The Hideout Tavern was a dive located under the Bartell's at Pike and 1st Ave. Down the lane heading to Post alley were also a Chinese food cafe (The Rice Bowl) and the Victrola Tavern (more about this in another place). It flourished apparently from some time in 1969 until 1971 or 1972. Beers were .25 for a schooner of light or dark beer, and 1.25 for a pitcher (which at one time we carefully measured to contain 6 schooners). During 1970 it became the hub for the Pike Place barfly crowd, and the staging zone for forays to such places as the Place Pigalle, the Victrola, the Athenian, and points up Pike Street.
The best way I can think of to bring back memories of the Hideout is to tell stories about its characters. First names only. I don't know if the statute of limitations or the reputations are still in force.
Darrell (or Darryl). The owner of the Hideout. He will appear in some of the stories. Later on, he took over the space occupied by the Chinese restaurant and the Victrola Tavern and called the whole place the Victrola.
Bill. Presumably the owner of the Victrola.
Bill (another one). Distinguished himself by taking off his clothes and hopping on the bar like a frog. I used to wish I could get hold of whatever he was on. Sounded like fun. Some years later I met him at the Blue Moon and he said he didn't want to go back to those days.
Don. John and I were smoking in a booth at the Victrola, and Don was sitting in the booth apparently about to pass out. The first thing he said to us was "I'm a narc." We looked at him and each other, concluded "well, we're busted anyway," and just laughed him off. Later he told us a story about getting laid off from Boeing. We could believe it, since Boeing was in the middle of laying off half their employees then. Don proceeded to enter the shady side of life, and seemed to be in the habit of stealing various peoples identities, possibly including the Don identity. Some years later I thought I could track him down but the guy who really was who Don was posing as was pretty annoyed and his mom grumbled at all the calls this low-life was getting. Later on he took up with Christine, about whom more later.
Tom. Bartender at the Victrola. One night he poured me 6 free beers. Next time I saw him he denied everything.
Unidentified laid-off Boeing guy. One Friday night a short Hispanic guy showed up still in his suit. He had been hitting the bars after apparently having got his layoff notice that day, and landed at the Hideout. After a few beers he started lecturing the customers about something, and someone got the idea to put him up on the bar with a pitcher in his hand and he proceeded to harangue us about something or another. It was quite a scene.
Chester. Chester was the local wino. He used to tell hard-to-reconcile stories about his military experience, in which he insisted he was a bomber pilot or some such in the War. But on the other hand, the age he claimed to be didn't seem to match. He was hired to clean up the Victrola after hours at one point and the story I heard was they locked him in and when he couldn't get out, he messed the place up pretty bad.
John. The whole time I knew him at the Hideout, he was underage. That didn't stop him, obviously. He had been speeding for about 5 years so he said, and looked nearly 30 years old. But unlike most speed freaks, he seemed to get hungrier when he was high. He bummed quite a number of hamburgers from me and was pretty big and strong. I met him while we were in the electrician class at SOIC, and after lunch we used to take off and head for the Hideout instead of going to class. This went on for a few weeks until one day the instructor had had enough and kicked us out, and they wouldn't readmit us. So we just went straight to the Hideout without going to class any more. One day John brought a friend of his to the Hideout who was 17 years old, and we got him falling-down drunk. Last time I saw him he was staggering around asking if anyone knew where he put his fringed leather jacket. Darrell began to suspect something and asked for the kid's ID, which of course he didn't have, so Darrell threw him out. Then he grabbed John and got in his face and said "don't be bringing in your underage friends any more." Ignoring the fact that John was already underage, but we figured bringing himself in wasn't the same thing.
Another time John and I went up to the the District looking for something to take. We found some guy in a parking lot who sold us 30 Dexamyl caps, so we split them and took them. John barfed them up after a while (all over the door of the car) but I didn't. I felt pretty good that evening, and Chopper (more about him later) took me home to sleep it off. Next day the speed part had worn off and the barb part was still working pretty good, and we went down the street to get an inner tube for his bike. I couldn't walk straight down the sidewalk but kept weaving all over and falling down, although I was pretty much awake.
There was another guy named John who showed up at the Hideout who was a collector of old Kaisers. He was wearing one of those wool red and black jackets and some sort of top hat. John (the first one) went up to him and said "you look like a clown."
Last time I saw John he was downtown with his girl friend trying to sell a couple of table lamps. He was trying to guilt me but I didn't have anything to give him, and off he went. He quit speeding a couple years later but would not have anything to do with me any more.
Chester's girl friend. There was an Indian woman who also hung around First Ave who had the most horrible raspy voice. Once in a while she and Chester would be in the Hideout at the same time, and usually spent the whole time insulting each other across the bar.
The reforming alcoholic. There was a guy we met at SOIC who would drop in the Hideout every so often. He was trying to quit drinking, so what he would do is buy Codeine cough syrup and drink that instead. But he was on all the drug books at all the downtown drug stores, so he would get us to proxy for him, since we weren't on their drug books yet.
The raven guy. One time a guy came in wearing a field jacket with a bunch of white stripes running down one side in the back. Turns out he had a raven on that shoulder, and you can guess what the white stripes were.
The saffron guy. One day a guy showed up who was carrying a can of saffron, and was urging it on people, claiming it would give you a nice high. I chewed some, but it probably took a dangerous amount to get any effect stronger than several beers. I never have been able to figure out why someone would spend zillions (even 1970 dollars) for a can of saffron and hand it out like candy.
