Bars where Pete has had a Drink (5,812 bars; 1,754 bars in Seattle) - Click titles below for Lists:

Bars where Pete has had a drink

Sunday, April 27, 2014

#2186 - Constantine's Alibi Pub and Eatery, Wilbur, WA - 5/24/2013

Constantine's Alibi Pub and Eatery (AKA the Alibi Tavern) is now the only bar in town. You can see that times have been tough as you walk down Main Street, past the long-shuttered Boyd's Place, with the American flag logo in the old 1902 VFW Hall, and past the graying teddy bear face on the sign for Sarah's Restaurant and Lounge. The town of Wilbur sites northeast of Goose Creek, with both the town and creek named after "Wild Goose Bill" Condon, whose ranch basically founded the town. The story goes that town officials were planning to name the place "Goose Town," when Nannie Robertson, the wife of the town blacksmith, declared she would refuse to live in a town with such a name, and it was eventually decided to use Wild Goose Bill's middle name.

Wild Goose Bill married and divorced two of the local native American women, including one known as "Lop-eared Julia" due to her ears that had been mutilated by her tribe as punishment for sexual improprieties. Condon lost his life in January 1895, in a gunfight that erupted after he responded to Millie Dunn's refusal of his marriage proposal by shooting her, whereupon a ranch hand there to protect her engaged him in gunfire, with both men dying. Nowadays, Wilbur celebrates Wild Goose Bill Days annual on the third weekend in May, which includes the "Wild Goose Chase" run. (Spokesman Review)

At the Alibi we chatted with bartender Alan, who in addition to being a pretty cool guy is the son of the woman who runs the Willows Motel up the road where we were staying. Alan said there's been a bar in the location since the 1940s, and that the physical back bar dates back to the 1880s.  We were informed by locals that the Alibi is a good place to eat, but on this stop we were only stopping in for a drink before heading back to the motel and then back on the road the next morning. But if we're back this way we will be stopping in.

Wilbur, WA (Wild Goose Bill?)
4 SW Main, Wilbur, WA 99185 - (509) 647-2649                 
Est. 1995
Web site: facebook
Reviews: yelp - (Wild Goose Bill)

#2185 - Electric City Bar & Grill, Electric City, WA - 5/24/2013

In pretty much every way that the Coulee Dam Casino is lifeless and lacking in character, the Electric City Bar and Grill, just four and half miles down Highway 156, is the exact opposite. The Electric City bar is full of people laughing and engaging each other, in a setting that is uniquely defined by the owners and customers. It is vibrantly colored, with a fire pit and large patio on the side, and inside the ceiling is filled with tiles personalized by long-time customers. The food and drink choices look pretty standard, but the vibe and crowd make it one of the better bar stops in the area.

2 Coulee Blvd, Electric City, WA 99123 - (509) 633-2221
Web site: tripod
Reviews: tripadvisor

#2184 - Spillway Lounge, Coulee Dam Casino, Coulee Dam, WA - 5/24/2013

Coulee Dam is a small town (population approx. 1,000) that spans three counties - Douglas, Grant, and Okanogan -- built to house the people constructing the dam. From Wikipedia:
"The Okanogan County portion was known as Mason City, location of the head contractor. The Portions in Douglas and Grant Counties was known as Engineers Town and was government owned. In 1942 with the end of the contract in sight, CBI transferred control of Mason City to the over to the Municipal Division of the Columbia Basin Project. In 1948 Mason City was incorporated into Coulee Dam. Government began the process of selling the town to the public in 1957, finishing in 1959. Coulee Dam was officially incorporated as a town on February 26, 1959. It is the headquarters of Lake Roosevelt National Recreation Area, and home of one of the world's largest man-made piles of sand ..."
Of course this is not to mention the 12 million cubic yards and 46-story tall concrete that backs up the Columbia River for 150 miles.

In contrast to the mammoth dam next door, the Coulee Dam Casino is decidedly non-epic, and it's main attraction seems to be, well, I guess people just like casinos no matter what.

