Bars where Pete has had a Drink (5,812 bars; 1,754 bars in Seattle) - Click titles below for Lists:

Bars where Pete has had a drink

Wednesday, December 09, 2020

#3832 - Oxbow Restaurant and Tavern, Prairie City, OR - 7/27/2019

Oxbow Saloon, Prairie City, OR

A glance at these photos will tell you what brought me to Prairie City in central Oregon, first settled by Europeans in 1862, when a group of Confederate sympathizers discovered gold nearby, and originally named "Dixie." There in the shadow of Strawberry Mountain, the Oxbow lies inside an old stone building, said to be constructed in 1902, in the middle of a block of old west style buildings on Front street. Referred to both as the Oxbow Tavern and the Oxbow Saloon, the owners appear to have embraced the "OXBOW Dinner House and Pizza Company." (I tend tend to use the "Saloon" name, as it is the old saloon elements that I cherish.)

I wish I could tell you the history of this building (is the stone steer head above the entry a clue?), how long there has been a bar here, and how long it has been known as the Oxbow, but alas I have discovered very little here. But in any case the current incarnation looks both antique and splendid, with taxidermy heads lining the stone walls and one of the most beautiful back bars you will ever see. The menus in the restaurant contain some info on the bar:

Beautiful Brunswick "Los Angeles" model bar
in Oxbow Saloon, Prairie City, Oregon

"The Rosewood and Mahogany "Twin Virgin" back bar is in its original condition. The Ladies were hand carved in Milan, Italy in 1879. They were transported by sailing ship across the Atlantic ocean and up the Mississippi River to St. Louis, Missouri where the W.L. Lewis Company completed the cabinetry for this magnificent back bar. The bar was again loaded onto a sailing ship, traveling around South America's Cape Horn on a 21,000 mile, 9 month journey through treacherous seas to the mouth of the Columbia river. After being transferred onto a sternwheeler, the bar was ferried up to [the] city of The Dalles. It then traveled by train to Baker City. Pulled by horse drawn wagons the bar made it to its final destination, the Heinenkraft Saloon in Prairie City, where the Ladies welcome you now..."

There is no source listed for this history, but it's great to have the story available to patrons. I'd only add that the bar is pretty much identical to the "Los Angeles" model in the Brunswick-Balke-Collender catalog -- and could have had a fairly similar history were it produced by Brunswick. (The catalog describes it as "Golden Oak and Birch, Mahogany Color.") This is probably my favorite Brunswick model, and this is the only one I've actually seen in person.

Today the Oxford serves wide range of contemporary pub food and weekly specials, including pizzas, burgers, wings, taco salad, fish tacos, ribeye steak and a fine assortment of homemade pies. It features a full bar with fair standard choices in spirits and a good selection of draft beers. If you like history, beautiful woodwork, old buildings with unique character, or you're just in Grant County and could use a bite or drink, I recommend a visit.

The "Los Angeles" model from a 
Brunswick-Balke-Collender catalog

Established date: Unknown - Building constructed: 1902 
Previous bars in this location: Unknown
Web site: facebook  
Articles: 1859oregonmagazinebluemountaineagle - yelp - tripadvisor - traveloregon - roadtrippers  

Friday, December 04, 2020

#3184 #S1464 - Bar House, Seattle - 2/26/2017

Bar House, Seattle, WA
Some consider Seattle's Fremont neighborhood ruined by gentrification, and of course it is has seen it's share of small places with character replaced by large condo buildings without. But I don't think there have really ever been a much more quintessentially Fremont funky bar than Ben Verellen's "Bar House." For starters, rather than a space at the base of large concrete and steel development, with reclaimed wood and edison bulbs attempting desperately to dig some sense of humanity out of the bleak surroundings, Bar House is located in a 120-year-old bungalow behind a white picket fence, with what seems like they could be all the original interior walls and rooms intact. The space happens to above the shop where Verellen has been crafting handmade, boutique tube guitar and bass amplifiers, when he is not playing guitar for his metal band Helms Alee.

