Wednesday, August 20, 2008

The Bird House Tavern

Back in 1984 when I first moved to Alaska and met my wife Kathy. She took me south of Anchorage to Bird Creek, just before you get to Girdwood on the Seward Highway. She pulled off the highway into a little dirt parking lot. Then I saw this little log cabin with a blue bird sticking out of the gable end. I remember thinking to myself "just what in the h*** is this?". It's a real small, cramped old log cabin. During the big earthquake of 1964, the log cabin half sank. Putting it on about a 10 degree angle. You go inside and see that the bar was on a slant too. You had to hang on to your beer or the fellow down from you would be drinking for free all night!
But the first thing you notice when you walk in is all the stuff hanging everywhere. Bra's, underware (hers & his.. *shudder*), business cards, driver licenses, military ID's and there was even someones fake leg hanging on a post. After you have a beer or two, the bartender will come up to you with a jar of pickles. He'll calmly ask you if you'd like a pickle. He'll then take the lid off and all of a sudden you get a whif of the most obnoxious smell. Then he'll inform you that if you can eat one whole pickle that you can drink the rest of the night for free. I have to tell you, when I was younger I thought I was pretty daring and would do a lot of things on a dare. But, there was no way one of those pickles was even going to touch my lips. Don't get me wrong, the thought of drinking the rest of the night for free was a real temptation. I figured though that after eating one of those pickles, there was no way my stomach would be in any mood to have alcohol added to the mix.Notice the comfortable stumps for stools? Needless to say, people didn't sit there for more than a couple of beers.

As you can see the Bird House was a fire hazard and the odds finally caught up with the owners and the it burned down about 1996 or so. Since then a bar in Anchorage called Chilkoot Charlie's built an addition to their bar and made a replica of the Bird House for tourists to visit. It's not the same thing but gives you an idea of what it looked like.

All the above pictures are pics that I found online. I had pics of this from before but can't find them.

11 comments:

Cjjstrings adventures said...

Boy, that is an oddity and nice you got to experience the real one. Pickles don't sound good tho!!

Rayne said...

This is so cool!
I can understand things like ID's and even possibly a wooden leg being left behind, but your underwear?

Dusty Jones said...

Rayne: Yea, scary thought isn't it. Glad I wasn't there that night! hahaha

doodlestreet said...

They probably left the underwear there because they ate those pickles...and...uh oh....

Dusty Jones said...

doodlestreet........ your not right......jeez.....roflol

String said...

Yikes! Now that is some bar...I think you are right about eating the pickle...the barman knew that if you ate it you WOULDN'T be drinking for free all night because you would probably die of food poisoning! A safe bet for him!

ljk said...

Great place! Plus you can feed the ptarmigans

Ted at IND said...

Great place, great posting, great memories... I remember that the original owner died in a plane crash in the late 90's. Too bad the place burnt down, but that's what happens when you put alot of tinder in a tinder box. Couldn't you call the ptarmigan with the special "ptarmigan horn"?

botlvr said...

OK, In the mid 70's my friend and I used to go there from Anchorage. Quite a colorful place. Two young chicks quite a joke filled place.. Nobody mentioned the OOSIK. If you kissed it you got a free drink and found out what it was. Hey anything for a free drink.
It was true Alaska and a fun way to spend an afternoon.

Sorry it burned down. My husband I were looking forward to visiting when we went ts relive where we met in Alaska.
If Viki reads this get in touch.

Scott Stinson said...

I was lucky to experience the birdhouse before its untimely demise.
Will never forget the business card ceiling and as my boss is "no longer with us" I will always remember the visit we shared there. I love Alaska!!
Scott.

Unknown said...

OMG, I so remember the Bird House. What a place. I was sort of bewildered being in there, but the place was full of practical jokers. The bartender said, "Here's your beer now hang on to it because if it slides off the bar you'll have to buy the whole place a round of drinks."

I never suspected what he did next. He said, "Since you are a tourist here - you have a chance to win everyone in the place a round of drinks. All you have to do is blow the French horn out this window. The ptarmigan (a gamebird, like a grouse) love the sound of a French horn, so if you blow it really loud and one comes - everyone gets a drink. Reluctantly but with much encouragement from the patrons in the place I agreed to do it.

Of course no ptarmigan came - why would they?!!! What I didn't know was they had greased up the mouthpiece on the French horn so my lips were black. OH yeah, what a laugh they had. CRAZY place!

 
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