Owned and operated by the same family since 1963, The DeLuxe Bar and Grill is celebrating its 50th anniversary, but the space at 625 Broadway E has boozy roots that date back to at least the early 1930s.
Founded by a pioneer whose presence in the city—according to his 1958 obituary in The Seattle Times— predates the Seattle fire of 1889, Thomas McClanahan's Beer Parlor opened in 1934 and was soon rechristened De Luxe Tavern (McClanahan opened a second De Luxe at 5401 26th NE in the U District, which shuttered in the late 1970s.)
In the March 21, 1946 edition of the Times we learn a burglar broke in and “$2,368.95 was stolen from a safe.” A week later the place was almost hit again before the bar’s exceptionally loud burglar alarm scared off an intruder—so loud that WWII-weary Seattleites thought it was an air raid siren (only to learn the siren had been “disconnected shortly after V-J Day” a year and half earlier).
Joe Rogel and business partner Bernie Minsk took the reins in 1963, no doubt taking advantage of the immediate afterglow of the 1962 World’s Fair. Under Rogel and Minsk, the bar thrived, gaining a reputation for good—but cheap—steaks and “hip patrons.” But the barmen were too creative for the U.S. Secret Service. For a 1980 promotional campaign, they printed novelty currency they called “Deluxe Bucks,” according to The Seattle Times. The phony dollars were twice as large as a real dollar and clearly stated, “This is not legal tender.” Yet Agent John A. Keefe raided the Deluxe on February 22, 1980 and “demanded possession” of the “contraband.”
What could be more heinous than burglary or a bullshit Secret Service raid? In 1999, during what we can only assume was an unfortunate bet in the newsroom involving alliteration, The Seattle Times called DeLuxe a “bastion of bodacious burger-and-beerdom."
Now run by Joe’s son, Barry Rogel, the bar is celebrating all that history. Tonight you can join reps from Redhook Brewery for beer samples and other surprises—a way to commemorate DeLuxe’s longstanding relationships with local breweries. (We dropped by for a related event a few weeks back and got to drink with the preternaturally friendly folks at Widmer Brothers Brewing.)
Also, from now until August 15, you can nab a classic burger for the 1963 price. That’s $1.99. Twenty cents extra if you want cheese.