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History Continues to be Made

219 enters 87th year in business

By Colin Anderson

Photo Courtesy of 219 Lounge

The end of prohibition marked the beginning of one of Sandpoint’s most iconic sights. In 1933, a ‘beer only parlor’ named The Old Bohemia Club opened its doors. It moved in 1934 to its present location and since then it’s changed names, burned down, been rebuilt, and remodeled, and through all the changes remains open and thriving in its 87th year.

It’s been known since the 1950s as the 219, and generations of residents and visitors have enjoyed all manner of entertainment within its walls. “The business was initially named the Diamond,” explained co-owner Mel Dick. “It became the 219 when the new owners applied for the transfer of the liquor license and mistakenly put the address in the name area of the application and simply left it as the 219 when the license was officially transferred by the state.”

Working slot machines once graced the interior as well as a few additional games. “During a renovation, a working alarm was discovered that alerted the back-office poker players if the cops were in the bar,” laughed Mel. There is amazing history on the walls as well. A 40-foot mural was discovered during a remodel that was done by Post Falls artist ‘Cowboy Joe’ in 1935. Another mural depicting the southeast Pacific was also discovered during this time. “It was painted during the days of the Second World War when sailors from the Farragut Naval Training Station on Lake Pend Oreille frequented the place,” said Mel.

Today, ‘The ‘Niner’s’ focus is on live entertainment, great regional beers and enjoyable cocktails. There are 17 rotating craft beers, and bar manager Mark Terry also enjoys keeping a selection of bourbons and other whiskies you probably won’t find elsewhere. “You might find Willet, Weller or some Single Barrel goodies. I’m also a huge fan of Bonded Bourbon, so I always make sure to have Old Grand Dad 100 or Rittenhouse Rye (which we use in our classic Old Fashioned) on the shelf,” he said. Happy hour includes $3 wells, $4 pints and $1 off cans and bottles.

You’ll hear live music every Saturday starting at 8pm with an emphasis on local and regional talent. A great drink, fun entertainment and a bit of history all make a trip to the 219 one to remember.

The 219 Lounge

219 North 1st Ave., Sandpoint, ID


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