Nomad Dinners Celebrates It Wet

While the recent elections have given us our own impending end of prohibition, just over the way in Fremont, they’re gearing up to celebrate the 79th anniversary of the repeal of the 18th Amendment and alcohol prohibition in the United States:

On December 5, 1933, the 21st Amendment to the U.S Constitution was ratified, repealing the 18th Amendment which prohibited intoxicating liquors in the US.  nomad.dinners is celebrating on December 5th, 2012 with prohibition-era cocktails created by guest bartenders from around Seattle, live music from the Careless Lovers, Charleston dance lessons, oysters and other prohibition-inspired food.  Proceeds benefit the Fremont Abbey Arts Center, a nonprofit providing arts experiences for people of all ages & incomes since 2005.

The line-up of bartenders from the Knee High Stocking Company, Serafina, terra plata and more is impressive. The event is at the Fremont Abbey, tickets are $25 and up, available on-line.

When we first moved to Seattle, we were told that the oldest bars in Seattle, opened in 1934 after prohibition was repealed, were the Blue Moon, the (now defunct) Buckaroo Tavern and Murphy’s. Best we can tell, none of this is true. While it’s always safest to take what one reads on the web with a squinted eye, the author of this list of the oldest bars in Seattle appears to have done his homework, and it’s nice to see a bunch of old friends on that list.

While Murphy’s claims to be the oldest Irish Pub in Seattle, that title seems like it ought more justly belong to Conor Byrne’s in Ballard, which opened its doors in 1898 (and which the Ballard Chamber of Commerce calls “oldest continually operating drinking establishment west of the Mississippi.”)

  1. Anne Droid said,

    Kudos to the author(s) of the list of the oldest bars in Seattle!
    Thank you!

    Tue, November 27 at 5:31 pm
  2. Peter A. said,

    Hi. Although their has indeed been a bar at the Conor Byrne location since 1898 (although not during prohibition of course, at least officially), it has not been an Irish bar for most of that time. For most of its history it has been The Owl Cafe or Tavern, which lasted into the 1990s. Murphy’s opened May 18, 1981 at 2110 N 45th, and moved to its current location in 1992. There were, of course, many, many Irish bars in town before Murphy’s, but I don’t believe there are any older that still exist. (However, I do not know the exact opening date of Kell’s in the market, which also opened sometime in the 80s, and the Owl and Thistle opened in 1991, so it edges out Murphy’s for oldest Irish bar in its current location.) So the Murphy’s claim seems reasonable to me.

    Have a happy Repeal Day, everybody!

    Tue, November 27 at 9:37 pm
  3. Peter A. said,

    Oh, geez, I need to fix some of the post above. Clearly, Kell’s has been an Irish bar in its current location longer than both Owl & Thistle and Murphy’s (I’ll see if I can find the exact year that Kell’s opened). Also, “their has been” should obviously be “there have been” …

    Tue, November 27 at 9:43 pm
  4. Peter A. said,

    Thanks for encouraging me to dust off my oldest bars in Seattle page a bit. There were several bars that had closed or changed, plus I removed some duplicates and fixed the “squinty” issue. Sometime soon I’ll compare this to my much more in depth and up-to-date data in my spreadsheet and probably come up with a few more tweaks.


    Wed, November 28 at 12:28 am
  5. Kate said,

    The Careless Lovers are great fun. They’re energetic, know they’re stuff, and like to please the crowd. The combination of the band and 2 included drinks justifies the $25 by themselves.

    If you’re curious about the band check out the video Black Coffee here: . It won the Jazz Dance Film Fest in 2011 (which, admittedly, is hosted in Seattle).

    Wed, November 28 at 9:40 am
  6. Jody Haynes said,

    Hey all you Scofflaws: Dud up and Blouse with your Blue Serge to see our Snake Charmer and Embalmers. The Hooch and Whangdoodle will be the Berries…And leave the Fire Extinguisher home………click here for translation:

    Fri, November 30 at 2:09 pm
  7. Patty said,

    I have a 5 cent chit from the Central Cafe. I’ve had it on my key ring off and on for years. It was made with a hole in the center, don’t know why. One of the bartenders at the Central gave it to me in 1974 or 75.

    Sun, December 2 at 12:27 pm
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