516 Birch St, Coulee Dam, WA 99116 - (509) 633-0766
Web site: - facebook
Reviews: yelp

#2183 - Hartline Recreation Care, Hartline, WA - 5/24/2013

Hartline Recreation Cafe, Hartline, WA
(As you can tell from this picture it must be a biker bar.)
Hartline, WA, just off Highway 2 in the central Washington plains, has population of about 150, and you could miss it entirely were it not for the grain silos along the old railroad line. The Hartline Recreation Cafe seems to serve as a sort of everything community center for the town. It is a donut shop, a diner, and a bar. It hosts live music, karaoke, and community group meetings. The food is pretty good American comfort food items with daily specials. I chatted with Lohman, who owns the place with his wife Staci, and they seem like really nice folks. The locals also recommend swinging by the Hartline School building, a historic rural brick schoolhouse built in 1922, designed by Frederick Westcott, and now on the National Register of Historic Places.

Hartline, WA
Hartline, WA
906 Willard St, Hartline, WA 99135 - (509) 639-0118
Web site: facebook
Reviews: tripadvisor

Saturday, April 26, 2014

#2182 - Last Stand Diner and Saloon, Coulee City, WA - 5/24/2013

Update: The Last Stand closed sometime between mid-1990 and mid-2020.

I don't know anything about the history of the Last Stand Diner and Saloon, but it does have a side entrance for the lounge, which is usually a good sign.  Inside is a pretty typical dive bar, at the rear of a diner that seems to serve pretty good food. The bartender told me there's been a tavern there since "the early 1900s," but there are few vestiges of that sort of age.  The 1907 Polk Guide lists four saloons in town, without addresses, so it could easily be one of these.  I don't know how long it has been the Last Stand -- named after the annual Memorial Day Weekend Rodeo in town -- but it appears to have been "Grandpa Joe's Restaurant and Lounge" and "CJ's Ranch House Restaurant" in the not too distant past.

502 W Main St, Coulee City, WA 99115 - (509) 632-8777
Est. May 12, 2011
Previous bars in this location: Grandpa Joe's Restaurant and Lounge, CJ's Ranch House
Web site: facebook
Reviews: roadtrippersyelp - tripadvisor - panoramio

Saturday, April 19, 2014

#2181 - Couleegan's, Coulee City, WA - 5/24/2013

Update: July 2020 - Couleegan's is closed at this time but a new owner is working on reopening soon (I forgot to ask if it will still be called Couleegan's).

The area where white men first settled down growing wheat and raising cattle is now mostly covered by Banks Lake behind the Grand Coulee Dam. Couleegan's was established here in 2007, but bars appear to have been in this building ror well over 100 years. I have not found any dates from historians or primary sources, but in the bar itself there is an old photo labeled "Madden and Sargent's Saloon, Coulee City 1891," and said by the bartender to be in this building. It could not have been much older than that because Coulee City was platted and built in the Spring/Summer of 1890. It also would also have had a longer interruption of service as a legal bar than some bars of comparable age across the state, as the city apparently voted itself dry in 1908, and remained that way until the end of federal prohibition.

Couleegan's Bar and Grill, Coulee City, WA
Couleegan's has a fairly modest facade, but inside is larger than expected, with a fine antique back bar, and a hodgepodge of motorcycle and rock and roll decorations surrounding large old paintings. I wish I knew more of the history between Madden and Sargent's and Couleegan's. But nowadays it is a restaurant offering typical pub food (pizza, burgers, sandwiches and steaks) a bar offering standard drink choices, and a community gathering place, hosting live music and local get-togethers.

Couleegan's Bar and Grill, Coulee City, WA

Couleegan's Bar and Grill, Coulee City, WA

Couleegan's Bar and Grill, Coulee City, WA
508 W Main St, Coulee City, WA 99115 - (509) 632-8663                 
Est. 2007
Previous bars in this location: Madden and Sargent's Saloon, Branding Iron Saloon
Web site:
Reviews: yelp

#2180 - Don's Restaurant, Soap Lake, WA - 5/24/2013

Don's Restaurant has been here just off the southern edge of the white-rimmed edges of Soap Lake since the early 1940s. It has survived the economic downturn and declining population of the area -- the struggles that inspired plans for erecting a 60 foot high lava lamp downtown -- serving the sort of classic American steakhouse menu that now caters mostly to old people. The lounge off the dining room is old school as well, with a lacquered bar with embedded arrow heads, a conestoga wagon wheel, and fishing taxidermy hanging on a pleated, read leather wall.  Jim Notaras and his family own the place, and used to own the lodge next door, including the members only businessman's club, which is not a strip joint, and which Jim tells me has the only remaining liquor license in the state of that certain type. The Soap Lake Businessman's Club has over 1,500 members, Jim says.  Their big annual salmon feed costs $25 but is free for members, and membership cost $20.

