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Bars where Pete has had a Drink (3,240 bars; 1,489 bars in Seattle):

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Sunday, January 25, 2015

#2321 - Red Top Tavern, Darrington, WA - 10/14/2013

The Red Top, one of the few true taverns (beer and wine only) left in the state, has been here in the old logging town of Darrington and in the shadow of White Horse Mountain since shortly after prohibition. Darrington lies on a gravel plain between the North Fork of the Stillaguamish and the Sauk River, about 25 miles from the Washington coast, and about halfway between Washington highways 2 and 20, the upper and lower boundaries of the scenic Cascade Loop. The first known residents were the Sauk-Suiattle tribe, with Europeans arriving in the 1890s. The latter knew the area as "The Burn," "Sauk Portage," and "Starve-out," before a card flip and a post office misspelling settled the matter in 1895.

A thriving mining and logging community by the first decade of the 20th century, Darrington remained unincorporated and thus was ineligible to vote to remain wet after Snohomish County was voted dry in 1910, and there would be no more legal bars until then end of federal prohibition. Tax records show that the current Red Top building dates back to 1951, but city guides list a Red Top Beer Parlor in town since at least 1935. The current cinder block building that houses the tavern is attached to a semi-circle log cabin, which used to be the Timber Bull Restaurant and is now a rarely used event space.


Inside the Red Top is a horseshoe shaped bar, and walls personalized by locals and visitors. There is a stream of outsiders who drop by, most on their way to hiking, rafting, camping, fishing and the other recreational activities that are now as large a part of the local economy as logging. But it is still predominantly a local joint, with tributes to its logging history and rural character in various photos and notes. Once in a while it becomes even more, as when one of the long time regulars passes away, or especially as locals gathered to mourn and support each other after friends and family were lost in the Oso landslide just 12 miles up the road. In good times and bad, it's a dandy old place to have a cold one.




1020 Darrington St,  Darrington, WA 98241 - (360) 436-1590
Est. 1951, 1935 or earlier in another location - Building constructed: 1951
Previous bars in this location: None
Web site: facebook
Reviews: heraldnet - yelp
Darrington: historylink

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