The Story of the Oldest Bar & Restaurant in Belltown

The 5 Point Cafe & Chief’s lounge is 24-hour restaurant and lounge in the Belltown neighborhood of Seattle, Washington. It is located at the base of Tilikum Place Park where the historic statue of Chief Seattle is located, near a five-way intersection and in the shadow of the Space Needle and monorail. Open since 1929, it is considered the oldest drinking establishment in the neighborhood, and one of the oldest, if not the oldest, continuously operating restaurant and bar in Seattle. It has received accolades from local media for being one of the best dive bars in the city.

History

The building the 5 Point is in was originally constructed by the Webb Investment Company in 1922 for use as a dairy warehouse. It was built in what was known as the Denny Regrade, named after a project to flattened Denny Hill. C. Preston Smith opened the cafe during an economic downturn in 1929. Coffee, two eggs, a ham steak, hash browns, and four pieces of buttered toast with jelly cost 40 cents. Smaller dishes were 25 cents or less. A barroom was opened adjacent to the cafe upon the repeal of prohibition in 1933 to sell beer and wine. It became a lounge when state law allowed for the sale of hard liquor in 1944.

Smith’s son, Dick, took over in 1975. Along with political activities in the neighborhood, the younger Smith was known for installing a periscope over the men’s room urinal to provide views of the Space Needle.

The 5 Point Cafe made headlines in August 2004 when radio personality Tom Leykis was ejected and then assaulted outside. Leykis said his assailant kicked him in the head and knocked him to the ground. He was cut above the eye and needed 17 stitches.

In September 2009, it was rumored that The 5 Point would be closing. In November 2009, it was purchased by David Meinert. He has changed little but the menu was expanded slightly with vegetarian options.

In true 5 Point fashion, we made international headlines by being the first business to band [[Google Glass]]