The second-to-last stop on All Star Opera & RMR’s 2nd annual Seattle World tour is Central Saloon in Pioneer Square. This saloon is the longest standing perveyor of drinks and live entertainment since Seattle’s logging and seafaring days. There’s literally so much history crammed into this place that it’s worth going over for clarity’s sake.
Let me take you back to the tale-end of the 1800’s. You may recall that Seattle had an enormous fire that essentially laid the city to waste. The “great fire” was in 1889, and after early pioneers rebuilt Pioneer Square in 1892, The Central first opened its doors. First under the name Watson Bros. Famous Restaurant, then in 1901 it was “The Seattle Bar” in the gold rush years, around which time the J&M opened next-door in 1903.
During this time, Seattle was becoming a major seaport for the fishing and timber industry due to the Great Northern Railway. In 1919 it finally got the name “The Central Cafe” during which time it served as a cafe, post office, employment hall, card room and bar, as well as a brothel. We all know some of the rest of the story…the lumber mill shut down, as did brothels, and the city grew in different directions.
In the ’70s two Boeing engineers bought the tavern and gave life to the area in a “radical chic” manner to preserve the establishment. Around this time Pioneer Square gained the title of a National Historical District. By the 80’s The Central began growing its name for hosting what would become legendary rock shows. Since the city didn’t yet have some of the bigger venues it has today, smaller venues such as The Central really became the home to some big names in the local scene. It became a regular spot where Nirvana, Soundgarden, and other similar acts put on shoulder-to-shoulder sold-out gigs.
Guy Curtis has been running the spot since the ’70s and has recently taken on a new business partnership to really revamp the place. Serious mention also needs to go to Michael Gill who has taken over Talent Buying at Central Saloon in recent years. Michael has literally rebuilt the venue’s notoriety in the city for live music from the ground-up. Not since the days of grunge has The Central seen so much attention and activity from the local music scene.
The Central Saloon has been open for 125 years and is now open 365 days a year serving up solid local and touring bands most days of the week. All Star Opera and RMR are proud to call this historic and rocking venue home for the fourth night of our 2nd annual Seattle World Tour.
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Tonight’s the night! We’re so excited to host the 4th night of @allstaropera & @respectmyregion.us Seattle World Tour! They’ve already raise a huge amount for @marysplacewa thanks to the support of our community! Swing through and catch @cosmostheband @treslechesband @gypsytemple and the gents themselves – ASO! 🔥☂️💜👏👨🚀💫🎸🔥 . . . . . . #nochildleftoutside #seattle #seattlewa #music #seattlemusic #rock #hiphop #soul #charity #community #support #local #design #punk #life #pioneersquare #oldestbar #party