Here’s some good news for fans of Seattle bar history. Six months after Georgetown’s Jules Maes Saloon shuttered and emptied out, a new owner has revived the 132-year-old icon, and she has a strong personal connection to the place.
Per Vanishing Seattle and King5, longtime Kent bar owner Rache’ Purcell purchased Jules Maes, and it was a sentimental favorite, since it’s the location of her first date with her now-husband (the two married in September). After giving the space a refresh, the bar is now open for takeout and delivery, with plans to host live music and other entertainment in the back room when indoor events are allowed again.
The food menu at Jules Maes right now has some standard pub fare, including burgers, wings, and flatbread pizza. There’s also a decadent poutine dish with tater tots, beef stroganoff, and a substantial fried chicken sandwich on waffles topped with bourbon-flavored maple syrup and hot sauce, along with some takeout cocktails made-to-order and beer upon request. Jules Maes plans to add more entrees, plus some breakfast dishes, once the team is settled in, and will lean into classic cocktails such as old fashioneds. Much of the furnishings remain the same (most notably the vintage bar), alongside a few updates, such as a large movie screen in the back and new artwork.
Appropriately enough, The Stranger once called Jules Maes “The Bar That Won’t Go Away.” It’s also been recognized as the oldest bar in Seattle, although that designation may be up for debate. Jules Maes’s origins can be traced back to 1888, but a few others have laid stake to the claim of Seattle’s oldest bar, including J&M Cafe and Merchant’s Cafe in Pioneer Square. Regardless of such a distinction, the Georgetown favorite has been around for a long time, and once served mostly dock workers, fishermen, and lumberjacks. In its more modern incarnation, it had some craft beer, pinball, and live music — and that general vibe seems like it will carry on into the newest phase.
Jules Maes is not the only historic bar that has been saved recently from apparent extinction. Just a couple of months after announcing that it would shut its doors permanently, longtime U District favorite College Inn Pub was purchased by several restaurant and bar veterans, with an eye on a comeback. Also, on January 19, PBS aired a special about the effort to keep the family-owned U District’s Blue Moon Tavern afloat through a GoFundMe effort, government loans, and a temporary coffee window.
With Jules Maes in the hands of someone who has such a close connection to the place, hopes are high that the new era will be off to a good start. “This is the time when you take big risks, when things are closing, you know, and try to rejuvenate,” Purcell told King5. “I’m so honored. I’m a page in the Jules Maes book.”
- Jules Maes: Un-Vanished! [Vanishing Seattle]
- ‘Seattle’s Oldest Bar’ Back in Business in Georgetown [King5]
- Jules Maes Saloon [Chownow menu]