Emmett Watson’s Oyster Bar

1916 Pike Place

Emmett Watson’s Oyster Bar sign, Pike Place Market, August 21, 2019, HistoryLink photo by David Koch
Emmett Watson’s Oyster Bar entrance, Pike Place Market, August 21, 2019, HistoryLink photo by David Koch
Emmett Watson's Oyster Bar sign, Pike Place Market sidewalk, November 1981, Photo by Werner Lenggenhager, Courtesy Seattle Public Library (spl_wl_ppm_00022)
Emmett Watson, Seattle, 1970, Photo by Josef Scaylea, Courtesy MOHAI (1993.20.232)

This is not the fanciest of the city’s oyster bars, but neither was its namesake a man of glamourous airs. Emmett Watson was a longtime newspaperman in Seattle, a columnist whose beat was the city and what made it tick. Neither chef, restaurateur nor shucker by trade, his partnership in the business lent his name and colorful profile to the establishment, spending time at the bar, telling tales, slurping his favorite bivalves, adding character to the place.

Daily operations were in the hands of co-owners Sam and Lois Bryant, the oyster bar now owned and operated by their son Thurman and his wife Catherine. At first, the oyster bar was much smaller, just across the walkway where today is Country Dough. When the longtime owner of Scandia Café retired and closed shop in 1984, the oyster bar hopped across the courtyard to take up residence where it sits today.

The menus are printed on brown paper, dog-eared and spattered. Your pristine and well-shucked oysters will have an unassuming presentation, with lemon wedges and a sprig of parsley for color. Exemplifying the culinary mantra that simplest is best, here it’s all about the oysters and other seafoods, with minimal fuss. Those brown-paper menus echo some Market history as well. In this building, which dates to 1922, was housed the Soames Paper Company for a number of years. They specialized in the paper bags needed by the Market’s farmers and merchants.

Continue past Emmett Watson’s into the back courtyard and up the stairs to Post Alley; turn left at the top and walk a few steps until you see a pink door on your left.

Download the App

Visit HistoryLink.Tours in your mobile browser to download our web app!

HistoryLink Tours App

To add this web app to your device, tap the share icon and select Add to Home Screen.

HistoryLink Tours App

To add this web app to your device, tap the overflow button (three vertical dots) and select Add to Home Screen.