King Solomon's Reef

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212 4th Ave E
Olympia, WA 98501
(360) 742-3199

American, Breakfast, Burgers/Hot Dogs, Late Night, Subs/Sandwiches
Credit Cards Accepted, Full Bar, Kid-Friendly, Late Night, Take-out

The Review

Reviewed by: Nikki Talotta

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Located on bustling Fourth Avenue in downtown Olympia, King Solomon's Reef has been on the block for at least 400 years - with the dear Verna working there half that time, it seems. Everyone and their brother - at least in Oly - has had a job at The Reef and, at some point in their adult life, been to 6 a.m. happy hour.

Card-playing, food-eating, drink-hungry souls have kept the endearing  "Liquor in the rear, eater in the middle, poker in the front" joint alive. Good homemade food - like fresh pies and roasted turkey - and the intimate bar that holds more stories in its walls than BP has excuses are the reasons this bar is so epic.

The late '90s and into the '00s was a special time for our generation and the Reef. Most of us came of drinking age during this time, and The Reef acted as a rite of passage for this mess of folks (who may now be past the age of morning happy hour, but still love whiskey and beer).

It has been known as a place of solace and debauchery and gritty bartenders.  Clientele has ranged from state workers to gutter punks, with everyone rolled into one non-judging, loving ball of humanity.

In November 2008, a devastating fire left the building a shell. Ever since, the rumor mill has been churning out accounts of the incident: Why it happened (grease fire); who was there (employees on hand and yes, that one guy in the bathroom); and what happened to the staff after the fire (dispersed through out other bars). Perhaps, most importantly, rumors and questions about who owns The Reef now and when it's coming back have been on everyone's mind - which is exactly what you're about to find out.

For most, the mysterious marquee out front has been the one standing source of Reef info. Shortly after the fire, the sign cryptically read, "This is why we can't have nice things."

Now, thanks to the patient past owners and to the fearless new ones, The Reef is back. Locals Justin and Lindy McIntyre, along with Justin's brother Matt are holding the reigns and staking claims.

Truly a family affair, grandparents, friends and even Justin and Lindy's daughter, Evey, have poured their energy into remodeling The Reef, which has shaped up nicely. The bar itself was fairly unscathed by the fire, and is full of nostalgia. The same paintings and decorations adorn the walls and the set-up is unchanged.

But, the formerly ashen kitchen now sparkles and the front has fresh paint and new flooring and seating.

The hard work has paid off. During a walk-through, one city building inspector commented, "It looks five hundred percent better."

The brand-new kitchen will provide food until 3 a.m., and The Reef's late night hours will once again fill the void of sit-down service in downtown.


User Reviews of King Solomon's Reef (1)

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Scott Lindstrom said on Feb. 24, 2011 at 6:59am

KOMO is reporting (and show helicopter shot) 2 alarm fire there. The building looks intact but probably gutted. I just read the review and was ready to go - looks like this will be on hold for awhile. Wishing them good thoughts about getting up and at it again.

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