Seattle - 8/26/2011

The Chieftain is a comfortable, Irish bar from the people behind Finn MacCool's and McGilvra's. The name is an homage to Irish history, the Irish folk group, and the old mascot of Seattle University, all at the same time.  It provides a a more blue-collar and student-friendly bar than the fine cocktail selling neighbors Canon and Ba Bar, and provides a bit of balance to what became, in the second half of 2011, a great little stretch of bars along 12th Ave.

But the reason I was most eager to visit the bar is not so evident -- it is one of the more historic bar locations in Seattle, having once hosted the extravagant Doc Hamilton's Barbecue Pit, "the most famous of the prohibition hangouts, Seattle's equivalent of the Cotton Club."  Here is a bit of description from Paul DeBarros's Jackson Street After Hours:

"Doc opened his first speakeasy at 1017 1/2 E. Union, and later operated The Ranch, on highway 99 just north of the King County line.  The Pit was elegant.  Limousines lined the curb out front, while Seattle's social elect, including the mayor, ducked in and out of the club.  Downstairs was the action -- roulette and an all-night dice game.  Should there be a raid, the Barbecue Pit was prepared.  A complete alarm system of bells, bars, and pulleys, snaked through the building.  A button convenient to the cashier at the lunch counter was wired to a buzzer at the triple-barred doors of the cabaret basement."


908 12th Ave, Seattle, WA 98122 - (206) 324-4100
Est. Aug 19, 2011 - Building constructed: 1926
Other bars at this location: Doc Hamilton's, The 908 Club, Habibi
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