Hibble & Hyde’s

608 1st Avenue

Contemporary photo of Old Timer's Cafe location
Hibble and Hyde's windows, April 1977
Outside of the Hibble and Hyde, September 23, 1983

In the 1850s Henry Yesler built his home on this site, which was located directly across the street from his namesake sawmill. By the 1880s he moved into a new house (at 4th Avenue and James Street). Then, in the wake of the Great Seattle Fire of June 6, 1889, he proceeded with the construction of the Pioneer Building, which included this storefront. Later, and for decades, this was the home of the Pioneer Loans pawn shop. After years of neglect, in the early 1970s the whole “Skid Road” area began gaining new respect as place that could draw more locals as well as tourists. Numerous buildings were spiffed up in an effort to harken back to neighborhood’s rich history as the town’s original center.

The Hibble & Hyde’s restaurant was launched in 1977 with a quasi-British name that evoked olden times. It was decked out with antiques and artifacts that hinted at its proximity to Seattle’s original industry: Henry Yesler’s sawmill. Hibble & Hyde’s was once described by the Seattle Post-Intelligencer as a spot that “seems to want to attract loggers, and those who are loggers at heart. Against the brick wall in back are hung logging tools, cross sections of old severed trees and aging photographs of those who severed them.” In February 1978 the owners applied for a cabaret license, and soon after musical acts were performing there on a small fishbowl stage that jammed musicians up against the front windows for passersby to see, along with a balcony that hung above a small dance floor.

Featuring dancing until 4 a.s., “Pioneer Square’s ONLY AFTER HOURS spot” debuted with the African sounds of Dumi and the Minanzi Marimba Ensemble that April. It then helped launch the local blues scene with shows by Charlie Musselwhite, Sonny Terry, Brownie McGhee, Tom McFarland, and Seattle’s Isaac Scott. Then came John Lee Hooker, the Sunnyland Slim Band, and many others. From there the musical palette broadened to include jazz by Yusef Lateef, and countless nights of rock and roll starting with Airbrush in 1978, followed by the Dynamic Logs, Louis X’s Night Train, Jim Basnight, the Heats, and the Connections. Billed as “Seattle’s Hottest Rock Showcase,” more bands followed: the Shivers, Musical Chairs, Zippers, Hi-Fi, No Cheese Please, Shy Lady, the Jet, Citizen Sane, the Eagertones, and the Allies. In 1984, Jim Belarezo sold the venue, and it was converted into an Ethiopian restaurant.

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