Cocktail superstar Jamie Boudreau has been killing it with his 19th century drink den, Canon. Once inside this shiny new, already institution-like drinking parlor on Capitol Hill, you'll instantly realize three things: 1) the place is beautiful, 2) the bar staff has a knack for detail and precision, and 3) Boudreau likes old things--antiques, to be more specific. A majority of his collection can be found at Canon, punctuating bottles of booze and spiffy modern day nuances. He doesn't have a lot of time these days to add to his already-amazing collection, but he cherishes everything he has acquired.
Photo courtesy of Canon
Canon isn't just a bar lover's paraphernalia museum--Boudreau will actually sell you something if the price is right and you're sober.
How long have you been collecting bar antiques?
I've been collecting antiques or vintage items for about a decade now.
What sorts of things do you collect? What catches your eye?
Almost everything I collect is bar-related: tools, books, glassware, bottles. The older the better. Particularly pre-prohibition.
What are some of the cool antiques you have in your bar?
I have a number of fun items, including newspapers declaring the end of prohibition, un-opened bitters and whiskey bottles, jiggers (which I use daily), and cocktail shakers. I love then all the same and for different reasons, whether it be an original printing of Harry Johnson's bartender manual or a bottle of whiskey made by Pappy Van Winkle himself.
Bar memorabilia is rapidly disappearing at this point in history and it is such an important part of Americana that I feel there needs to be someone to gather it all and share it. It may as well be me.
Any places in Seattle one can find awesome bar antiques to buy for themselves?
For furniture, there's a great place in SLU on Republican. If you don't mind traveling a little bit, Snohomish is the place to go.
If the price was right, would you sell any of your pieces?
Always. The price would have to be really amazing, but one of my limitations is cash flow. More cash means more finds.
Is there anything from the old days you look at and think, "Man, I wish they still made 'em like this!" Anything that was better quality back in the day?
Almost all the bar tools. And books. The paper used to be better and I miss great binding.
Has anyone swiped/tried to swipe one of your antiques from your bar?
I find that whenever a bar (including mine) mentions items that get stolen the public reads that as, "It's okay to steal this item as others have done it". So, my answer would have to be, "No. No one has ever stolen or tried to steal any item in the bar. Ever."