MACHIAS — For $749,000, you get a bar with a storied past, complete with a Pabst Blue Ribbon clock and an imaginary yacht.
Doc’s Pilchuck Tavern is for sale.
Jim Young and his wife, Audrey, ran the landmark watering hole for decades. He died in 2014 at 79. She closed the doors this year, shortly after hosting the annual Jan. 1 polar bear plunge.
The dip into the Pilchuck River behind the tavern was among the traditions that made Doc’s famous. After freezing their buns off, the rowdy souls would huddle around the back firepit and enjoy a pint or five and some of Audrey’s cooking.
The bar was known as the Pilchuck Yacht Club — hence the letters PYC on the exterior — but there weren’t any yachts. Jim Young was called the mayor of Machias, which has no mayor. The women’s restroom has calendar pinups of young clean-cut guys, but it was mostly biker and older dudes who frequented the place.
The guy-candy posters stay, but not the toothy mountain lion perched above the bar or the moose head or horns. Audrey Young is taking those. Lily, the sassy 6-year-old Australorp chicken that follows her everywhere, isn’t included in the deal, either.
She’ll throw in some purple 2018 Polar Bear Plunge ball caps, and maybe some Pilchuck Yacht Club membership cards that Jim liked to hand out.
The new owner also gets dibs on the fire hydrant that somehow wound up inside as a nonfunctional fixture.
The bar at 1423 S. Machias Road, in an unincorporated area between Snohomish and Lake Stevens, is a unique property, said Keller Williams managing broker Janice Brown, who is handling the sale.
“This is a classic piece of history readily available,” Brown said. “It has been a staple in the Machias area. It’s ready for the next owner to continue the legacy.”
That legacy is a tall order to fill. It’s more than pouring the eight drafts on tap or popping open a can of Bud Lite for customers.
“Jim Young is what made that tavern special. Everyone who walked in there, either you were already his friend or he was going to make you his friend,” said Jan Larsen, who was a regular.
Larsen started going to Doc’s 40 years ago as a beer distributor. He said over the years many people celebrated their 21st birthdays there.
“It was the neighborhood bar. People would talk to each other,” Larsen said. “It was right on the river. You could watch the salmon run up the river. There’s nothing like it anywhere. The whole community for 15 miles in circumference, all are mourning the loss of Doc’s Tavern.”
Without Doc’s, Larsen now imbibes well up the road at the Buzz Inn in Lake Stevens.
“There’s probably 10 seats at the bar and eight of those people used to be regulars at Doc’s Tavern,” he said. “They don’t know where to go anymore. We all hope someone buys it and resurrects it.”
The two-parcel property comes with a two-bedroom home and detached three-car garage. Those are pretty much move-in and drive-in ready.
The tattered bar is another story. It has roofing and septic issues.
As Brown, the listing agent, politely put it: “There are some renovations needed to bring it to occupancy.”
The property was put on the market in March. If there is no buyer, it is slated for foreclosure in October, according to public records.
The tavern was built about 60 years ago by Jim’s parents, Alfred “Doc” and Ann Young, to replace an old bar next door they had opened after Prohibition. Before that, it was a 1920s store with gas, fishing tackle and ice cream. And, rumor has it, maybe some moonshine.
After running the place for four years without Jim, Audrey Young, 67, is ready to retire. “I’ve been here for 37 years. We ran it 17 together years before we were married and then were married 16 years,” she said.
Doc’s has been closed for six months, but people still pull up, hoping for a cold beer and a sip of the past.