Verellen told the Seattle Weekly that "I’m kind of a Disneyland fanatic," and this becomes abundantly clear as one walks from room to room of the bar. My clumsy photos will by no means do justice to these, but as you approach the bar you first pass a darkened, forest room, which includes a small, eletronic campfire surrounded by ersatz trees, complete with fog and cricket sounds. Continuing to the back room you find you have stumbled into a 70s blacklight post version of the cosmos. But my favorite is the bathroom, where you find find yourself in the appropriately tight quarters of the head in a submarine, complete with sonar pings, bubble sounds, and a porthole to the depths beyond. At any moment you may see a flash of lightning, hear a crack of thunder, and suddenly have the bar thrust into dark.

Outside of special events, the food offerings don't usually extend beyond hot dogs and nachos, and the cocktails hew to dive bar classics, with a mix of craft brews and classic, crappy American beers. You might come for the diverting decor, but if you stay it will be for the chill people and casual, dive bar vibe. In any case, Fremont is manifestly not dead.

Est. 2017 - Building constructed: 1900 or earlier
Previous bars in this location: None known
Web site: facebook
Reviews: seattleweeklyseattlemet - yelp - zagat - untappd - cityseeker 

Thursday, December 03, 2020

#2713 #S1316 - The Pharmacy, Seattle - 3/5/2015

Pharmacy, Seattle, WA
The speakeasy-themed "Pharmacy" is a little less coy now -- there's actually a sign outside the entrance, and you can walk in without locating the doorbell and waiting for the bartender to allow you in. Once inside you amble down down a narrow set of stairs to a bricked basement, glowing with sleek, mid-century decor. The cocktail menu offers a nice selection of craft cocktails including, of course, a Painkiller.

Est. July 2014 - Building constructed: 1900 or earlier
Previous bars in this location: Deep Down Lounge
Web site: - facebook
Articles: seattlemet - yelp - theinfatuation - - eater - 

#3705 - Ark Craft Brewery, Seoul, South Korea - 2/9/2019

Ark Brewery, Seoul, South Korea

In February 2019, Trista and I were making our way back in our last leg around the globe in a half-work/half-vacation trip to London, Gurgaon and back, and we had a long layover in the Incheon Airport, near Seoul. Long layovers are common in Incheon, and thus they have a nifty selection of tours, available without a Visa, and essentially free (basically you just pay the cost of your meal in a local restaurant). It was thanks to this, and a local craft beer movement that had been booming for five years, that I was able to make my one visit to a bar in South Korea.

Gyeongbokgung Palace, Seoul, South Korea

We chose the tour of Gyeongbokgung Palace (originally constructed in 1395, and restored in the 19th century after being burnt down in a 1592 Japanese invasion) and the Insa-dong art district ("Small alleyways form labyrinths in between the main streets. The labyrinths are filled with galleries, antique shops, traditional craft shops and traditional teahouses and restaurants"). After our charming tour guide, Jennie, set us free to stroll the grounds and palaces of Gyeongbokgung in the piercing Febuary cold, and watching their dramatic changing-of-the-guard ceremony, we loaded back onto the bus and headed for Insa-Dong. We wound through an alley of shops and ducked below the low ceilings of a local restaurant, Kimchi Village, for a nice lunch, then were again set free for just enough time for a bit of wandering and locating Ark Craft Brewery, up the stairs over some other shops, with just enough time for one relaxing beer.

Winding down an Insa-dong alley
toward our lunch location

As I would learn later, until a few years ago, South Korean beer had a reputation for bland, low quality lagers. At one point, 'The Economist caused an uproar in South Korea when it declared in 2012 that "brewing remains just about the only useful activity at which North Korea beats the South." The article and the success of North Korean microbreweries prompted the South Korean beer industry to reform, including changing the alcohol law to allow microbrewing, in 2014.' (Wikipedia)  Beer had first appeared in Korea with Japanese immigrants in the wake of the 1876 Japan-Korea Treaty of Amity and Japanese dominance for three quarters of century. When Korea was liberated in WWII, the two Japanese breweries were taken over by the U.S. and then the locals, but like the U.S. in the wake of the war, tended to provide only bland, corporate brews.

