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Friday, June 21, 2013

#2035 - Bethel Saloon, Port Orchard, WA - 2/10/2013

The Bethel Saloon appears to be one of the older bars in the state, said to have become a tavern shortly after prohibition ended in 1933. Known previously as "Big Bottom" and "Black Bottom," the Bethel district of Port Orchard sits about a mile from Sinclair Inlet on the Kitsap Peninsula, just across Elliot Bay and Bainbridge Island from Seattle. The building definitely has a great old feel, with uneven wood floors and an old wood burning stove, and appears to date back to the early 1900s. By approximately 1928 it was one of the nation's first official Texaco stations, in the first nationwide chain of gasoline service stations. It is said to have hosted a dry cleaners, pottery shop, general store and cafe before converting entirely into a bar many years ago. I talk to regulars Patty and Dan, and Dan remembers bringing pop bottles in his wagon to cash in at the little store that once occupied the side that currently features the physical bar.

Now the saloon positions itself as the only biker bar in the area, and seems to also host an interesting set of regulars. One fellow, dressed in a vest and fedora with his white beard tied into two neat little sections with two gold beads beneath his chin, seemed to be winning out among some fairly skillful pool players. Rev. Horton Heat was playing on the jukebox, and the regulars and bartenders Jeannie and Jen were all quite friendly. It's well worth a visit if you are ever in the area.


3840 Bethel Rd SE, Port Orchard, Washington 98366 - (360) 876-6621
Est. 1933 - Building constructed:  early 1900s
Web site: bethel-saloon.com - facebook - blog

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