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Wednesday, June 18, 2014

#2213 - Van's 1885 Bar and Grill, Naches, WA - 7/3/2013

Naches, Washington is a central Washington town of about 800 people. It is named for the nearby Naches River, which in turn is said to be named for the native words for "turbulent water," formed by the confluence of the Little Naches and Bumping River flowing down the eastern slopes of the Cascades and eventually into the Yakima. Van's 1885 Bar and Grill was in the Van Ness family since 1944, and called "Van's Tavern" for most if not all of that time. I chatted with the current owner, Elliot Baker, and when I asked him how long the place had been his, without pause he told me "Seven years and three days."


Elliot had worked in sales for Montgomery Ward and worked in real estate. In addition to the desire to have his own place, he was tempted by the grand, antique, oak Brunswick bar, which he believes was constructed in 1885 (hence the bar name).  The bar is said to have been made for Schlitz, which supplied a Schlitz-only bar formerly across the street, below the brothel. The bar is believed to have been sawed in half and this half put in its current location sometime in the 1940s. (While the bar has a general similarity to some antique bars I have seen across the state, including at Loggers in Sultan and Merchants in Seattle, it is not exactly like any others I have found in Washington.)  The 1934 and 1935 Yakima Polk Guides list "The Tavern" and "The Past Time" tavern in Naches, but unfortunately do not include addresses, and I have no way to date the bar beyond the information Elliot has received re. the Van Ness family.

The bar might be seen as a neighborhood dive, but it is considerably larger than it appears from outside, and with the current food options, cleaning, and upgrading by Elliot it feels almost as much like a family restaurant -- at least on an afternoon like the one I visited.  Typical beers, cocktails, and pub food are available.

208 Naches Ave, Naches, WA 98937 - (509) 653-2257
Est. 1944? - Building constructed: 1921
Previous bars in this location: Van's Tavern
Video: yakimavalleyrisktakers

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