Linda Derschang's Empire Now Includes the Oldest Bar in Seattle... Maybe

The owner of Linda's, Smith, and Oddfellows reinvents the iconic downtown bar Queen City.



"Good Bones*" is a standard real-estate agent pitch phrase, Chaz. That she repeated this prepared trope to you, you sucked it up and then spit it out like a fully nurtured lede disappoints us all, Chaz. You usually disdain fluff.

*It does have meaning, but here it is simply a platitude that must be sounded from the lips.


"Good Bones" is also used in the erotic art business, although I am not sure what it means.


Lovely article, Charles. Thank you for the imagery and introspection.


all this earnest foreplay Charles and you neglected an important dimension- her smell.
I can imagine it- fresh and clean and maybe a hint of jasmine, like she had just stepped out of a skylight-lit shower with hanging ferns and exposed wooden beams.


Say it with me: NO. MORE. TAXIDERMY!


The ghosts of the Frontier Room waft there occasionally.


@1 - I'm not so sure: I know architects and interior designers and they use the term "good bones" when a house's frame is still strong -- it means the house can support a successful interior renovation. It means the foundation and the frame have structural integrity. Without a strong frame renovation is a waste of money, as the house will simply fall down soon anyway. So it's more than a "pitch phrase" or "trope", there is real meaning behind it.
I'm not at all sure your assessment ("platitude") is accurate.

Wonderful article, thanks Charles.

@4 - Sounds like you know something we don't know...




Linda is authentic & has the spiritual savvy (see the Monk Magazine definition) to gracefully/successfully bridge the gap between bohemian 1990’s Seattle & the coming Neo-Hong Kong Seattle.
I first noticed her unique edge, when she retained her boutique employees at her new bar! One of them was Rebar’s finest: MC Queen Lucky...who’s now a flight attendant.
I hope that someday she’ll use the name Queen City Saloon.
As a founder of the Belltown P-Patch, I have to say, perfect timing on her new venture. The Viaduct’s concrete wall decimation will rejoin the neighborhood to the water & mountains. We’re talking terra-time, Baby!
Break a leg on this new stage, Happy Trails.


@7 Jeezus you really plumb into the outer limits of snzzzzzzzzzzz.


As I live and breathe. A first:
A Chas. Mudede puff piece.
Sunshine and light and no darkness.
I am disappointed. There are dark and interesting bits that whole make the whole story better. As a continual besotted figure on the hill for the last 30 years, Mudede must know them but elected to not include the disgruntled employee stories, the Cobain family, and Linda's hand in making our new Seattle (however you take that).

Basic was a rave store btw.


7- I know nothing. But it seems curious that someone who is such a trenchant critic of late-modern capitalism can pen such a fawning valentine to a late-modern capitalist. Must be all that spiritual savvy.


Ruby Montana's! I miss that place. I used to hang out fairly regularly at Queen City in the 80s when I worked nearby - nice to hear of the makeover. Well done, Charles, on blending the on site interviews with your personal observations and memories.


@10 - Takes one to know one, mon ami.



Yeah, I'll bet you were one of those kids who insisted on sleeping through class and then complained about why you never got good grades...


I wish Linda would finally just hang it up. All she does is co-opt flash-in-the-pan trends in a sad effort to seem young, hip, and relevant. But she's a wealthy white lady so no one will tell her to just fuck off already. She gets a pass for fighting against raising the minimum wage. She gets a pass for forcing her employees to work political functions against their will. Not to mention the fact that she has knowingly employed serial sexual predators, homophobes, and anti-Semites for decades. Hang some more taxidermy (which, ironically enough, she forces others to purchase for her because dead animals trigger her), you pathetic one trick pony.


One thing that hasn't changed in the last 30 years: every single time a story is written about somebody who has enjoyed success after working very hard for it, gloomy & envious whiners chime in to try and drag the rest of the world down into their sorry pit.


I miss Linda's. It was one of the best things about living on Capitol Hill.


@16- do you have any facts to back up your claims?

@17- right?


The Queen City Grill/Saloon/Tavern indeed has a reasonable claim to being the "oldest bar in Seattle maybe." I don't count it so myself, given that the current structure is significantly less old than Merchants, for example; but identifying the oldest bar requires us to make some fairly arbitrary decisions about what constitutes a single bar, and in this case to guess, insofar as I have found, how far back the Queen City name goes. From contemporary city guides, there is no question that there has been a bar in this space since at least 1891 and that it was called the Queen City Saloon by at least 1901. If anyone has additional information on how far back the bars at the address and/or the name go, I would love to hear it. (My summary of data I have found and how I rank the city's oldest bars is here: )


Wow, taxidermy and everything! What is it about dead things hanging on walls that inspires people to spend money? Some kind of primal celebration of being at the top of the food chain? Oh look, a dead fox. Waitron, another round!


Lovely article, Charles. There are times your writing gets me do the kids say it...up in my feelings. The paragraph about Basic underperforming in the face of new competition and her business venture possibly failing is certainly one of them. It's up there with 'In Defence of the Columbia Center' and the part about your mother's funeral. You have a way of describing loss in a profound manner.

Never stop writing.


“(It [the lowly ceiling] will be painted Paris Rain or Temptation.)”

(Why not instead have a fabulous graffiti/ceiling artist [Michelangelo is, sadly, currently unavailable] provide an historic, incredible ceiling – and let the decor follow...)

At least put some lights in it….


I Miss the Seattle 80's.




Was Linda reflecting on The Cramp?


Why isn’t this marked as sponsored content?


why is this story being repeated? Should be marked SPONSORED CONTENT.


How many times are you going to post this god damn story? Like she needs more publicity in the first place.


Well at least this time you edited out the part about wanting to be reincarnated as her tampon, that's a relief.
It wasn't the abject servility of it that bothered me, just that it seemed so... derivative.


I like Linda but running this twice without "Sponsored content" is ridiculous.


You gotta give Linda her dap she's straight up successful.


27, Yeah, that's the store that immediately came to my mind. It probably was The Cramp. I remember the prices they had for leather motorcycle jackets with the cool zippers everywhere. I bought my 2X jacket there for what was an insanely cheap price: $65.00. I bought all kinds of cool punk swag there and loved running into all the cute little lesbians that sneered at me. I admit I was a bit too timid to pull off the "fuck you, society!" pose. I still looked damn good in my leather jacket, though.

I thoroughly scared the young Republican business majors at Shoreline Community College, though! Ha ha! Goooood times.