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Bars where Pete has had a drink

Sunday, April 19, 2015

#2369 - Mt. Si Tavern, North Bend, WA - 12/8/2013

Mt. Si Tavern, North Bend, WA
North Bend, about 35 miles east of Seattle and known outside of these parts most as the setting for Twin Peaks and the damn fine cup of coffee at the Double R Diner (Twede's Cafe), has been feeding humans for thousands of years. In the years before Europeans came pouring in during the middle 19th century, the Snoqualmie tribes came to the meadow here from their villages downstream on what we now call the Snoqualmie river to pick berries and wild onions, occasionally setting the prairie on fire to push back the encroaching forest.

Mt. Si Pub, North Bend, WA
The first permanent white settlers in the area started when farmer Jeremiah Borst moved from New York into an abandoned US fort to farm the area and maintain the wagon road bringing settlers over the Cascades to Seattle. In the early 1860s his niece followed with her husband Joseph Fares, the first white settlers in the actual North Bend area, as did Josiah Merritt, who everyone called "Uncle Si" and soon gave his name to "Uncle Si's Mountain," or just "Mount Si." In 1889 the first railroad came through, and then the Milwaukee line in 1909, followed by a growing lumber industry. A half a century later, after a lively debate, the city council reversed its position on having the new Interstate 90 cut through the middle of town and instead had it skirt south, though of course North Bend subsequently expanded around it.

Mt. Si Pub, North Bend, WA
If all this seem entirely distant and inconsequential to the Skechers Outlet, the Chang Thai Cuisine, the Chaplin's Chevrolet and the modern homes and strip malls that now comprise the bedroom community of North Bend, such is not the case for the Mount Si Pub, on the eastern outskirts of town. Just visible from the highway, the tavern's log and pitch interior feels like your grandpa's log cabin, much further from the developed areas than it really is, with old cowboys warming their backsides before a roaring fire. The Facebook page for the bar places its start date at 1923, in the middle of prohibition, and the bar itself features old photographs of what appears to be the current building before various modifications, with labels of "1935" and "1938." The building is flat-roofed and smaller in the first photo, and has a no-longer present porch in the second, but a few apparent consistencies in the structure and landmarks confirm the underlying continuity with the current structure, and one assumes it was likely a (legal) bar sometime shortly after the Beer and Wine Revenue Act in April of 1933.

Mt. Si Tavern, North Bend, WA (photo in bar)
Nowadays, the bar hosts a nice mixture of locals and skiers, hikers, hunters and other sportsmen headed to the snowy Cascades, or the old Snoqualmie fishing and hunting grounds roughly tracing centuries old foot trails. There is free soup during Seahawks games, and good natured banter with the server Ange and the various patrons. The fire and cozy, graffiti-covered wood interior make one pine for snow, though the extensive beer garden allows for a fine game of horse shoe throwing on warmer days, sometimes with live music on the patio. The grub and booze are pretty much what you'd expect from a joint in the mountains that warms the bellies of snowmobilers and hikers, and it's well worth the trip from Seattle just to grab a pint and a bite in a casual, rustic setting.

45530 SE North Bend Way, North Bend, WA 98045 - (425) 831-6155
Est. 1935? - Building constructed: 1923?
Previous bars in this location: None known
Web site: facebook
Reviews: seattleweekly - yelp

1 comment:

Unknown said...

Stopped in Thursday after passing it for 20 plus yrs. Great bartender and really nice locals. Great vibe for a old bar. Will definitely stop by next trip to Seattle