Seattle Stories

Seattle Stories: Turning 21

On the corner of Pine Street and Melrose Avenue on Capitol Hill, you’ll find Ristorante Machiavelli. It’s been there since 1988. My internet research yields up this: “In 1988, its location on the edge of Capitol Hill, just across Interstate 5 from downtown, was seedy and cheap. The previous business was a dingy, windowless bar.”
I don’t remember the name of that bar, though I put a lot of effort into researching it. Why does the name of a long-gone dive bar matter?
The day I turned 21, I celebrated after work with my workmates in that bar. I somehow took off my boots and forgot them there. I walked home well past midnight in my stockinged feet to my apartment on Summit and Olive, and found my boots sitting on my desk the next day at work, filled with champagne corks. The aroma wafting off those corks nearly did me in.
I posed the question in Facebook’s “Seattle Vintage” group and 193 comments later, we had explored every possibility of that bar’s name, but reached no firm  conclusion.
I even emailed the owner of the current restaurant. She replied, “Hi Lori, I am sorry I do not know what restaurant was there at that time. We have been there since 1988 and I know the tenant before that was a bar called The Inside Passage. I think it may have been a cafe before that??? I’m sorry that is all I really know. Best of luck in your research”
So, that confirms that The Inside Passage was there just previous, as many of the Seattle Vintage crowd recalled. It may be the bar I spent my 21st birthday in. At this point, I’ll probably never know for absolute certain. But the search was fun, and I was overwhelmed by the enthusiasm and interest that’s was shown for this little quest of mine.

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Lori Alden Holuta lives between the cornfields of Mid-Michigan, where she grows vegetables and herbs when she’s not writing, editing, or playing games with a cat named Chives.

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