First Call: The Rolling Log Is the Original Ghost Bar

Paranormal beer and olives in Old Town Issaquah.

The Watering Hole: Rolling Log Tavern, 50 E. Sunset Way, 425-392-2964, ISSAQUAH The Atmosphere: The Grand Central Hotel, next door to the Rolling Log, was built in 1903; today it's a boarding house which rents rooms for $275 per month. I personally am going to rent a room there and finish my screenplay about the quest for the world's most rustic sandwich. The historic space the Rolling Log occupies was at first called the Grand Central Café. Later it became Issaquah's post office. Later still, after the entire population of the U.S. became a bunch of losers (aka Prohibition), it was inevitably repurposed as a bordello and speakeasy. Today it's just a bar. There are pool tables, a jukebox, taxidermy, and alcohol. Above the barroom are two apartments. But the Rolling Log also has something else: something . . . SUPERNATURAL. The Barkeep: I first wrote about Julie in her capacity as Tuesday-night bartender at Elmer's Pub in Burien. The rest of the week she works at the Rolling Log. Julie would like Seattle Weekly's readers to know that, contrary to what she said in her previous interview, most of the Rolling Log's patrons are not homeless. They are gainfully employed and live in residential dwellings, not under bridges or inside garbage cans. "Everyone was like, 'What, you called us bums?' " She did, you bunch of bums. Get over it. The Drink: The Rain-tini. Despite the name, this isn't a girl drink—it's a 12-ounce can of Rainier poured into a margarita glass with two olives floating in it. "It's the beer-drinker's martini," Julie explains. "I told you I like the simple drinks." Rolling Log owner Jack Lydon was on hand to referee a pool tournament. I asked him about the Rain-tini. "I've never had one," he admitted. "I stick strictly to beer." When I explained to him that the Rain-tini is in fact beer, he was incredulous. "Maybe she's pulling your leg on that one." Lydon might have been skeptical about the Rain-tini, but how bad could a beer with an olive in it be? Answer: not bad. It tastes like a beer with an olive in it. Beer with free olives? In Spain that's called tapas. THE GHOSTS: The Rolling Log has a SCARY SECRET: It's haunted! A building this old, with an illegal past, no doubt has shitloads of ghosts. Lydon was once again skeptical: "I've been here 35 years, and I've never seen the ghost." Julie too is a nonbeliever. "I have not seen the ghost," she says, "but a lot of people have. I know someone died in the bathroom, but that was five years ago. The ghosts were before him. There are three of them." Actually, Julie, there are four. I got in touch with former bartender Carlos Cejudo, who worked at the Rolling Log from 2006 to 2010. Carlos saw plenty of paranormal activity during his tenure. "I've opened and closed that place way too many times. About 3:15–3:20 [a.m.] is when things start getting iffy," he says. By "iffy," Carlos means HAUNTED LIKE MICHAEL JACKSON'S CHILDHOOD. On these late nights he's seen four different spirits. "There's a cowboy near table #2—the table on the right-hand side of the door. And an 'all-in-black' guy. And there's a little girl. She's all over the bar, a prankster." These three are harmless apparitions, but the fourth ghost is PURE EVIL. Carlos didn't see this ghost, but felt its EVIL presence. "He [the ghost] was like—I got this bad energy around 4 [a.m.], like 'It's time to go.' He messes with people, dropping boxes, making noises. I thought at first that it was the people that live upstairs, but the noise was coming from the bar." Eventually paranormal investigators came to check out the Rolling Log. According to Carlos, they detected the presence of supernatural activity. They did this with special paranormal-activity-detection equipment. No, they didn't use proton packs—that's just fake bullshit from the movies! If you've ever seen Ghost Adventures on the Travel Channel, you know that real ghostbusters carry two very important tools: their fauxhawks and a special device that can hear what ghosts say! It turns out ghosts say pretty unsurprising, ghostly things, like "WooooooOOOOOOOooooo" and "I'll kill you, Pac-Man!" But what did the ghosts at the Rolling Log have to say? "If I were still alive I'd drink a Rain-tini!" The Verdict: The Rolling Log is a cool hangout (if you can ignore all the bums), with lots of history, friendly bartenders, and cheap drinks. The ghosts are free of charge. And it's not every day you see a ghost out on the curb with a "for free" sign hanging around his ghostly neck. food@seattleweekly.com

 
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