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Bars where Pete has had a drink

Monday, October 12, 2015

#2400 - Doc's Pilchuck Tavern, Machias - 1/20/2014

Update: The closing of Doc's Pilchuck Tavern has been scheduled for Jan 1, 2019.

About half way between Granite Falls and Snohomish, on the banks of the Pilchuck River, is a old joint that feels like pretty much the perfect rural dive bar. It's not clear to me how long Doc's Pilchuck Tavern -- AKA the "Pilchuck Yacht Club" - has been here; One source says it was founded in 1956, the owner's brother said their parents started it shortly after prohibition, and yet another source  says that the current building was constructed in 1961. But for at least half century it has been run by Jimmy "Doc" Young, the "Mayor of Machias," drummer in the Snohomish Sauerkraut Band, and overseer of the annual Polar Bear Plunge into the icy Pilchuck River each New Years day.

Jimmy "Doc" Young, Doc's Pilchuck Tavern
The river runs below the back patio at Doc's, and when there isn't a crowd of crazy, half-naked people jumping into it, you can see spawning humpies in the water below and bald eagles in the trees above. Inside there is an ample supply of character and characters, and we chatted with local Dave below a ridiculously bad taxidermied cougar, old photos and curious bric-a-brac accrued over many years. Toward the end of our visit we met Doc himself, who at 78 was super friendly whilst retaining a cagey sense of humor. We had no clue then, as he agreed to let me take his photo in the doorway and we told him how we looked forward to coming back to sit on the patio on a sunny summer day, that Jimmy would pass away just six months later. From everything I can tell, he left behind a life well lived, a large number of people who will miss him dearly, and a swell little bar now run by his widow and son.

Doc's Pilchuck Tavern, Machias, WA
"It is a very sad day today. Earlier this AM, after some long fought heart issues, Owner and Head Commodore of Doc's Pilchuck Tavern, Jimmy Young, passed away at the age of 79. He will be forever remembered as a sweet, generous and kind man. Sail on Skipper, Sail on........
April 13, 1935 - June 21, 2014."

Doc's Pilchuck Tavern, Machias, WA
Quoted on Facebook from Jim's widow Audrey: 'The Original club was in the building just North of the current location. It was called Young's Place and was opened in the 1920's until the current building was built in 1956. As to "DOC" It is not exactly known, but Jim Young assumed the title from his father the original owner. Jim was a Hospital Corpsman in the U.S. Navy for a time and his father served in the Navy as well. Quit often people would call Hospital Corpsman "DOC's" for short.'

A few other Facebook comments from locals:

""Doc & Ann Young, their son Jim operated it for years. I remember the original building , a general store attached to a tavern. My dad would go there on Friday nights to watch the fights on TV. On the other side of the road, Doc had a blueberry farm, a worm farm ( he would pay $1 for a Planters Peanut can full of good red earthworms. He raised geese and ducks. He had a fireworks stand and they lived in a house very close to the road.." -- George Bourcier

"In the 40's the tavern looked quite different and they sold gas & night crawlers/worms for fishing too." -- Jonell Hagglund-Lee

"Oh, be sure to visit with Lily, the bars pet Chicken...yes, pet Chicken." -- Jimmy B (Yelp)
1429 S Machias Rd, Snohomish, WA 98290 - (425) 397-8912
Building constructed 1957
Articles ranked: heraldnet - seattleweekly - juicebrewsandlibations - yelp

1 comment:

Lake Stevens Historical Museum said...

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