Bars where Pete has had a Drink (5,829 bars; 1,754 bars in Seattle) - Click titles below for Lists:

Bars where Pete has had a drink

Tuesday, May 11, 2021

#4098 #S1674 - Citizen Campfire, Seattle - 8/4/2020

Citizen Campfire, Seattle, WA
The lot adjacent to Citizen Cafe hosted a BBQ truck briefly until a back injury to the pitmaster ended that venture in 2017. But the space was upgraded and put to excellent use during the COVID pandemic, with a sort mid-century patio setting that would become an adults only outdoor bar at 4:00pm. It know offers drinks from the cafe including alcoholic slushie drinks, with cafe snacks or food ordered from nearby Lazy Susan. You can snack and sip from lawn chairs or bean bag chairs, at the fire pit or in the greenhouse. I've added it to my list of best options for sunny days.

706 Taylor Ave N, Seattle, WA 98109 - (206) 284-1015
Est. April 13, 2018 
Previous bars in this location: None known
Web site: - facebook 
Reviews: eatinseattle - dailyhive - untappd 

#3457 - The Camp Bar, Tacoma, WA - 2/16/2018

Camp Bar, Tacoma, Washington

When Patrick Haight, veteran bartender from Seattle's Tini Bigs martini lounge, opened his own place, it was a swanky craft cocktail emporium in Belltown or Capitol Hill. Instead he acquired the old "Acme Tavern" (AKA "Acme Grub Cage") just below the Hilltop area and converted into an elaborately themed camp site for adults, with tents and camping gear and various odd bric-a-brac. So when the COVID pandemic hit, adding actual tents -- both inside and out -- was a natural. In addition there's now an outdoor patio with fake grass, picnic tables and tree stump seats.

As much as I love any place that would call itself a "grub cage," the Camp Bar is better in many different ways. Their web site says they are located "in a historic building that housed Tacoma's second oldest bar (Est. 1932)." This claim is a little wonky given that A) The building was only constructed in 1956; and B) 1932 was still in  prohibition. But the Acme Tavern starts to appear in city guides in 1941, listed at the building next door, on the corner of 13th, and then appears to have moved into the new (current) building right after it was constructed.

The current incarnation is pretty darn swell. The decor is somewhere between a dive bar and a theme park -- "In Tacoma bar terms, I’ll break it down for you: It’s going to be more like The Mule Tavern than En Rama." (News Tribune) The cocktails include a popular "One-eyed squirrel" concoction, with 10 rotating good beers on tap. The food emphasizes burgers and comfort food with some unique twists, including make-your-own s'mores with a little hibachi stove.

The staff are cool, and they host various events including a very popular karaoke night and "Not Safe For Work Bingo."

If I live anywhere close to this I would probably go a lot.

Est. 2017 - Building constructed: 1956
Previous bars in this location: Acme Tavern / Grub Cage
Web site: - facebook 
Articles ranked: southsoundtalk - southsoundtalk (tents) - newstribune - - king5 - yelp - tripadvisor - komonews 

#3946 #S1664 - Velvet Elk, Seattle - 1/19/2020

The Velvet Elk, Seattle, WA
I've added this cozy craft cocktail lounge to my list of favorite Seattle intimate spaces. Established as "The Saloon" and renamed about 6 months later when Kim Beecroft took ownership, the small but two-level bar is sometimes referred to as a "speakeasy." While they do some some speakeasy era classics, the only thing really hidden about the bar is that it is in a location you wouldn't expect, around the corner from Mioposto in a tiny retail section across from Mt. Baker Park.

I quite like the funky decor, the mellow vibe, and the high quality cocktails. Thankfully it seems to have made it through the worst of the COVID era, with a little bit of help from a successful gofundme and its grateful patrons, and I'm eager to go again soon.

3605 S McClellan St, Seattle, WA 98144 - (206) 717-2902
Est. June 1, 2019 - Building constructed: 1930
Previous bars in this location: The Saloon
Web site: - facebook
Articles ranked: theinfatuation - king5 - yelp - intentionalist 

Sunday, May 09, 2021

#3852 - Doreen's Saloon, Cottonwood, ID - 8/30/2019

Doreen's Saloon, Cottonwood, Idaho
There's not much internet presence for Doreen's Saloon in Cottonwood, Idaho, but the snippets I can find tell me that it is currently closed and for sale. so I presume that's true. From a snippet in the Cottonwood Chronicle ("Voice of the Camas Prairie") I gathered that Doreen's was established in 2012 (at the time of this writing the Wikipedia page on Cottonwood still features Lowell's Saloon, which preceded Doreen's in the space). Indeed from a Facebook group I learned about a whole series of bars in this location, including Jenny's Tavern, T-Bar, Hap's Bar, the Country Still and Busdastubleup. Maybe it'll be something else by the time I come through again.

