Two Truths and a Lie

The Brick’s 100-plus-year-old wood bar has a storied past: it was boated from England, making its way around Cape Horn before arriving in Roslyn. Since then it’s seen thousands of beers, from as far away as its former home country and as close as the Roslyn Brewing Company, less than a block away.

Two Truths and a Lie The Story of the World-Famous Brick Saloon

One time, when my mom was in college, she saw a guy get his ear bit off at the World-Famous Brick Saloon.

There’s a 23-foot-long running-water spittoon under the bar, so the miner men could pee without leaving their beers. On one of my own visits, apparently Justin Bieber had been there minutes before. Anyone who has spent time at the Brick has stories and, though I feel relatively confident in the validity of mine, I’ve come to realize that the Brick is like a game of two truths and a lie: amazingly strange stories mixed in with a few equally strange and indistinguishable embellishments.

To better understand the self-proclaimed oldest-operating saloon in Washington State, you must take a look at the town in which it sits. With less than 1,000 citizens, Roslyn is a tiny, former coal-mining town in the arid foothills of the Cascades, surrounded by beautiful ponderosa pine and Douglas fir forests that smell sweet when it finally rains. Tall, skinny wood houses tower over the quiet streets. It’s the type of place an old dog would walk across the street in front of your car real slow, making eye contact the entire time.

Roslyn’s history is best seen in the local cemetery, just a short walk from the Brick. Coal was discovered in Roslyn in 1883, which attracted immigrant workers from all over. These different ethnic groups held tightly to their separate cultures and customs, and the names on the century-old tombstones are divided into country of origin and cover most of Europe, particularly Croatia, Serbia, Italy, Poland, Germany and Slovakia. There were many different people, beliefs and languages in a small, small town.

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