Queen City Grill - 1911 (or earlier, depending your criteria)

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Dating the Queen City Grill is somewhat problematic. There were bars at this address since at least since 1890, and they were called the "Queen City" (Saloon/Tavern/Grill) since at least 1891 and probably at least 1890. (The Feb 21 1891 issue of the Seattle Post Inteliigencer mentions the name and describes the location, and the 1890 Polk City Directory lists a bar at the location owned by Alexander Meister, who owned the bar again in 1901 until prohibition, a stretch for which we known it was named the Queen City Saloon.) But the current building was not completed until 1911. (I have seen at least five different dates given for the building from various government and historical sources but I am content to rely upon the date provided by the City of Seattle Historical Site page.)

For me it does not make sense to date an existing bar to a date proceeding the construction of the current building, so I date the bar to 1911. But again, Polk guides list a saloon owned by Alexander Meister at this location in 1890, and one owned by Martin Paup beginning in the 1891 directory and continuing the next several years before Meister is again listed as owner from 1901 through 1915. Historian Pat Dorpat has stated that Paup purchased the site in the 1880s, and built the previous wooden structure "around 1895," though I have found no confirmation of a bar owned by Paul in city guides or other primary sources before 1901.

So while I date the bar to 1911, it would certainly not be unreasonable to date a bar based on the continuity of the name, or perhaps even how long there has been a bar of ANY name in this location, even if the previous building has been entirely replaced. By these criteria the "Queen City" would be at least one of the two oldest bars in the city, and quite possibly the oldest.

More recent ownership celebrated anniversaries that dated the bar back only to 1987, when the upscale "Queen City Grill" was first created by Peter Lamb (after the divey "Queen City Tavern" closed in 1984). The business was subsequently purchased by Linda Derschang and reopened in Sep 14, 2018. Derschang has referred to it as "The oldest bar in Seattle... maybe," and if you feel that the age of a bar should be defined by its name and location and not necessarily the building, that is not an unreasonable assertion.

Some sources: seattledining.com - King County parcel info -
Pat Dorpat (Seattle Public Libarary card may beneeded)

Additional Photos: (Under construction)

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