Live music returns to Sandpoint icon
By Colin Anderson
Photo by 7B Photography - Brad Frerkson
Sandpoint’s “hometown bar,” the 219 is ready to celebrate this summer after a very difficult year. “Overcoming the pandemic has probably been the single biggest challenge bars have faced since the days of prohibition,” explains 219 owner Mel Dick. His team had to close its doors on several occasions—and the music that is the lifeblood of the historic bar was also put on hold. Now, they’re just ready to get back to what the 219 does best: great drinks and great music.
Beginning over the Fourth of July weekend, the 219 will be featuring live bands on the patio (weather permitting) every Saturday evening and some additional Fridays as well. If the weather pushes the music inside, fans won’t miss a beat while tapping their toes to a state-of-the-art sound system inside. “We love to feature local and regional musicians,” says Mark Terry, manager. “We really work hard to line up music that everyone can get into.” That range includes everything from high-energy funk to classic rock and roll and bluegrass.
By October, the 219 will have been in continuous operation for 87 years—with the exception of a brief period during 1936 and 1937, when the original bar, The Old Bohemia Club, was reconstructed on the site due to a fire. “In fact, as you look up at the massive beams in the bar, you can still see the charring from the fire,” says Mel.
Over the last several years, Mel says the “Niner” has evolved from a smoke-filled dive bar to a non-smoking venue serving great classic cocktails, craft beers and wine in a fun-filled atmosphere that everyone enjoys. During the daytime you’ll also find a “Cheers” type atmosphere. “Our regulars discuss everything from local happenings to solving the world’s problems. The crowd at night is playing pool or listening to music while enjoying a great rotating craft beer or cocktail,” he adds.
This summer, try the flagship margarita, old fashion, or choose from a great selection of rare bourbons. Another favorite is the huckleberry mojito, as the mint is grown on the outdoor patio, and Mark picks the berries himself from his secret spot. Either way, make it a point to visit one of the Northwest’s longest running—and still standing—watering holes.
“We are a historic hometown bar that has evolved over the years, where everyone is welcome and feels comfortable having a good time at the ‘Niner,’” shares Mel.
The 219 Lounge
219 N. 1st Ave., Sandpoint, ID