The community of Gorst, sitting in the middle of the Kitsap peninsula where the highway forks around Sinclair inlet, is not a major destination for visitors. But just off the current highway, and easy to miss, is a nifty little tavern with character and history -- and a lot of fine northwest beers. The Wig Wam was built in 1933, right in time for then end of prohibition, and burned down in 1961. A new concrete version was constructed in 1952. It was closed down for several years recently, and only opened again in 2012 because locals kept dropping by asking the new owners about it. It now features a very nice beer selection and good barbecue. A bit more historical detail from the Kitsap Sun:
'The tavern was operated by Cliff Whitney and later a second generation, the Chamberlain family. The building burned in 1951 and was resurrected in concrete in 1952.... Lila Goakey ran the Wig Wam with husband Loren from 1973 through 1996.... The Goakeys sold out before Loren's death in 2001. Buying the tavern was a woman who changed the name and got rid of the iconic tepee on the sign. The place did not thrive, and closed in late 2009. There was a foreclosure. The Wig Wam sat empty and disheveled.'
'Business partners Erik Sweet and George Wood bought the 1.44-acre property late in 2011 with no intention of operating a tavern. They wanted to start a brewery for George's craft beers and may still do so out back where the cabins used to be. As they started cleaning it up, people kept stopping by and saying, "Are you going to open up the old Wig Wam?" said Mike Sweet, Erik's dad, who moved up from Texas to manage the tavern.'
'The new sign, modeled after the old yellow and red one, bears a tepee like those used by Plains Indians, not a wigwam, the traditional housing of tribes from the Great Lakes eastward. The Great Plains motif is picked up on new wood-carved restroom signs, with a chief in feather war bonnet. There's a "liars corner" — a vestige of the old Wig Wam — and a quilters' corner. Yes, the Wig Wam has a nicely appointed area, where ladies ply their craft. Rumor has it the old Wig Wam had ladies who plied another craft in the second story, now gone. "That was something everyone laughed about," Goakey said, dismissing the colorful story as hearsay.'
Est. 1933 - Building constructed: 1952
Previous bars in this location: None
Web site: pubwigwam.com - facebook - blog
Articles: kitsapsun - portorchardindependent - yelp - taphunter