According to Wikipedia, the central Idaho city of Cottonwood began in 1862 as a series of way station shelters for prospectors and mining suppliers on their way south to Florence and Warrens. Its population seems to have risen steadily in the first half of the 20th century, then hovered just below about 1,000 people ever since. Doreens was established by Doreen Ash, which would have seemed appropriate, had I known it when I walked in to encounter a thick wall of cigarette smoke.

On at least the day I walked in, Doreen's was populated with NRA snapback caps, Trump stickers, and old coots. A couple of the latter were expounding at great length on the ways of the world: "There's global warming, but it's a natural cycle ..." "Everything dies if it ain't adapted"

I was there for exactly one drink on exactly one day, so I couldn't tell you that much about the place. Was business picking up on this Friday afternoon? Was the evening crowd much different? Does it sometimes get rowdy? Who's been 86'd? What the hell is a Bustastubleup?

I guess I'll probably never know, but I'm glad I stopped in.

U.S. 95 Business, 416 Main St, Cottonwood, ID 83522 - (208) 962-7331
Est. 2012? - Building constructed: year
Previous bars in this location: Jenny's Tavern, T-Bar, Hap's Bar, Country Still, Busdastubleup, Lowell's Saloon 

#4161 - Somewhere Bar, Boise, ID - 3/27/2021

Somewhere Bar, Garden City, Idaho

Transported to its current location in 1949 and opened in 1950, during the ears of 2017 to 2020, the venerable Ranch Club, with its iconic bronco rearing up over Garden City, Idaho, went through various ownership changes and closed and reopened at least three times. But when it reopened March 20, 2021, it was no longer as the Ranch Club. 

Gone are the wagon wheels out front; gone are the saddle bar seats inside; gone are the skulls and taxidermy, and coyote perched on a cactus. But remaining, oh thank God, is the bronco. I wish it could have retained its full-on western theme forever. But given that it could not, I am happy to see that someone is keeping it open, and although the vibe and clientele are very different, perhaps an even more vibrant and lively place than ever. Owners Rob Covert and Eli Russell have converted it to a gay bar, stressing one for the whole LGBTQIA+ community and welcoming all, but primarily for gay males. The horse skulls and harness have been replaced with photos of leathermen and bears, the taxidermy coyote replaced with a large photo of Cher. Opened during COVID, the stage waits for opportunities to host drag shows and live music, and the front area now opens up to a fairly large patio in the shade of the bronco.

I'll miss the old place, but the new one seems like it may be a really great location for the Boise area's gay and lesbian crowd, and a fun place to visit generally. And they promise to keep the horse!

3544 W Chinden Blvd, Garden City, ID 83714
Est. 2021 - Building constructed: 1908 (1949 moved and reassembled in this location)
Previous bars in this location: The Ranch Club
Web site: facebook 
Reviews: boisedevinstinctmagazine - idahostatesman - idahostatesman

Saturday, May 08, 2021

#3552 - Silver Dollar Saloon, Virginia City, NV - 6/29/2018

John, bartender
Silver Dollar Saloon, Virginia City

If you like old western bars like we do then there's probably not a better town in the world for these than Virginia City, Nevada. And while there are several much more famous joints along C Street, our favorite was down the narrow stairway to the relatively humble Silver Dollar Saloon. 

Often referred to as the "most authentic," which I believe means least touristy, the Silver Dollar doesn't have a deep history posted on the outside or detailed on internet sites. I don't know how long it's been there, or what the history of the building entails, although it is cited as the first location of the "Territorial Enterprise" newspaper until it moved in 1862, just before Sam Clements joined the staff and started writing under the name Mark Twain. But even that I'm not sure of, because the Silver Dollar is so often confused with the "Silver Queen" Saloon (which has a famous painting with a woman's dress made of 3,261 silver dollar coins).