It wasn't until 1984 that imported beer was legalized, and not until 2002, in advance of World Cup and Busan Asia Games, that brewpubs were legalized. Finally, in April 2014, in the wake of the Economist article and other critiques, the government dropped the mandated minimum volumes for breweries, and the microbrewery and craft beer industry took off. (

Jennie, our friendly tour guide

The Ark Craft Brewery bar is a pleasantly cluttered like most the shops in Insa-dong, but also features some nice, old wood, stacks of root tiles, and a big window looking out across the rooftops of the dong. It seemed like a place that is largely defined by its clientele, but unfortunately we were the only customers at the time. I can't recall the beer I ordered, but I do remember enjoying it, and as usual it is difficult for me to compare with other quality microbrew locations, as the ambiance generally seems similar and my taste varies much more between the individual beers of the place than between the different places. In any case, I am confident that beer lovers would not be disappointed, and I'd love to have an opportunity to try out more of the city's offerings some day.

Reviews: eatdrinkkl 

Wednesday, December 02, 2020

#4049 - Jersey Lilly, Ingomar, MT - 7/18/2020

Jersey Lilly, Ingomar, MT
The unincorporated community of Ingomar Montana is down a short dirt road off of Highway 12 and appears like a ghost town -- abandoned buildings, trailer homes, horses and mules wandering freely down the dirt roads. Classic tumbleweeds bounce down the roads, and the promised bison are nowhere in evidence. Ingomar was put on the map by the Milwaukee Railroad in 1910. Local history has it that in the 1910s it was either the largest sheep shearing and wool shipping center in the world, or one of the largest in the country, depending on your source. In any case, it was booming, with 46 businesses, 2,500 homesteading filings per year, and 2 million pounds of wool shipping out each season -- the largest commercial hub between the Missouri, Musselshell, and Yellowstone rivers.

Boots Kope, owner, Jersey Lilly, Ingomar, MT
But by the end of that first decade, the boom had already started to fade, and after several years of too little rain, a fire that burned much of the town down in 1921 hastened the long running decline. The high school closed in 1952, the wool warehouse shuttered in 1975, and rail service ended in 1980. In 1992 the elementary school, which had a total of 3 students the previous year, ceased operations and the historic school building shuttered. With the railroad gone, there were no more shipments of water, until several years later a spring system was built and piped into town. The population dwindled down to single digits.

Jersey Lilly Saloon, Ingomar, Montana
The first brick building in the community was the Wiley, Clark, and Greening Bank, which opened in October 1914. That went under in 1921. At the end of prohibition, Clyde Easterday opened the Oasis Bar there (1933). Easterday brought in a cherry wood bar from St. Louis, up the Missouri and Yellowstone rivers. (I presume this was a Brunswick, but have not been able to confirm this.) The bar remains to this day. In 1948 Bob Seward, who had been a Rosebud County deputy sheriff, came into possession of the bar -- either by simply purchasing it or, as histories say, winning it in a poker game. Seward, a Texan, renamed it the "Jersey Lilly," after the famous saloon of Judge Roy Bean in his home state. He also introduced the signature bean soup that is a favorite to this day. Also remaining to this day are the outdoor outhouses -- the only public facilities in town, helpfully marked "Bull Pen" and "Heifer Pen," and with a slanted tin "cowboy rain gutter urinal" hanging inside the former. Back inside, under the pressed tin ceiling, the walls are lined with memorabilia and animal heads -- deer, antelope, elk, a moose, a buffalo, and, of course, a jackelope.

Ten years later, Bob turned the bar over to his son Bill, who had been a professional boxer in Chicago, winning 45 fights with 38 knockouts between 1939 and 1941 (hence the boxing memorabilia still in the bar today). Bill also opened up the dance hall portion, lining the walls around a wood burning furnace with wood from and old barn, a space which between the occasional dances and special events serves as additional dining space, with folding chairs and tables. Bill was a popular character, known as the unofficial mayor of Ingomar, and created the Lilly's other famous dish, it's "sheepherders' hors d'oeuvres," comprising saltines, onions, orange slices, and cheddar cheese. "You stick it in your mouth one bite, just like an old hound dog eating hot cakes," Seward explained. (atlasobscura).

