The Moezy Inn Tavern is the sort of dimly lit hole-in-the-wall joint where people know one another. They're here tonight because they're always here. Women, without shame, burp loudly after taking swigs from their Busch Light cans. Dogs often accompany their owners. Old men, the kind who'll take a taxi home tonight, offer to buy half pitchers of Budweiser for grandmothers across the horseshoe-shaped bar. The bartender kisses a patron good night, out of respect and admiration. There are no bros or bearded beer snobs. No one puts on any airs.
Folks have nicknames when full names aren't given. There's bartender Chief Running Late; his stitched baseball cap even says so. There's Cross-eyed Rich, the kind of cowboy who still goes fishing for his dinner, even in the winter. The scarily lifelike statue in the Seahawks poncho taking up a stool up front? That's Flo.
Some days of the week are designated as poker or dart tournaments. In the summer there are tricycle races and potlucks out back. Tonight, it's Saturday and that means karaoke.
Rich ambles over to the karaoke station and readies for his song.
"I don't know if I can sing right now. I had a minor heart attack last night," he says, into the microphone.
"Shut the hell up, Rich, and sing," someone shouts.
He warbles into George Jones' "He Stopped Loving Her Today." He peels off his chocolate brown leather jacket and tosses his cream-colored cowboy hat, revealing tufts of white hair.
"That was great," declares Pam, a 15-year regular donning a black Moezy Inn Tavern T-shirt. "Just no stripping again, OK?"
The dipping ceiling and wood-paneled walls within this moss-green building on North Monroe Street have been here since the Moezy Inn Beer Parlor first started serving in 1945. Current co-owner Jeremy Huston, sitting at his bar tonight, recalls a time, maybe 10 years back, when three World War II vets stopped in.
"They said they visited this place right after the war was over — they couldn't believe how much it hadn't changed," he says.
The building has stood here since 1900, watching various creatures come and go. Huston says it originally served as a blacksmith shop and stables for horses used at the nearby Corbin Park racetrack. But in 1929 (when Spokane city records began noting by address), Lansdown Grocers held the property. It wouldn't be remade as a bar until 1940. Through its 115 years on the planet, the location has simply provided for its neighborhood.
It's now Huston's turn at the microphone. He launches into the barely-a-minute-long Cheers theme song.
"Making your way in the world today takes everything you've got. ... You want to go where everybody knows your name."
It gets a little bit quieter in the house.
"Nailed it!" someone hollers.♦