Entering the Silver Dollar the first thing you notice is the bras -- hanging several layers deep on a line hung overhead, hanging from the lamps, pinned to the walls. The next thing you notice is the backgroud -- dollar bills tacked up on virtually every inch of wall and ceiling space by past visitors. And finally you notice the bartender, a long-bearded, cigarette smoking character known as "Hippy John." Later on at another saloon we were told stories by a couple ladies that said they came in, found John sleeping, fixed themselves drinks, then later woke him to pay. (John did not appreciate this story when we relayed it to him.)

The bras and dollars hint at much fuller rooms and wilder times than the bar we entered. On our first visited we chatted with patrons Bryan and Brenda. One the second visit we sat around the corner of the bar from a drunk guy in a cowboy hat, who looked more like a salesman than a rancher, and a much drunker military guy. Cowboy Hat Guy was working diligently trying to repair a pair of sunglasses. He first explained his resoluteness by noting "I'm a Capricorn." Later he continued, "I'm a Ranger. Rangers never quit." As he worked, Military Guy kept getting angrier. Cowboy Hat Guy say not to worry, "I'll fix him after I fix this." Cowboy Hat Guy told stories, telling us about bull riding and Harleys, and that he had a million dollars in the bank and was renting all of the Virginia Inn for a week. When he finally left after a lot of high fiving people who selected country music he liked on the juke box, bartender John told us how much he was not looking forward to having Cowboy Hat Guy in town all week.

Trista with patrons Bryan and Brenda
Silver Dollar Saloon, Virginia City, NV
Anyway, while it wasn't crowded we seemed to get a good cross section of the Silver Dollar patrons -- sometimes mellow like Bryan and Brenda, and sometimes not, like a cluster of drunk ladies who hunted the best place to pin their dollars, or like Military Guy and Cowboy Hat Guy. It's part of the fun, even if they test poor John's patience. As for drinks, you don't want to order anything too fancy -- it's a pure dive bar that way. But for all the deeper histories, memorable artifacts, live bands, and better food and drinks in a town full of great bars, this one remained our favorite.

Painting of Virginia City locals, 
bartender John in the middle

11 North C, Virginia City, NV 89440 - (775) 847-0458
Reviews: yelp - tripadvisor - dirt cheap (video) - restaurantguru - untappd  

#4208 #S1699 - Olympic Bar, Seattle - 5/7/2021

Olympic Bar, Fairmont Olympic Hotel, Seattle

Who would have predicted that the venerable Olympic Hotel would have gone steampunk? 

This is the hotel in Seattle where trains of police vehicles escort foreign dignitaries to their destinations across the city; where the University of Washington owned the land and most the property for a century even after they relocated north of Portage Bay in 1895; where WWII bond drives featuring Duke Ellington, Bob Hope, and Betty Gable rallied crowds in front of a miniature Washington Monument in "Victory Square"; where the "Presidential Suite" lived up to its name, hosting Warren Harding, Calvin Coolidge, Herbert Hoover, FDR, Dwight Eisenhower, JFK, Lyndon Johnson, Richard Nixon, Gerald Ford, Jimmy Carter, Ronald Reagan, Bill Clinton, George W. Bush; where elegant diners munched foie gras pâté and sipped from a rotating sample of seasonal teas between the buttercream walls of the Georgian Restaurant; and where, most improbably of all, some intrepid locals actually convinced the hotel to host a Ramones performance in the Georgian Room -- an event which put a quick end to the hotel's short experiment booking rock shows (though not to the antics of various rock stars staying there).

Fairmont Hotel, Seattle, looking down upon
the new "Olympic Bar"
Granted, the steampunk appellative is only moderately descriptive of the new lobby, most obviously in the wheels and arms of a large kinetic sculpture that towers over the bar, and apparent in the metal and lights wrapping around the U-shaped prow of the bar. These were designed to evoke the roaring 20s of the hotel's founding. It's pleasantly a little dark, with various Edison bulbs and table lamps glowing off the grand oak woodwork and Belgian marble floors. The lobby area is finished with bookshelves, mid-century style, white, abstract sculptures, and books with white covers.

The bar features some unique house cocktails, and on my first visit I tried the non-alcoholic "Timeless" cocktail (Seedlip Garden 108, grapefruit, Fever-Tree Tonic, rosemary, black pepper), which was smooth and refreshing. On my second visit we each tried and approved of the house special "Seattleite" (Olympic honey vodka, espresso, Amaro Montenegro, lemon). The bar menu is fairly limited but all options seem quite fine from our sampling so far, which has included the pan roasted chicken, their burger, oysters, and strawberries and cream. The Saturday we attended was the first in which they resumed their famous tea service (in the lobby for now, and reservations required).

