Washington August 01, 2016
The Oldest Restaurant In Washington Has A Truly Incredible History
You’ll find Washington’s oldest continuously operating cafe and cocktail lounge in the heart of Bellingham.
The Horseshoe Cafe has been serving the locals since 1886. That means it has survived Prohibition, two world wars and many owners. It has also moved locations, though it has been in the same spot since 1958.
The Horseshoe Cafe was created to fill a need. The Fraser Canyon Gold Rush of 1858 brought thousands of miners and storekeepers to the area, which was already popular for coal miners and fishermen. By the early 1890s three railroad lines had arrived, connecting the bay cities to all kinds of new markets. Bellingham’s new arrivals needed a place to eat (and drink), so The Horseshoe Cafe was born.
During the late 1940s, the party really heated up at the ‘Shoe. The downtown area began to house large retail stores like the Bon Marche, so the area saw more foot traffic. After the Horseshoe Cafe moved to its current location in 1958, it was known for its weekend dancing and live music.
Another fun fact: The Horseshoe Cafe claims to be the oldest 24 hour restaurant in America. That’s right, 125 years ago you could walk in and get a meal at 3:00 a.m.. It’s now closed for a few hours every night, but it’s still open until 4:00 a.m. on the weekends.
Last year, The Horseshoe was sold to new owners. They renovated the place with the idea of bringing back some of the charm of the 1950s. The ‘Shoe celebrated its 130th anniversary this year, so it’s older than some of our states.
Bellingham wouldn't be the same without the 'Shoe.
Some of our oldest restaurants are also our most charming. Here’s a list of
more historic places to eat in Washington.