219 staff pair great drinks with great music By Colin Anderson | Photo by Rachel Baker Photography
While many frequent the 219 to sip drinks inside one of the Northwest’s most historic and well-preserved bars, summer is a time when visitors and locals alike step outside the bar for some fresh air and fresh tunes. From the early days of back-room poker and a rough-and-tumble crowd to what’s become the go-to spot for live music, “The Niner” is ready for another great season of live music on the patio every Friday and Saturday. “Music this summer will range from Bluegrass, Country, Classic Rock or a full-on Funk party. We really try our best to cover local and regional music selections,” says General Manager Mark Terry.
Shaking it on the dance floor will definitely work up a thirst, and the 219 has something for every palate. The taps consist of easy-drinking domestics, and a rotation of Northwest IPAs and other specialty beers. Relationships with distributors also has allowed them to bring in some impressive and rare selections not easily found elsewhere. There are 15 single-malt scotches as well as bourbons from well-known and up-and-coming distilleries. “We try really hard to bring in special bottles from Weller and Michter's, and small-batch items from Buffalo Trace Distillery,” adds Mark.
Summer seasonal drinks are also a fan favorite. You won’t find pre-made or store-bought margarita mix; everything is fresh squeezed including the Huckleberry Mojito in which Mark personally gathers the berries to make his own syrup from its juices. Mark also makes ginger syrup from shaved organic ginger that adds a nice bite to another house favorite, the Dark ‘n Stormy. “The secret to great cocktails is that every bartender follows the same recipe for our classic cocktails, we exactly measure out our ingredients, no free pouring. Our customers love our classic cocktails and come back for more knowing that they will get a quality cocktail that tastes the same every time, no matter who is bartending,” says owner Mel Dick.
The 219 Lounge has been in business continuously since 1937. Over the years the bar has changed with the times, but it's always been a gathering place for locals and out-of-town guests of all walks of life. A place where people come together to share good times with friends, meet interesting people, listen to great music and have fun.
“While we are currently the owners, I really view us as ‘caretakers’ for the bar,” adds Mel. “The real owners are our customers and employees. Without them the business would be just another bar.”
219 Lounge 219 N. 1st Ave. Sandpoint, ID 208.263.5673