The soapy water and unusually high mineral content of the lake to the north have been believed to have healing powers by various peoples, from the local Tsincayuse tribe, to 19th century European immigrants, to new agers and Russian immigrants today, but people come in much smaller numbers these days. Lord knows I'd be one of the first to plan a trip over the Cascades to visit a small town in the middle fo the state with a giant lava lamp, but the town's been talking about that for a decade now and still hasn't found a way to afford it. But even without a kitschy attraction or much belief in a lake's healing powers, it's a fine drive along the thread of lakes along the old grand coulee on a summer day. So I expect to revisit Don's every now and then, and if I'm lucky enough to make it during the salmon feed, I might just become a member.

14 Canna St N, Soap Lake, WA 98851 - (509) 246-1217              
Web site: facebook
Reviews: yelp - urbanspoon

#2179 - Cryptatropa, Olympia, WA - 5/19/2013

Cryptatropa is a chill and pleasantly dark goth club at the end of Olympia's 4th Avenue run of bars. The high booths (said to be made from a 500-year-old fir) and separate rooms, including the cramped back room for bands, and the lack of a dance floor, all add to a relatively private and clubby feel. At the very attractive bar, they have a collection of rare liquors, including, of course, several absinth choices.

421 4th Ave E, Olympia, WA 98501 - (360) 754-3867
Est. Oct 1, 2010
Previous bars in this location: Manium
Web site: facebook
Reviews: northwestmilitary - tnt - yelp - tripadvisor

Thursday, April 17, 2014

#2178 - Pe Ell Pub, Pe Ell, WA - 5/19/2013

"Welcome to Pe Ell," I am greeted with as I enter the Pe Ell Pub, "You won't like it and you'll never come back."

Actually, the very first words this woman greeted me with as I stepped in the door were "We're closed." It turned out this was a joke, and I can't remember the woman's name, partly because I just started calling her "Chamber of Commerce Lady" after her first few snarky comments about the town.

Actually I *do* like Pe Ell. I like the smell of log fires wafting through the air as you arrive, I like the tiny town, and I like this little bar with the sign that says simply "The Pub." Chamber of Commerce Lady tells me that the building used to be the morgue and that underneath there are tunnels used during prohibition, but I've heard local lore about tunnels in so many bars around the state and with so little remaining evidence, I take this part with a grain of salt. I would really like to know how old the Pe Ell Pub is, as it has clearly been around for some time. (A 1934 city guide lists only "Pastime Billiards," with no address, under bars in Pe Ell.) I'd also like to know how Pe Ell got its name -- and so would the town, apparently, as there are competing theories.

Today the pub is a classic, small town dive, with Taco Tuesdays, Bingo Nights, Ladies Nights, Man Nights, karaoke, and a lively little crowd rooting for the Seahawks like pretty much every bar across the state. Actually, I think I'll come back sometime.

205 N Main St, Pe Ell, Washington 98572 - (360) 291-2707
Web site: facebook

#2177 - Duffy's Irish Pub, Grays River, WA - 5/19/2013

Of course it feels a bit absurd to refer to a bar as "magical," but I'll be damned if I can think of a better word for the experience of stumbling upon Duffy's Irish Pub.  It seems to pop out of nowhere as you round a bend in Highway 4, out of the forested surroundings and past a few lonely farm houses where Grays River meanders in a loop, west of Naselle and east of Skamokawa.  I'm sure I'm not the only one who, driving by for the first time -- bar project or not -- rounded this bend and gasped something along the lines of "WHAT ... is THAT?!?"

