It was fitting that after returning from the oldest bar in Alaska, we would visit the famous Alaskan town of Sicily. The 90’s hit television show Northern Exposure, was situated in this fictional town, but filmed entirely in Roslyn, Washington. Roslyn is also home to the oldest bar in the state, The Brick. I knew The Brick well as a fan of the show, so this was very exciting for me. Roslyn was the postcard perfect image of a great Pacific Northwest small town, and it was easy to see why it was chosen for the backdrop of the show. The producers didn’t change a detail, all the way down to the name of the Roslyn café and its famous mural from the opening credits. I could almost picture the moose strolling down the street just like I’d watched so many times on TV.
Okay, so I’ll stop gushing now and talk about the bar. I just loved that show and its homey atmosphere, which is exactly how I felt when we walked into the bar. Instead of Shelly from the show, it was Amy who took our drink order. Amy was as wonderful and welcoming as Shelly. Amy even offered us a tour of the basement once the lunch hour traffic slowed down. We could tell why the place was jumping by taking our first bite of food: it was so delicious. We enjoyed looking around at the antique tap pulls displayed on the walls, and the prominent antique iron potbelly stove. We marveled at the 23’ spittoon on the floor in front the bar, equipped with running water to wash things away. I had been to many bars before but this was the first spitoon I’d ever seen. Not only did it provide a convenient place to spit, but it provides space for The Brick’s annual spittoon race. Participants cheer each other on as they race everything from matchboxes to soap.
The basement tour that Amy gave us uncovered some more cool history. Roslyn was coal mining town back in the late 1800’s. The bar was built with 45,000 bricks in 1889 and was named, simply, The Brick. An original holding cell in the basement was used for the movie set of the 1979 Dick Van Dyke film, ‘The Runner Stumbles,”and two more cells were added by the movie-makers. Amy showed us where an underground tunnel used to lead to the local bordello, an all-too-familiar addition that we’ve encountered in several bars. While I enjoyed the town and the history lesson, I’ll admit my favorite part of the experience was just sitting in my favorite television bar!