Bars where Pete has had a Drink (5,785 bars; 1,754 bars in Seattle) - Click titles below for Lists:

Bars where Pete has had a drink

Saturday, June 20, 2015

#2379 - The Central Club, Kirkland, WA - 12/26/2013

For the first 28 years of the city of Kirkland's existence there were no legal bars -- it started as a dry city from the date of its incorporation in 1905. Perhaps Kirklanders are making up for that these days, as in recent years they tend to dominate the county in DUIs (1, 2). The city was never completely dry, however, as druggists were allowed to sell liquor for medicinal purposes, and for example during a 6-month period in 1918, the afflicted of the city were prescribed 13,444 gallons of whiskey, 3,441 gallons of brandy, 1,744 gallons of gin, 4,140 gallons of wine, and 33,840 quarts of beer. (3)

Central Tavern, Kirkland
Like its neighbors Bellevue and Redmond to south and east respectively, Kirkland is now an affluent area, the shipbuilders and wool workers of its earlier days now replaced largely by tech workers from Microsoft, Google, and other IT companies in the area. It is a long way from its beginnings in the 1880s, where Peter Kirk dreamed of making it the "Pittsburgh of the west." Having gobbled up neighboring communities like Houghton and Hubbard, it is now the 12th largest city in the state of Washington.

Photos from the Central Tavern in the 1940s
Kirklanders wasted little time legalizing beer once federal restrictions were removed, voting to allow beer in April 1933, the month the Beer and Wine Revenue Act first allowed it. It was only three years after that when L.C. Streeter and Joe Reidt established the Central in a location across the street from where it operates now, moving to the current location around 1940. (4)  To this day the bar defiantly remains a cozy neighborhood joint with character and characters, happily resisting the onset of chains, modernization, and bland development.

On this particular visit I much enjoyed a chat with bartender Drea, along with customers Guy and Dan, the latter of whom owned the Central Saloon in Seattle during the 80s.

124 Kirkland Ave, Kirkland, WA 98033 - (425) 827-0808
Est. 1936 at 111 Central, c.1940 at current location - Building constructed: 1924
Previous bars in this location: None known
Web site: - facebook
Reviews: link - yelp

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