Sheepherder's Hors d'Oeuvres, Jersey Lilly, MT
In 1995, Bill finally sold the bar to Jerry Brown, who'd been telling him on their hunting trips for many years that he would like to own the place. Brown was a burial vault magnate, who'd made a good living manufacturing and installing "concrete outer internment receptacles" in Milwaukee and elsewhere, in addition to owning livestock. In 2004, Boots Kope and June Nygren met at the bar, and where later married. Like the several previous owners of the place, Kope and Nygren valued the community center role of the bar, now the only remaining business in Ingomar. When they saw it starting to decline, they purchased the place themselves in 2010, and have run it ever since, most of the time with only the two of them, taking off only one or two weeks a year for vacation.

Ingomar, Montana
When I rolled up to the Jersey Lilly, the place was closed, with no vehicles in sight. There was a note in the window about how it would open late that day. I later learned this was due to a long drive to resupply the oranges for the sheepherders' hors d'oeuvres. I also learned that it was unwise to go to the Lilly without a reservation, and I was fortunate that they could slip in one extra if I was okay sitting at the bar (I am very much okay sitting at the bar). Boots brought me out a serving of their iconic appetizer, and explained as he no doubt has many hundreds of times that I should try them even if I don't like onions, as the oranges combine in an unexpected taste. He was right, of course.

Bull Pen and Heifer Pen outhouses at 
Jersey Lilly Saloon, Ingomar, MT
I had a good, local beef burger and fried potatoes, wandered the place taking pictures and reading the many newspaper clippings on the walls, returning to the bar to chat with Kope as June worked the kitchen. I felt fortunate to get in, and even more fortunate that people like Boots and June were around to preserve this great place. They have steady business from around the world -- there are precious few people living nearby and their guest book contains visitors from Switzerland, Mongolia, Germany, China, Tanzania, and many, many other far flung places from around the world and across the U.S. And yet the future of the Jersey Lilly is uncertain. The couple has had the place for sale for some time now, not due to lack of business, but from a desire to move closer to their kids and grandkids. They want very much to sell it to someone who will preserve and carry on the cherished traditions, but admit that eventually, if no buyer is found, they will simply shut it down. This would be sad indeed, so if you get a chance to go, you must take it (and make sure to call for a reservation!).

Est. 1948 - Building constructed: 1914
Previous bars in this location: The Oasis (1933-1948)
Web site: facebookfacebook 
Reviews: billingsgazette - atlasobscura - greatfallstribune - montana-mint - - onlyinyourstateyelp - tripadvisor - visitmt  

Tuesday, December 01, 2020

#4064 - Mint Bar, Sheridan, WY - 7/20/2020

Mint Bar, Sheridan, WY
One of my very favorite bars on my 2020 road trip of Wyoming, Montana, and beyond, and one of my favorite bars, period, is the Mint Bar in Sheridan, WY. You start with the great neon sign out front, a cowboy riding  bucking bronco, over the brands of local ranchers. Stepping inside you find a wonderland of gleaming knotted and burled pine over cedar shingles and surrounding sizable collections of taxidermy and historical photos.

And the Mint does indeed have a rich history. The Mint Saloon was constructed and opened on Main Street in the small western city of Sheridan (population under 20,000) in 1907. A few years after national prohibition shut it down in 1919, it reopened officially as the Mint Cigar Company and Soda Shop," while unofficially hosting liquor sales and gambling in an expanded area added to the back. It closed again in 1930, and subsequently hosted a series of offices until federal prohibition was repealed in 1933. (

Mint Bar, Sheridan, WY

The decor one sees today traces mostly back to the 1940s, with the gnarled pine burl framing knotty pine pine paneling and lots of local taxidermy (including a jackalope, of course), along with several animals from the owner's hunting trip in the Yukon in the 1950s. Under the pressed tin ceiling, the cedar shakes are said to feature 9,000 brands from local ranches. The drinks are fairly standard, with some nice local beer and whiskey choices, the staff is cool and friendly, and the crowd is a pleasant mix of young and old, locals and tourists. From the building itself and the postings on their facebook page, the owners and patrons both clearly value the deep and continuing history of the place, and it is a must stop for anyone near northern central Wyoming.

The Mint Saloon, 1908
(Photo from bar's Facebook page)

The Mint Bar, 1936
(Photo from bar's Facebook page)

The Mint Bar, 1941
(Photo from bar's Facebook page)

Est. 1907 - Building constructed: 1907
Previous bars in this location: None known
Web site: mintbarwyo.comfacebook 
Articles ranked: SAH archipedia - - - - yelp - tripadvisor -