Remaining to be opened at this writing are Marine themed restaurant/bar in the Georgian space, and a bar in the old Terrace Lounge space which they say they are not going to call a speakeasy, even though there is a doorway hidden by a bookshelf. The service was friendly and just enough visits, and Jennifer was kind enough to show us the new speakeasy/whiskey bar space (but requested we not post our photos at this time), as well as answer questions about previous bars.

The $25-million remodel has very much embraced the history of the hotel, with various letters and artifacts framed in the walkways around the upper perimeter of the lobby. They have referred to a goal of keeping the lobby "a living room for locals." It's not likely to be a regular hangout unless you're an eccentric millionaire, but I am excited to have a go-to bar in the historic location and eager for the openings of the other two spaces.

411 University St, Seattle, WA 98101 - (206) 621-1700
Est. April 30, 2021 - Building constructed: 1924
Web site: - facebook 
Articles ranked: eater - seattletimes - seattlepikomo - yelpluxurytraveladvisor 

Thursday, May 06, 2021

#3933 - McSorely's Old Ale House, New York, NY - 1/2/2020

McSorley's Old Ale House, New York City

With the possible exception of Fraunces Tavern, McSorley's -- officially "McSorley’s Old Ale House" -- is the most legendary bar in New York. Immortalized in John Sloan paintings, an e.e. cummings poem, Berenice Abbott photographs, and a series of New Yorker articles in the 40s that is still relevant to the old place today, even their Facebook page reads like a history book. Patrons seem to have included virtually every notable New Yorker, as well as Abraham Lincoln, Ulysses S. Grant, Teddy Roosevelt, Babe Ruth, Woody Guthrie, Harry Houdini, Gauguin, John Lennon, Elvis Presley, Frank Sinatra, Hunter S. Thompson, and Boss Tweed. The '94 Stanley Cup champion Rangers drank out of, and dented, the trophy there.

The age of the first floor of the structure and the date of McSorely's founding is the subject of considerable debate. But if it was not in fact 1854, as the owners have contended, with some evidence, it is close enough. And stepping into the bar today, it is easy to believe. The walls are crammed with memorabilia and everything is dark and worn. It's said that nothing has been removed from the walls since the day Old John McSorely died in 1910. While there may no longer be tobacco chewing or butchers dropping blood from their aprons, there's still a fresh layer of sawdust applied to the floors. There's the legendary coal burning stove, no cash register is used, and there are no bar stools. It doesn't feel quite "snug and evil" as Cummings wrote, but you can easily see how it did.

The beer choices are McSorley's Light, or McSorley's Dark -- always served two mugs at a time. If you want hard liquor, you're a little late, that hasn't been available since 1906. The menu is almost as conservative, especially for traditionalists who insist on the soda crackers and onions.

McSorley's Old Ale House, New York City

One of McSorley's most famous traditions was probably its least progressive, encapsulated in their motto "Good Ale, Raw Onions, and No Ladies." One could debate the first (McSorley's Ale is brewed by Pabst), the second obtains today, and the third ended only in 1970 and only by outside forces. Even when Dorothy O’Connell Kirwan inherited the bar on her father Daniel O'Connell's passing, she honors her promise to her father and visits the bar only on Sundays while it is closed. After legal threats, the bar finally allows women in 1970, and just 16 years later adds a women's restroom. In 1994, Teresa Maher de la Haba, daughter of the then owner, became the first female bartender at McSorley’s, and on this day in January 2020 it was Teresa who served us.

McSorely's, as absolutely no one disagrees, is a must stop in NYC. If you haven't been, I recommend going at a time like we did, being there before they open on a weekday, so that you're sure to get a seat and have plenty of time and space to taking as much as you can of the endless photos, newspaper clips, and artifacts covering the walls. Next time I'd like to catch it when it is full and lively. If you love old bars, this one is a cathedral.

15 E 7th St, New York, NY 10003 - (212) 473-9148
Est. 1854 
Web site: - facebook  
Articles ranked: newyorker 1940 - wikipedia - roadtrippers - chibarproject - Bucket List Bars video - nytimes (Matty Maher's death) - bedfordandbowery - pavementpieces (Coronavirus times) - Seton Hall history - culturetrip - irishamerica - eurocheapo  - businessinsider - irishcentral - yelp - tripadvisor