219 Lounge continues to be Sandpoint’s historic hometown bar By Jillian Chandler | Photo by Adair Media Group
“Owning and operating the 219 makes us feel like we are part of the community; ‘caretakers,’ if you will, for our customers and employees,” shares Mel Dick, owner of the 219 Lounge, which has been in business continuously since 1937. “We are honored to be part of the Sandpoint business community.”
Young or old, anyone who enters “the Niner,” as it’s often referred to, will be greeted by the attentive, courteous, friendly and experienced staff, where the bartenders pride themselves on being the best. In addition to making a fantastic cocktail, they make it a point to get to know each of their customers and strive to take care of them. “Each bartender is so unique in their own personality and the gifts they bring to the bar,” says Mark Terry, general manager. “Solo, or multiple bartenders on a busy weekend, the crew we have put together is just the absolute best.”
No matter who’s making your drink, every cocktail is consistent from every bartender, guaranteed. “The secret to making great cocktails is using an exact recipe, good spirits, fresh squeezed juices and house-made simple syrups, and bartenders who take pride in making great cocktails,” according to Mel.
The beer selection is rotated weekly/bi-weekly, depending on the season, and focuses on beers from all over the West (and East whenever possible) and showcases regional staples while focusing on small-batch beers. Then there’s the whiskey (from high-end American bourbons to single-malt scotches and everything in between), featuring a top-shelf American whiskey that rotates every time they empty a bottle—this could be anything from a Store Pick Weller variant to a 10-Year Mitcher’s, even the occasional Pappy Van Winkle. When it comes to the staples, there’s everything from Crown Royal, Maker’s Mark, Wild Turkey and Jack Daniels to Buffalo Trace, Four Roses Small Batch and one of Mark’s favorites—Rittenhouse Rye.
Year-round, live music fills the space on weekends. This past summer they had the opportunity to bring in some fresh faces and will continue that trend into 2024. “From the Jason Perry Band (absolute funk party) to Hill Folk Noir (Americana Junkerdash music) to classics like The Miah Kohal Band, we do our best to keep the must-haves on the calendar and sprinkle newness into rotation as well,” affirms Mark. “We may not have a huge venue, but we provide outstanding local and regional acts a place to perform while never charging a cover.” There is also a pool table and foosball for guests’ enjoyment, and during the summer months, you’ll want to take advantage of the patio and outdoor bar.
219 prides itself on being more than just an individual business. “It’s about creating a ‘sense’ of community, being stewards of our community and helping others,” Mel says. And these words were put into action earlier this year when a local family lost their home to a devastating house fire. When Mark heard the news, he knew that he wanted to help. “I knew I could only do so much,” he recalls. “The support from the staff kicking in money to local businesses donating to the community. This is an amazing town.” Since December 2022, the 219 has helped raise over $30,000 for various community nonprofit organizations.
If you’re looking for that one place to meet friends, relax and share good times, and enjoy a great cocktail and live music, the 219 is just that place. It’s all about community. 219 Lounge 219 N. 1st Ave. Sandpoint, ID 208.263.5673 219.bar