Linda Derschang has her fingerprints all over this town—a mountain lodge–styled bar in Ballard and more than a few establishments on Capitol Hill. Yet with six spots to her name and well over a dozen total in her career that spans over two decades, the serial entrepreneur shows absolutely no sign of stopping any time soon.
In 1987 a 20-something Derschang came to Seattle from Denver by way of upstate New York, nudged along, she says, by the universe: “In a five-day trip I found a location to open a clothing store on Broadway, a place to live, and I met friends where Montana Bar is now.” She opened her first bar, Linda’s Tavern on East Pine, seven years later with Sub Pop Record cofounders. See Capitol Hill, where she lived for nearly 30 years, is where she still reigns and what she considered the “most funky, bohemian” neighborhood in the city.
Derschang moved into a skyward downtown condo two years ago, and felt her new environs lacked something: a burger-and-cocktail kind of joint. Almost cosmically a space became available; she opened such a place in the old Queen City Grill some five blocks from home. She didn’t change much, except to call it simply Queen City, in keeping with its original moniker back when it was an 1890s-era saloon. It evokes a little bit of nostalgia and has Derschang’s signature aesthetic touch (vintage fixtures, taxidermied adornments).
Derschang had never worked in a bar before Linda’s and doesn’t even like to cook. But when it comes to socializing over food and drink, well, you could call her the queen.