Whether you are looking for a sports bar, a cocktail lounge, a place for a cold beer, a glass of unique wine, somewhere to enjoy live entertainment or to just chill out with friends, The 219 Lounge on First Avenue in Sandpoint has it all. The 219 has undergone extensive restoration over the last three years and reveals a unique part of Sandpoint’s history. Not only that, it is now smoke free and was recently named the Best Small-Town Bar in Idaho.
“The character of the bar has changed multiple times over its 84-year history,” says Mel Dick, who along with his wife Claudia own the “Niner,” as it has come to be known over the years. “In the early 1950s it was a Las Vegas-style lounge complete with one-arm bandit gaming machines.”
The original bar was located on Pine Street and was moved to its current location in 1934 and was called the Diamond, with the original diamond logo still visible on the Lounge’s façade. But a fire destroyed the building, and it was rebuilt in late 1934 and early 1935 with the front and back exterior walls constructed in solid concrete with an art-deco style.
The beams in the newly exposed ceiling show signs of the fire from over 80 years ago. One of the treasures discovered in the restoration was a 40-foot mural painted by “Cowboy Joe” in 1935 that was hidden under multiple walls. It has since been restored by local artist Diana Schuppel. Other smaller murals, painted by Gene Hayes in 1967, were also uncovered.
Known as one of the best night-time entertainment spots in North Idaho, The 219 has become a favorite for live entertainment, hosting live music during Wind Down Wednesdays and every Friday and Saturday year-round. The outdoor patio comes alive with bands from around the region every Thursday through Saturday on summer evenings. Several times a year, nationally known comedians perform in the intimate "comedy club" atmosphere in the main bar with its exposed original brick and large ceiling beams.
“We love local musicians and also have bands from around the Pacific Northwest,” says Mel. “It’s everything from rock ‘n’ roll, Americana, the blues and more.”
Enjoy great food during the summer from Shilla (Korean BBQ with Seoul), a new Korean BBQ fusion food truck operated by Chef Jeffrey Coleman, that will be at The 219 on Thursdays, Fridays and Saturdays.
Whether you are a local looking for a fun and smoke-free place to meet up with friends or a visitor coming to check out Sandpoint for the first time, stop by The 219 Lounge. Be sure and ask for Mel; if he’s around he would love to show you the historic nature of this Sandpoint icon.
The 219 Lounge
219 N. First Ave.