Strider. Real name Rick D. I hadn't read the Lord of the Rings series, so the association went over my head. He was quite a BS'er, and was always enjoyable to toss back a few with. He had a small retinue, a couple of members being Froggie and Mott (more about him later). One night John, Christine, and I were heading up Pike street and John got the idea to go to the Arboretum where he knew a skinny-dipping place. So we started to get in the car (the Shack on Wheels - more later) with Christine in the middle front seat, and John and Strider starting to dispute over who got to ride shotgun. Well, it was obvious to me we had an alpha dog situation here, and John being my buddy at the time, and me being sort of annoyed since I figured all Strider wanted to do was cop a feel in the front seat, I decreed that Strider had to take the back seat. An argument ensued, and I had to assert car ownership and told Strider to get out and forget about it. He was pretty mad, but I think he got over it. John and Christine and I proceeded to the Arboretum for the skinny dipping session. It was a nice warm night. 1970 in the summer was real nice. Some time later Strider located to a semi-basement apartment up Pike street living with a girl I didn't know. A couple of other guys said they were afraid to go to that apartment, they thought it felt like death there. I noticed it was a little creepy myself. The girl looked sort of creepy too.
Mott. Mott was a little guy who came around the Hideout periodically. He started getting into speed, and the last time I saw him for a while he was in a foul mood demanding someone get him some speed. Next thing I heard some guys were saying "you know what Mott's doing? He's on a head trip, going around preaching Jesus." I thought this was interesting, and wondered about why the guys were so annoyed. After all, I thought, it sounds better than the way he was heading before. A few months later Mott got married to a girl from the Jesus People group he joined. I was at their wedding, which was held in "The Catacombs," a drop-in place located in an old warehouse near the Center. A preacher named Holy Hubert (Hubert Lindsey. Look him up) presided, and preached for probably an hour or so, and finally ran out of gas. I think by the time he was finished, everybody forgot what the meeting was about.
Chopper. I forgot his real name. He started hanging around the Hideout some time in the spring of 1970. He had an annoying habit of punching you in the shoulder to demonstrate his friendship. I never cared for that sort of thing, so I used to have to keep telling him to quit punching me or I would avoid him. One night he brought his wife down to take her first acid trip. She started to get panicked, but the bunch of us calmed her down assuring her that we would take care of her. I don't know what she thought of the whole thing. Chopper took me home to sleep off the Dexamyl tablets, and made me buy a bike innertube to pay him back for the trouble he had to go through to keep me out of trouble. It seems in the middle of the night I woke up to go the can, but I couldn't find anything, and went wandering through the halls and wound up in some neighbor's bedroom asking them where Chopper and his wife were. Rather than shooting me, they led me back in the right direction.
Andy. Andy showed up some time in 1970. I think he had been discharged from the service. One time he told me he wanted to be certified as crazy so he could collect welfare and not work any more. He let his hair and beard grow unattended, and wore a grubby field jacket. He was always fun to drink with. One time we were shooting the breeze and he said we should try to get into Hair, which was playing at the Moore. So we hung around the theater and followed some guys who went in by a side door. Then we worked our way up to the balcony and watched the play until they all took their clothes off just before the intermission. During the intermission we went outside but they wouldn't let us back in for the second part. Later in 1976, I decided to have a beer at the new Victrola, which had taken over the space from the Hideout, the Chinese restaurant, and the old Victrola tavern. Who should I find there but Andy. I got his attention, he turned around and gave me a good look, got up, and shoved me across the bar and up against the wall. The bartender got out with his bat and got ready to knock him silly, but I told him to stop, it was all right. Andy and I had a beer together and talked about incoherent subjects, and when I got ready to go, he looked at me seriously and said, "Don't let them get you."
Honky Larry. Honky Larry came over from Montana some time around 1970. It turns out he was the one who stole the leather jacket that belonged to the 17-year-old that John had brought in and got drunk, and he wore it around pretty much the whole time. He took up with Christine for a while, and the three of us took a vacation trip to Long Beach in the Shack On Wheels. On the way, we stopped in Raymond and got some beer and went to a coin-op laundromat and rode the dryer for fun. The local police came by to warn us we weren't supposed to be drinking beer out in the parking lot, so we thanked him and went on our way. Up toward South Bend we visited my uncle who ran a wrecking yard. The South Bend police and the State Patrol followed us into the lot, and my uncle had to tell them everything was OK, it was just his nephew. While we were visiting, I asked my uncle if he had anything to drink, and he said we couldn't touch his Old Quaker, but he had a bottle of Uncle Chuck's home brew in the garage for the last year and I could have that. It wasn't bad. We finally got down to Long Beach and slept in the car (it was a '60 Rambler, and the front seats went all the way back), and visited the state park to go skinny dipping in the bay. After we got back Larry told me it was the best trip he had taken. Another time we were up at Volunteer Park while Larry was on a LSD trip, and we talked him into climbing up one of the the big trees there. Almost all the way up, Larry started peaking and panicked about being stuck way up in this tree. We were able to talk him down the tree finally. Another time at a party up on Capitol Hill, Larry showed up high as a kite on PCP, and he was so disoriented he fell over backwards on the sidewalk and conked his head on the concrete. He got up holding the back of his head with a weird look on his face, and he couldn't talk or anything, so we took him to the hospital emergency room. After a while he started to come back to normal, and the emergency room people said he was all right, just stoned out of his gourd.
Adam. I was just a kid when my dad used to hang out at the Hideout, yet for some reason I remember it. Perhaps that's because the Hideout's sign can be found on the wall of the Mukilteo Diamond Knot Brewery.
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