And it only becomes more remarkable when you step inside. Here in the middle of nowhere is a ;pub with more nooks and crannies crammed full of more curious stuff than any Irish bar and half the museums in Portland or Seattle. It feels less like a pub than the lifetime antique collection of some distinctively peculiar collector. And adding to the uncanny feeling, I was the only person in the sizable place, until bartender Lorraine eventually came around the corner.

Lorraine explained that the place is owned by Al Salazar, who used to own the The Pine Street Theater. "at one time, Portland's largest rock and roll club, featuring two or three  national musical acts each weekend." A stage at the east end of the building is papered with flyers for the bands that played the Pine Street. Lorraine told me that Al used to have regular live bands here, but it was just too hard to draw a crowd with so few people close by and not even any motels very near. From the stage, you walk pass a couple rooms that feel like a crazy grandmother's house, walls and shelves full of various knickknacks, antiques, and oddities. Turn left and walk along the bar past the wood-burning stove, through another tiny room and you reach the patio looking out on the river. Unfortunately I had recently eaten, but Duffy's offers various American comfort foods along with some Irish classics, along with some fairly standard choices in beers and spirits.

After finishing a quick Hendricks and Tonic and a much longer tour marveling at the place, I headed back to my car and was greeted by Jeremy, the neighbor from across the street. Jeremy has his own crazy hodgepodge of buildings and collectibles, and told me he painted the sign for Duffy's. Jeremy sells antiques from the side of the road in front of his place, and would surely be the town character if not for Al Salazar. Finally, I get into my car and continue on my way, with Duffy's and the boat that once housed "Covered Bridge Fish'n'Chips" quickly disappearing behind a bend. And again I think, as I return to the long stretches of tree-lined road only occasionally interrupted by a barn or humble house, I can't be the only one who has wondered "Did I really just see what I just saw?"

3779 State Rt 4 West, Grays River, WA - (360) 465-2898
Est. April 27, 2001
Previous bars in this location: None
Web site:
Reviews: tripadvisoryelp - urbanspoon 

Monday, April 14, 2014

#2176 - Oasis Tavern, Skamokawa, WA - 5/19/2013

Pete (mandolin), ?, and Don (dulcimer) at the
Oasis Tavern, Skamokawa, Washington
Update: The Oasis Tavern closed and has been replaced by the Roadkill Saloon.

For most people, the drive from Portland to Seattle is a 3 to 4 hour trip, but I tend to wander and it usually takes me something more like 13 hours. That doesn't mean I don't often wish I had more time, as I definitely did when I dropped into the Oasis Tavern in Skamokawa. The Oasis had been closed for four years, after previous owner Wanda Rudy passed away. But it was very substantially remodeled and reopened by Rick and Eileen Tietje in September of 2012. They used wood paneling recovered from a local friend's collapsed 1897 barn, and from an abandoned house in a ditch. They built an all new bar and created lamps from mason mars and old pulleys.

You're not likely to stumble upon the Oasis by accident -- it's hidden off Highway 4 a piece, just above where Brooks Slough meets the Columbia River, as it starts to widen in the last 30 miles to the Pacific. But if you find it on a day like today, a lazy Sunday with sunbeams pouring through the windows and folks songs strumming out from some of the locals, you feel like spending the entire day there. It's just about as comfortable and pleasant as a bar can be.

It's hard to say how old the Oasis is -- I haven't found any real mentions of it from before Red Almer bought the place in 1981. The owners heard it was the second oldest bar in the state, but such oral histories usually turn out to be inaccurate. But since they also heard that it opened right after prohibition and was always called the "Oasis," I'm going to guess it goes back to sometime in 1933, maybe even a bit before "prohibition" ended in December, and closer to April 7 when the Beer and Wine Revenue Act took effect. In any case, if you have the time, the drive up Highway 4 along the northern side of the Columbia is a lovely diversion, and it's well worth a turn up East Valley Road to have a pint at the Oasis.

8 Fairgrounds Rd, Skamokawa, WA 98612 - (360) 795-8672                
Est. 1933?
Previous bars in this location: None known
Web site: oasismexicanbarandgrill.comfacebook
Reviews: tdn - yelp - tripadvisor