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Bars where Pete has had a drink

Sunday, September 02, 2012

#1760 - Mestizo Sedro-Woolley, WA - 4/21/2012

Raul and Norma Guitron's Mestizo Mexican Family Restaurant not only replaces a previous Mexican restaurant in this location, but also incorporates a historic Sedro-Woolley bar space. "This is most likely the oldest building in Skagit County that has always been dedicated to serving liquor." (SRJ) The current structure was built in 1910, but there has been a bar at this location since the early 1890s. This was eventually named The Klondike, and "became the central drinking place for the wild and woolly town around it and the loggers who came down from upriver camps on the weekends, with money burning in their pockets and ready to dance with the girls who lived at the hotel." (Ibid)

The space was named the Wilson Saloon when the current structure was built in 1910, part of the greater Wixson Hotel. During prohibition it was converted to a pool hall (at least ostensibly) and renamed the Wixson Club (listed at 615 Metcalf). In the 70s and 80s it was renamed the Red Dog, and in the 1990s became The Schooner, which went out of business in 2009. Mestizo is a large place offering fairly standard American Mexican food (think Azteca). They have preserved the grand, 100-year-old, hand-carved back bar, where they now serve massive magaritas. I am not certain of this, but the other portion of the building that now comprises Mestizo may have once been the old Whoopey Noodle Chinese noodle house, rumored to have housed prostitutes and bootleggers catering to the local miners, lumbermen, and steelworkers.

Sedro-Woolley is now a struggling small town, but maintains a good number of bars, supported by people who live in the area but usually commute to elsewhere to work, as well as to buy goods and groceries. Local jobs declined dramatically in the 1970s with the closure of the the sawmills, Skagit Steel, and "the Bughouse" -- Northern State Hospital for the Insane. The towns of Sedro and Woolley were merged and incorporated in 1898, and the area has a rich history of saloons dating back well into the 19th century. The wives of Sedro had persuaded founder Mortimer Cook to change the name from the original "Bug," inspired by the quantity of mosquitoes.  The company town of Woolley had formed around Phillip Woolley's sawmill. Nowadays, the town dresses itself up for outsiders, with various murals and dozens of chainsaw carvings from the big Loggerodeo annual 4th of July celebration. At least for fans of old bars, it remains a very attractive little town.

617 Metcalf Street, Sedro-Woolley, WA 98284 - (360) 855-1300
Est. 2009 - Building constructed: 1910
Previous bars in this location: The Klondike Saloon (previous building), The Wilson Saloon  (1910-?), The Wixson Club Tavern (1960s), Red Dog Tavern (1970s-1980s), The Schooner (1990s-2009)
Skagit River Jounal

1 comment:

Anonymous said...

The bar is nothing special, and exists for the restaurant. The best thing is that the TVs are always tuned to Mexican soccer. But the food is awesome. It looks like a basic Mexican restaurant, but if you get off the combo plates and try the specialties, it's surprisingly good food.