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'Seattle's Oldest Bar' back in business in Georgetown

Jules Maes Saloon comes back from the dead.

SEATTLE — Jules Maes Saloon served its first drink back in 1888, and it looked like they'd served their last in 2020. But Raché Hemmelgarn had a different plan.

"This is my favorite bar to come to," said Hemmelgarn.

She already owned a bar in Kent. But Hemmelgarn felt a sentimental attachment to this place that claims to be Seattle's oldest tavern and was once a speakeasy. A place with so much history, you can see it in the worn foot rails, and a bar top shaped by a century of resting forearms. It's the place where she and her husband's love story began.

"The bar that we had our first date," she said.

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So Hemmelgarn took over the shuttered business, hired a talented culinary staff, renovated and re-opened for takeout, deliveries, and curbside pickup of food and drinks.

"This is the time when you take big risks, when things are closing, and try to rejuvenate," she said.

Someday, when the story of Seattle's pandemic is written, it'll remember people like Raché Hemmelgarn, who took a risk to keep history alive.

"I'm so honored," she said. "I'm a page in the Jules Maes book."

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