With new restaurants and bars opening up all the time, competition for customers is always a challenge. That is, of course, unless you are an icon of North Idaho. The 219 Lounge in Sandpoint just celebrated its 85th birthday, and it’s been found at the same First Avenue location each of those memorable years. Locals and visitors continue to visit nightly because of the atmosphere and unique experience you get once you walk through the doors.
“The character of the bar has changed multiple times over its 85-year history,” says Mel Dick, who along with his wife Claudia own the “Niner,” as it has come to be known. “In the early 1950s it was a Las Vegas-style lounge complete with one-arm bandit gaming machines.”
Today, history surrounds you as you walk inside with historic photos and remnants of a fire that nearly burned the building to the ground. Recently awarded the top music venue in Sandpoint by Sandpoint Living Local magazine, you’ll find entertainment here just about every night of the week. There’s karaoke every Tuesday from 9pm to midnight; live music every Wednesday evening along with half-priced classic cocktails and bottles of wine; and local and regional musicians perform each Friday and Saturday night throughout the year.
Also on the entertainment schedule is live comedy. “Nationally known comedians like our venue as it is small and has a ‘comedy club’ feel,” says Mel. “Many of our headlining comedians have had their own specials on Comedy Central and Showtime and/or have appeared on national TV networks, acted in numerous movies or TV sitcoms.”
For Mel and his staff, it’s all about showing customers a great time. They see everything from the recently turned 21 crowd to adults in their 70s enjoying the scene and dancing away to the music. “Our customers love our live music. We are the place they come to have fun, relax and listen to music ranging from classic rock 'n roll to blues, jazz, Americana, indie rock and more,” says Mel.
The 219 has scoured the Northwest beer scene and now boasts what they believe to be the best craft beer selection in town. Their bartenders are also well-known for their commitments to perfectly done classic cocktails.
Whether you are a local looking for a fun and smoke-free place to meet up with friends or a visitor coming to check out Sandpoint for the first time, stop by The 219 Lounge. Be sure and ask for Mel; if he’s around he would love to show you the historic nature of this Sandpoint icon.
The 219 Lounge 219 North First Avenue Sandpoint, Idaho 83864 208.263.5673 219.bar