Skip to main content

Storied Past and Future Fun: How One Bar Owner is Getting into the Antique Game

Anybody who’s been in an old-time-y watering hole has probably come across a Brunswick bar. Yes, that Brunswick. The company, known now almost exclusively for bowling, was the Maytag of saloon outfitters back in the day, among other things setting 19th-century booze houses up with beautifully constructed wooden bars. Chances are, your favorite drinking establishment with the ornate old architecture framing the bottles and glasses is the work of what was then called the Brunswick-Balke-Collender Company.

The corporation is no more, but demand for glorious old bar facades is timeless. And the market stretches beyond your standard-issue operations. Wineries like Maryhill are getting into the antique bar trade, sourcing amazing old structures, shipping them across the country, and repurposing them in their own venues. It’s an elegant touch that very much echoes the age-old adage, “They don’t make ‘em like they used to.”

Craig Leuthold is the owner of Maryhill. The producer has a growing family of Washington tasting rooms, located in Vancouver, Spokane, Goldendale, and eventually, Woodinville, the wine-centric town just outside of Seattle. What connects all four spots beyond the wines? The antique bars, of course.

Leuthold first got a taste for the old bars while overseeing Fort Spokane Brewing Company in Eastern Washington. When he ultimately sold the brewery, he elected to keep the bar, drawn to its detailed design.

“Our understanding of the history is that it’s from sometime between the 1880s and the 1910s,” he says of his first antique bar addition, presently the main bar at Maryhill’s Goldendale headquarters. Leuthold says it was in the Bernhoff Hotel in Alaska at one point before making its way to Spokane. “There was an envelope on the back of the bar with its manifest inside,” he adds. It detailed the sales history and the bar’s journey from the Last Frontier to Washington.

The bars are full of wondrous old quirks. One was filled with undreds of dollars of old silver coins; the other was laden with cigar burn spots.

It was the beginning of a motif that would persist in all of Maryhill’s future locations. Leuthold found his second bar by chance, through an email from a curious individual who’d seen his first bar and wondered if he’d like to purchase another. Its genesis began in Wallace, Idaho, the ex-mining hotbed with a charming downtown that’s been featured in films like Dante’s Peak.

For his third and fourth bars, Leuthold turned to Oley Valley Antiques, perhaps the biggest dealer of architectural relics in the country. The Pennsylvania outfit is filled to the brim with outstanding old pieces foraged from former bars and homes. Leuthold couldn’t resist the quality workmanship and bought two during his visit. One was just recently installed in his new Vancouver tasting room overlooking the Columbia River. “It’s much more Gothic in style,” he adds. “It has more heft and is more substantial.”

The bars are full of wondrous old quirks. The bar at their Spokane joint ended up having a small fortune hidden inside. Hundreds of dollars of old silver coins filled the bar gap, the result of bygone games of quarters patrons played in the hopes of winning a free beer. The bar at his second spot, also in Goldendale but in the wine club room, was full of burns from a chain-smoking barkeep who made a habit of resting his stogie on the bar.

Should Maryhill need a fifth or sixth bar, Oley Valley is where they’ll head. And you should too if you’re aiming to class up your own bar setup, either at home or commercially. These classic bits of suds-soaked Americana will have you feeling like you’re whetting your whistle in an old western film.

Editors' Recommendations

Mark Stock
Mark Stock is a writer from Portland, Oregon. He fell into wine during the Recession and has been fixated on the stuff since…
How to make the controversial Singapore Sling cocktail
While its exact origins might be up for debate, the Singapre Sling has endured
Singapore Sling

Many classic cocktails have an uncertain history because of a lack of record keeping or a long game of telephone where one name or ingredient was inaccurately transformed into another over time. The Singapore Sling, however, might be the most convoluted of all because of the myriad of ingredients it contains, but there are a few things that have been uncovered thus far. For starters, the cocktail isn't even a sling.

According to renowned cocktail historian David Wondrich — who has done the work of the cocktail gods by sifting through various texts and archives to unravel when and where the cocktail originated and what was originally in it — there are a few ingredients that are a part of the recipe for certain. Gin, a cherry brandy (kirschwasser style), Bénédictine, lime juice, and a few dashes of bitters seem to be the constants based on a mention of this particular formula in the Singapore Weekly Sun in 1915.

Read more
This distillery just released its first-ever single-malt Scotch whisky
Scotch fans have eagerly awaited this release for five years
Ardnahoe

If you’re new to the world of whisk(e)y, you might not know that Scotch whisky is broken up into five distinct regions. They are Campbeltown, the Lowlands, the Highlands, Speyside, and Islay. Campbeltown is literally just a town, but the other regions make up a fairly large geographical area of the country. With one other exception: Islay.

Islay is an island in the Inner Hebrides that is filled with thousands of sheep, various Highland cows, around 3,000 people, and nine distilleries. Known for its smoky, peaty whiskies, Islay is home to big names like Ardbeg, Bowmore, Bunnahabhain, Bruichladdich, Kilchoman, Cao Ila, Laphroaig, Lagavulin, and most recently Ardnahoe.
What’s in a name?

Read more
Upgrade your Memorial Day BBQ with these tasty, quick 3-ingredient dips
Just say no to store-bought dip
Dips

If there's one thing that draws people together at any event or gathering, it's the snack table. Clustered around, the colorful spread of crudites and dips gathered both the hungry and the socially awkward among us. We reach for the cheese and crackers, dipping our baby carrots into the jarred, name-brand French onion spread and nod along politely with the mindless chatter. It can be a painful time, to be sure. One made all the more painful by humdrum, store-bought dip. If you've ever found yourself in this situation, or worse, hosted such a gathering, you might have asked yourself how to jazz up the mundane. How to add a bit of interest to the grocery store platter of pre-cut cheese squares. The answer we have found is in the dip. And perhaps your guest list, but that's another article.
We've all fallen prey to the easy way out in the form of store-bought dips or spreads. There's no shame in this, but there is a need to remedy the situation. Store-bought dips are not only expensive but they're usually filled with ungodly amounts of added chemicals and preservatives, too. So why not make your own? Especially when homemade dips can be so incredibly simple to make?
These dips contain just three ingredients, are absolutely delicious, and come together in seconds. So whether you're throwing together a last-minute soiree, getting the entire family together for Memorial Day weekend, or just hoping to liven up your go-to snack table, these dips are the answer.
While very tasty on their own, feel free to think of these recipes as a jumping-off point for your culinary creativity. Each of these dips is absolutely delicious with just their three ingredients (no, salt and pepper don't count), but if you want to add more spices and ingredients, don't hold back!

Lemon and goat cheese dip

Read more