Over the years, the popular tavern operated under a variety of names, but everyone knew the joint as Joe King’s.
A watering hole for the working class, the business first opened around 1916 in a two-story frame building at 1309 Hewitt Ave.
By then, its proprietor, the aforementioned Joe King, had been bouncing around Everett for more than a decade, working as a waiter and bartender, running an oyster house and opening a cigar and confections store, according to Lisa Labovitch, history specialist at the Everett Public Library.
But it would be his tavern, originally the Palace Pool Hall and Restaurant, that would carry his name around the globe.
A blurb in a city directory from those early days boasted, “Solo Tables and Soft Drinks, Free Employment Bureau, Best Meals Obtainable Anywhere.”
Through the years the name of the establishment changed, “depending on whether Everett was wet or dry,” according to research by Everett Public Library historians Margaret Riddle and David Dilgard.
During Prohibition, the business operated as a restaurant and card room.
“Where all the boys meet” was a slogan that appeared on a lot of King’s ads, and was even pressed into his metal trade tokens, Labovitch said.
A rough and tumble place with a collection of curios, taxidermy and artwork, the bar drew mill workers, loggers, longshoremen and seafarers from near and far.
“Mr. King’s mail came to him from ports in all parts of the world, remembrances of his sailor friends,” noted a July 6, 1940 article in The Everett Daily Herald announcing the passing of the Little Falls, Minnesota native, who was just 63 when he died following a years-long illness. Civic minded, he’d sponsored youth baseball teams for years and was a long-time member of the Fraternal Order of Eagles.
Just two years prior to his death, the city had launched condemnation proceedings against the Hewitt Avenue building housing King’s tavern and another next door. A story in the newspaper reported that Fire Chief Charles Swanson “stated both buildings were leaning at an alarming degree.” A more modern building still bearing King’s moniker soon replaced the original.
Following his death, his name lived on at the establishment under other operators until about 1960. The building then stood idle for several years before reopening in 1967 as a restaurant. Today, the address is home to a coffee bar.
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