October 5, 2017

Searching for Martinis and History at Oliver's Lounge

Looking to channel your inner James Bond and sip high-quality martinis in a classy bar? Oliver's Lounge at Seattle's Mayflower Park Hotel is the place for you—regardless of whether you are in a tuxedo or dressed like a tourist.

Designed by B. Dudley Stuart, the hotel opened in 1927 as the Bergonian Hotel and was one of Seattle's first ”uptown” hotels. Miraculously, the grand establishment took only six months to build and was decorated with the finest carpets and ornamentations. Opened during Prohibition, the Bergonian had no space designed to serve liquor; where Oliver's currently stands was originally one of the first Bartell Drug Stores.

The hotel—a Historic Hotel of America since 1999—itself is a monument to preservation in action: after becoming the Mayflower Park Hotel in 1974, the hotel was under threat of demolition for the construction of the Westlake Center. Local support saved the hotel and the center was built around it—which has made getting to the hotel convenient for travelers coming in from the airport on the Link light rail.

Interior view of Oliver's Lounge in Seattle

photo by: Mayflower Park Hotel

In 1976, Oliver's Lounge opened as Washington's first “daylight“ bar—the state's Blue Laws had prohibited anyone from looking into an establishment serving liquor prior to then. The large windows allowed customers to look out on the street while enjoying an evening cocktail.

It was in the early 1990's that the general manager of Oliver's issued a challenge to a fellow martini bar, Vons, which quickly escalated into the “International Martini Classic Challenge.“ To this day, the award-winning Oliver's Classic Martini is the drink to enjoy while looking out on the streets or sitting at one of the tables—the tops of which are made from marble salvaged from the lobby of the historic White Henry Stuart Building.

Location: 405 Olive Way, Seattle, WA 98101

Hours: Monday through Sunday, 11:30 a.m. to 2 a.m.

Don't Miss: Complimentary hors d'oeuvres during happy hour, Monday through Saturday, 4:30 p.m. to 6 p.m.

You're Having: The Oliver's Classic Martini, the eight-time winner of the Martini Classic Challenge, is always a sure bet. Or check out the specialty cocktails created to celebrate Oliver's 40th anniversary (The Regal 40) and the Mayflower Park's 90th anniversary (The Bergonian).

Best Yelp Review: “Swanky old-world hotel bar with excellent service and fun drink list. Perfect pre-dinner drinks spot.“

Kirsten Hower is part of the National Trust’s social media team. When she’s not helping save places, she’s using social media to help stop art crime.


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